Sometimes I think I have enough emotions to go around. It just takes a downward spiral of events through the day for me to burst. We can pretend we’ve never had our fears, sad days, and pity parties (or cried embarrassing amounts of tears during The Notebook). As people, we are made to feel. I know this allows us to live colorful lives of joy and compassion, but I also know it comes with feeling the pain of life, whether it’s your own pain or someone else’s.
We have gradually become a culture that believes in following feelings, emotions, and hearts at all costs. This world is chanting the subliminal motto, “If it feels good, do it.” And this might be true… depending on where our compass is pointing.
There is a balance. We are constantly in a raging war over what we as humans desire, and living to be like Jesus with the help of the Holy Spirit. But it’s our greatest joy to win this battle; we get the chance in the midst of suffering on earth to purely love God. Galatians 5:17 tells us our flesh and Spirit are constantly conflicting so that we don’t live based on impulsive decisions. The tension of flesh and Spirit causes us to struggle, but it also allows for God to reveal His goodness.
God is not circumstantial. Isn’t this amazing? We are circumstantial; we get frustrated when things don’t go our way, and we love when they do. But God is always steady and constant. God is the very rock we are grounded on. God would be very unorganized if He only met our needs when He felt like it… or when we felt like it. His faithfulness does not depend on how I feel; this is why we see good things happen in the very middle of our sin. God is always faithful regardless of our feelings because He is head over heels in love with the ones He creates.
Keep your thoughts in line. The heart is our center of emotions, and we need it, otherwise we would be numb human beings with no substance and compassion. But anything headed for destruction (or life) starts in our thoughts. We have the power to think as Philippians 4:8 guides us: about things that are true, pure, and excellent. Our thoughts determine our speech and actions, and this is why Paul advises us in verse eight not only to think lovely thoughts, but also to practice them.
Walk with the Holy Spirit. We cannot accomplish godly thought patterns and actions just by trying super hard to be super Christian so we can look super perfect. No, the Holy Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, and kindness when we walk close to him (Galatians 5:22-23). It takes the pressure off of trying to live perfect because God carries that weight for us. James 3:10-12 also reminds us that we can’t live life by both the flesh and Spirit, just like fresh water and salt water don’t come from the same place. Only submitting our emotions to God can produce a Spirit-led life.
Our emotions are chaotic, but faith is not. Sometimes our emotions can take us on a roller coaster, and it’s a nightmare. However, it does not mean we camp out in our mess of emotions; we prayerfully choose to give our emotional chaos to God because He came to take it from us ages ago. Just because we have the choice of joy does not mean life it’s rainbows and butterflies; but it does mean God will empower us to walk in that choice. Although surrendering our own feelings may seem like our control is being stripped from us, it’s actually our greatest freedom to put our mess into God’s hands.
We are not empty human beings. We are created to love and be loved. When we submit all of our craziness to God, we walk in the power of feeling through our human heart while also walking in the power of God. Next time you need the steady heart of God, create space for Him to enter your mind and walk forward in this peace.
* Cue dance party to Taylor Swift *