The Facts About Feelings
Let's face it, sometimes things would be much easier if we were all just robots. Moving from one task to another in a cold, systematic fashion, we would be much more efficient and productive gears in the machine of life without all these pesky emotions getting in the way.
Yet, in God's infinite wisdom, He gave us the gift of emotions, which truly add life to life. However, as is so often the case, we are quick to be ruled by our gifts at the expense of the Giver.
A few months back, I was on Solid Steps Radio talking, in part, about this struggle. On the program, I talked about how we make fitness decisions based on feelings, rather than facts. We react emotionally in the moment, rather than responding rationally to the truths we claim we believe.
When this happens, when we allow ourselves to be guided by emotions, we are driving the train with the caboose pulling the engine. We are giving too much power to something that wasn't meant to have it and the train quickly, often times violently, derails.
This conflict arises in some areas more than others. For instance, for family responsibilities, we are usually guided by facts. The fact is, kids have to go to school, so we get them to school.
The fact is we need money to live, so we work to make money to live.
We are also guided by facts with things of a more mechanical nature. Car is low on gas. The fact is we don't want to run out of gas, so we fill up the car.
Door to the house gets left open. Fact is, we don't want bugs in the house or to waste the air conditioning, so we shut the door.
Yet in other areas, we allow ourselves to be powered by emotions even if they are going to work against us.
You want to reach a certain weight loss goal. The fact is, you'd be happier at this weight, feel better, look better, have more energy, and so on. However, you have a bad day at the office, and so you drown your funk in a pizza.
Or you are trying to build up your savings account. The fact is, you need to have more in your emergency fund, there are a couple big ticket items your house needs, and frankly, you don't need more clothes or tools or _______. Then the kids come home from school bickering with each other, messing up the house, and complaining about dinner and homework. Your next thought is, "I need some retail therapy!"
Proverbs warns us against acting out of our emotions.
"A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back." –Proverbs 29:11
In other words, foolish people act on their emotional whims.
So what's the antidote? Christ of course.
"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." –Philippians 4:7
When we are deliberate, focusing on Christ, allowing the power of the Holy Spirit to live in and through us, we can have peace.
Then, from that peace, we have protection, as the peace of God guards both our hearts AND minds.
Protection from who?
From the enemy.
And from ourselves, making poor decisions that we are basing on emotion.
In my book The Body Tithe Devotional I said that the greatest gift man has ever been given is free will. Part of having free will is being able to enjoy the varying depths of emotions that come with it.
With those emotions, however, also comes the responsibility to keep them in check, which happens through the power of the Holy Spirit.
So give thanks to God for the gift of feelings and pray for discernment on how to use them to bring Him glory and honor.
When that happens, you get to enjoy both the facts AND the feelings.
This article originally posted on BodyTithe.com. Used with permission.
Matthew Pryor is the author of ”The Body Tithe Devotional: Spiritual Encouragement for Your Fitness Journey." He is also a personal trainer and the founder of the Christian fitness site Body Tithe University (BTU). BTU specializes in helping Christians get fit with one objective in mind: live more so you can give more.
Publication date: June 7, 2016