Aug24ThuAugust 24, 2023I've often pondered why it's so hard to get our emotional system in check. Why do my emotions often control me instead of me controlling them? How hard can it be? One thing I have discovered, is that when my emotions are in the driver's seat? I better prepare myself for a rough ride. Get strapped in and get braced. Emotions are fickle when they aren't ruled by the Word of God. The Bible says we are to let the peace of God rule or be the umpire in our hearts. In a baseball game, the umpire would judge a ball that is pitched and call if it is a strike or if it's a ball. Strike means the ball is in the zone of the batter and could have been hit. Ball means the pitch is out of the batter's zone. In our hearts we need an umpire as well, to judge every thought and emotion, and rule if it's in the zone of God's Word or out. If it's in the zone those are the thoughts we should be going after. Let these thoughts be in charge of our emotions. If on the other hand, we have thoughts and emotions coming our way that are inconsistent or against God's Word..these need to be immediately ruled out of the zone and therefore not our friends. Nor is it in our best interest to go after them. If you do, call it what it is. Foul ball. Phil 4:8 gives us this advice: In conclusion, brothers, focus your thoughts on what is true, noble, righteous, pure, lovable or admirable, on some virtue or on something praiseworthy.
Let's take loneliness for a second. It's a very real emotion and all of us have felt it from time to time. So what do we do with this emotion? Let's break it apart for a minute. At the very core of loneliness is the word alone. We get the feeling of loneliness because we think and believe we're alone; i.e., no one understands, I have no one to talk to, no one knows what I'm going through...these are all the thoughts of Mr. Lonely. Now, take those thoughts and put them in front of the mirror of God's Word. What does God say? Does God say you are forgotten or does he say: I will never leave you nor forsake you, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands? Has He said that He loves you with an everlasting love? Loneliness often comes when we pull away from God who gives us purpose. Have you remembered Him today? Remembrance of Him is a daily discipline. Close the distance and you'll feel the difference. The fact is that you can feel lonely but the truth declares that you are never alone. Facts can and do change, but the truth stays the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.Sometimes the ache in your heart isn't loneliness or grief or the pain of rejection. Or the myriad of a thousand different feelings that may cross one's path. Sometimes, it's the cry of the soul wanting to reach beyond the circumstances to the God who reigns above it all. Sometimes it's the sound of the innermost man, longing for a refreshing drink from an everlasting well of water. Sometimes it's not just the present times that cause the heart to tremble. It's rather the loss of knowing with absolute assurity the God who holds every moment in His hands.I believe that we deal with our emotions by first holding them up to the light of God's Word. We'd be surprised by how often our feelings are lying to us. I'm not saying that callously, but honestly. I don't know about you but I've been led astray by my emotions. Often. It wasn't until the Holy Spirit convicted me that I acknowledged this truth and began to umpire my heart. The heart is the seat of our emotions. It's the computer that runs the whole system. The central hub from where the soldiers take their orders. If the heart is running roughshod over you..it's time to step up and be the leader that your heart needs. We need to umpire our emotions and not the other way around. Am I driven by emotions or driven by the spirit?Too often we dismiss our feelings and emotions, not paying them any mind at all. I've often pushed aside some feelings just because I didn't want to acknowledge them or deal with them. This isn't wise either. It's just falling off on the other side of the road into the opposing ditch. Ignorance is sometimes just as bad as dwelling upon when it comes to feelings of the heart. God created us with emotions and desires for a reason. Just think about the intensity of love, of joy, and of peace. I would not want to live in a world without these. On the flip side, emotions such as hatred, anger, or sadness are just as intense. Could I do without those? Sure. It would be nice, but let's call a spade a spade. This isn't a perfect world yet and until it is we face trials and tribulations, these often cause a rise in emotions. I believe it wise to acknowledge a feeling and then ask the Holy Spirit: Why am I feeling this way? Is this from God or the enemy? Help me to deal with this, please steady my emotions and guard my heart.There's no sense in letting a feeling of bitterness fester until it has roots deep into your heart. It's much better to acknowledge, and admit the feeling and why I'm feeling like this, and figure out a Godly way of handling it. There's wisdom in dealing with the emotions of disappointment, of anger, of fear, of loneliness, bitterness, sadness, etc. All in all, these aren't bad emotions, but they can overtake and impact us negatively if we aren't careful to step out of them. There's much wisdom in fostering our feelings in a direction where we can say that we are honoring the Lord even in this. Talk it out or write it out, whatever it takes, but don't ignore it thinking it'll go away on its own. It won't. It'll be right there where you left it, unchecked, doing its thing, when you come back.The good news of the gospel is that the One who knows you deepest loves you to the fullest measure that love is capable of loving. I don't know what that means for you but doesn't that permit us to stop pretending? Pretending we're okay when deep inside we're breaking? Doesn't His love tell us to stop hiding? To stop hiding our problems from Him and each other? Stop hiding your true emotions from the One who says, Come to me if you are heavy-laden for I care for you. I'm beginning to think this pretending, hiding, and disassociating is a ploy designed straight from hell to make us disconnect from life itself. We are made for community, first with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and then with each other. How does the quote go: a lone sheep gets attacked first? Something like it.Permit yourself to feel intensely. Don't try and numb your heart! A numb heart is cold, dull, and without life. Yes, it's not without aches or pains but in the end? I believe it will be worth it to have fully loved, to have thoroughly given life your all, and be able to declare: "I have lived and I have done so extraordinarily." If you believe that this is the day that the Lord has made, you will also rejoice and be glad in it. Hug it, for life isn't meant to be a stranger but a friend you see and greet and love each day. Through the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful.I have fought a GOOD fight, I have kept the faith! I love because He first loved me. I have hope because the God of hope fills me with all joy and peace as I believe and trust in Him. He is a light on my path, a lamp to my feet and He keeps my feet from stumbling. He keeps my feet from stumbling if I hold on. Should I fall, He picks me up and catches me up to where I should be, as on eagles wings. He believes in me more than I do and that, that is love.Lord, give us an undivided mind to fear your name. Teach us to walk in your way and rescue us from drowning in our own wayward thoughts. We pray for those hearts that are heavy and laden down with disappointment, hurt or discouragement. Lord, touch them today as only you can and resurrect hope in their hearts. You love us too much to leave us broken and call us to rise into healing. Help us to move forward and not stay bogged down in despair. God of hope arise in hearts today with healing! Restore the joy of your salvation in us! Oh Abba, come! We need you. Come quickly, Lord we pray in Jesus' name, amen.