As women we are emotional creatures. We can go from one emotion to another and back around again in a matter of minutes. As a strength, our emotions help us to be good wives, mothers, friends, and servants for the Lord because they make us sensitive to the needs of those we love and are called to love. We are able to deeply feel things both happy and sad. We rejoice with those who are celebrating, and we cry with those who are hurt. As a weakness, we tend to let our emotions rule us, lead the way, and get in the way when we need to focus on the truth.
God has been showing me lately how I let my emotions control me way too much. Being emotional is good and needed, but they aren’t meant to be in control. They are indicators not controllers.
I’m a very emotional person, and that’s a strength and a weakness. It’s a strength because I am over the top happy in good times and cry from the depths of my soul during trials. I get too involved in football games (War Eagle!), and I get giddy-excited over fun stuff like birthdays, Saturdays, my niece, and coffee. God uses my emotions to help others. I hurt when others hurt, so it helps greatly with my calling.
As a weakness, though, I rely too much on how I feel. I let what should be indicators be controllers, yanking me around or stopping me in my tracks. If someone isn’t kind to me, well, my emotions tempt me to respond in the same way because that’s how I FEEL like responding. I don’t lean in toward difficult people because I might get hurt, and I don’t FEEL like getting hurt. I sometimes don’t reach out to others because it might require something of me, and I don’t FEEL like giving up anything. I feel ugly. I feel unliked. I feel like a failure. Feel, feel, feel…you notice that the feelings are in control, right? They dictate my responses, actions, and thoughts. They are in control when God’s truth should be in control.
While God has been showing me that my feelings have way too much power, He has shown me that certain things we tend to view as feelings are really choices. Love isn’t just a feeling; it is a choice. We get so consumed with feeling in love, and what happens when the person we love hurts us? We don’t necessarily “feel” love for them. In these hard instances, we have to choose to love them rather than turning our backs on them.
I’ve never been married, so I’m the farthest thing from being qualified to make a statement about marriage, but I’d be willing to bet that most marriages that end are the result of people not “feeling” in love anymore. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong…please! We have to make a choice to love. If we rely on how we feel about others, we’ll be miserable because the people we love will hurt us.
Another thing God has shown me is that forgiveness is a choice. If we wait until we feel like forgiving someone, it will never happen. Why? Because no one ever feels like offering forgiveness. If we have to forgive, that means we’ve been hurt. And our natural response from our flesh is retaliation of some sort. To forgive requires making a choice.
So, then if we are supposed to rely on God’s truth rather than our feelings, what is God’s truth?
When it comes to how we feel about ourselves, rely on this truth – we are made in God’s image: “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27. Do you think God makes junk? No. God makes beautiful things.
God’s word also says:
“For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.” Psalm 139:13-16
We were intentionally made just the way we are. Period.
When it comes to loving others, Jesus says: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” John 13:34
When it comes to forgiveness, Jesus says, “If one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” Colossians 3:13
When we are tempted to believe those negative thoughts, to turn our backs, to withhold forgiveness, or any other emotion that wants to push and pull us to places we shouldn’t go, turn to God’s word and seek His truth. It is stable. It is unchanging. It won’t lead us astray. It is life.