I’ve struggled with realizing that emotions are not always indicators of truth. Accepting this is a mark of growing up. When I was younger, I was pretty convinced that if I felt strongly enough about something, it had to be true. Well, college taught me to analyze things objectively and rationally. Eventually, I realized that just because I was emotional about something did not mean that I was right. Achieving emotional balance is actually a difficult thing to do.
There’s a scripture that is especially eloquent about this subject. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” The way I put it, my heart lies to me.
We have such an interesting relationship with our emotions. They are not intrinsically evil. We are made in the image of God, and the scriptures portray Him as heavily emotional. God shows anger, compassion, jealousy, mercy, laughter, and more. His emotions are not sinful. So what do we do with them?
Fortunately, God has given us a few tools to balance out our crazy emotional nature. First of all, we can seek the Lord in prayer when we feel strongly about something, but there is either no resolution to our emotions, or they are causing conflict. Also, being diligent to read God’s Word does wonders for balancing out our feelings with reality.
A great example is the parable of the wise man who built his house on the rock. In Matthew 7, Jesus tells the story of two builders. The person who hears His words and puts them into practice is like a man who builds his house on the rock, and when the storms came, his house still stood. The ones who do not hear the Word or put it into practice are like the man who built his house on the sand. When the rains came and the winds blew, the house fell apart.
If we rely entirely on our emotions when life gets hard, we won’t be able to endure it. If we are planted in the Word of God and develop heavenly perspective, when bad things happen to us, like when my son almost died, or was diagnosed with autism, it doesn’t completely destroy us. Our trust is not in a set of circumstances, but the One who made us and knows the end from the beginning.
Another fabulous tool we have to balance our emotions is the people that God has placed in our lives, especially our spouses! I can’t tell you how many times I freaked out about something only to have my rock-solid husband give me perspective and point me in the direction of truth.
As human beings, we have a very limited perspective. We can only operate out of our finite understanding of our past experience. The wise thing to do is to rely on the One who is omniscient and sees and knows everything from eternity past to eternity future, as it were. The best thing we can do for ourselves is to subject our emotions to His wisdom.
Our emotions are wonderful for expressing affection towards those we love, to fuel us as we fulfill the call God has on our life, for giving worship to the Worthy Lamb of God, even at times for being angry and defending the ones who have been wronged. There is certainly a place for emotion! We don’t want to be frozen into inaction by indifference. Can you imagine what kind of lovers, parents, or friends we would be if we simply did not feel?
Emotions are a gift from God, but left unchecked they can distort our view of the truth, cause us to make bad decisions, and keep us from entering into the fullness God has for us. This is why we should strive to discern what is good and what is harmful, submitting them to God’s wisdom and advice from those we love. Achieving emotional balance is not easy, but it’s possible.