“It’s mine!!!!” Screeched my five year old daughter from the top of the stairs.
“No it’s not! It’s mine! You took it from my floor!” My seven year old son bellowed back with rage.
The thunder of four feet spilling down the stairs as fast as possible and the volume of their passion assured me that I was about to become the judge in a case of stolen property (allegedly). My children were in a hot debate over the ownership of—wait for it—a nickel. Yes, five whole cents was causing this latest case of hysteria. I listened for what seemed like forever as they both pleaded their case—at the same time. Both so desperate to claim this nickel. Thankfully, I was in a peaceful place and I saw more humor than irritation in this particular spat. I mean, come on—it. is. a nickel! Five tiny cents.
By the time I gathered the circumstances surrounding the nickel in question, I was sure it belonged to my son. It was in his room and she had come in and found it, claiming finder’s keepers. Her mistake was to overlook the fact that it was in her brother’s room. (A sibling-bedroom clause if you will). Plain and simple: it wasn’t hers to take. She felt entitled to this money though since she found it. After handing down the verdict, she was a puddle of emotions. I had a hard time getting her to see the fairness of this particular situation. Her emotions had locked her perspective into only seeing what she thought was fair. I comforted her, but did not change my decision just because she couldn’t get on board. Her truth was that she deserved that nickel. Her truth was that she had a right to go into his room, and money left on the floor was fair game. Her truth felt 100% true to her. That doesn’t make it a Truth. But alas, she was certain of her position and although she gave back the nickel, she refused to accept that justice had prevailed.
How many times have your emotions been the heaviest deciding factor in your own perspective? They become this concrete foundation that hardens around your stance in a particular area. They reinforce your position. The longer they sit untouched the harder they are to change.
The story may seem silly as we all would clearly side with the brother in this scenario. But I have been guilty of this same thing. I have built my emotions around an idea and given myself support to feel a certain way. Emotions are a gift, but they can betray you if they are left to their own, selfish devices. Emotions are not interested in preserving truth. They are self preserving and seek to protect you. They welcome twisted truth if it will strengthen their case. Emotions have a way of distorting the truth to fit their agenda. Here are three ways to keep emotions in check.
1.) Be in the Presence.
Having Jesus in your heart is great! But you simply can’t put him in there and lock the door behind him. He is looking for a relationship. This means that you are actively going after encounters with the Creator of the Universe. When you accepted Jesus, he brought the Advocate—Holy Spirit—to reveal truth to you. As you seek him, you will hear his voice more and more. Spend time praying and quietly listening to hear the voice of God. His truth will never return void—it will betray your emotions from time to time.
2.) Be in community.
God gave us earthly relationships for a reason. In God’s word, he displays time and time again how having friends and safe people to go through stuff with makes all the difference in the world. Esther had Mordecai, David had Jonathan, Jesus and Peter, and Paul and Barnabas all had great friendships. Not perfect, but strong bonds that were essential in their personal growth. God wants us all to have deep friendships and one of the roles of a friend is to save you from drowning in your emotions. They deliver hard, heart-felt truth wrapped in the love they have for you.
3.) Wait it out.
Few decisions that are made strictly on emotions end up being good ones. When we have a choice to make, emotions flood in and can be strongly in one direction or maybe all over the place. If it is at all possible a cooling period should be had. This could be as quick as five minutes really. Most of the time we have a chance to think, pray, talk to a trusted friend before we have to act on big things. Time is an enemy to intense emotions. The type that flair up in an instant and demand action also burn out more quickly than others.
As a feeler myself, I am speaking to my own heart as much—if not more—than anyone else. My emotions are constantly vying for the top spot as commander in chief over all of Ashley’s actions and opinions. My spirit—that is connected to my Savior—should be the ruling party in this Earthly experience. However, I can’t let my guard down. The Enemy is always seeking to usurp the proper chain of command. Emotions need to submit to my spirit. Using these three tips will give your spirit strength to overcome the emotions.
I pray that you feel encouraged that you are not alone if you feel betrayed by your own emotions. Being a feeler comes with so many wonderful attributes! We just need to be aware of the pitfalls that come with our wiring.
For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.