The daily ups and downs of our emotions are one of the major struggles we have with our relationships. Instead of riding the emotional roller coaster, we need to become stable, solid, steadfast, persevering and determined people. If we continue to let our emotions rule over us, there’s no way we’ll ever be the person we were meant to be. Of course, none of us will ever be totally rid of emotions, but we must learn to manage and control them—not let them control us.
Life is no fun when we are controlled by feelings. Feelings change from day to day, hour to hour, even moment to moment. Not only do they change, they lie. For example, you may be in a crowd of people and feel that everybody is talking about you, but that doesn’t mean they are. You may feel that nobody understands you, but that doesn’t mean they don’t. You may feel you are misunderstood, unappreciated or even mistreated, but that doesn’t mean it is true. If we want to be mature, disciplined people, we must be determined not to walk according to what we feel.
People often ask me, “How can I know for sure whether I’m walking in the truth or walking according to my feelings and emotions?” I believe the answer is found in patience. Emotions urge us toward haste, telling us that we must do something and do it right now! But godly wisdom tells us to wait until we have a clear picture of what it is we are to do and when we are to do it. We need to be able to back off and view our situation from God’s perspective. We need to make decisions based on what we know rather than on what we feel.
Let me give you an example from my own life. One time I had saved up money to buy a good watch. I wanted to buy a nice watch so the band wouldn’t change colors and turn my wrist green. One day my husband, Dave, and I were in the mall and happened to stop at a jewelry store where I saw a watch that was very pretty. As we looked at the watch, we discovered that it was gold-plated and knew that it would probably eventually discolor, but it seemed to be just what I was looking for and fit my wrist perfectly. Not only that, but the clerk offered to mark it down. So my emotions said, “Yes! That’s exactly what I want!”
But Dave said, “Well, you know it’s gold-plated, and it will eventually discolor.”
I said, “I know but I really like this watch. What should I do?”
“It’s your money,” he answered.
“I’ll tell you what I’m going to do,” I told the clerk. “I’d like for you to hold the watch for me while I walk around the mall for a bit. If I want the watch, I’ll come back for it within the hour.”
So Dave and I walked around the mall for a while. As we did, we passed a dress shop. Because I needed a couple of new outfits, I went in and found a really nice suit. I tried it on, and it fit perfectly. I loved it.
“That’s a nice suit,” Dave said. “You ought to get it.”
I looked at the price tag and thought, It costs so much…no wonder it looks so good on me! But I really wanted the suit! Actually there were three things I wanted right then. I wanted the watch, I wanted the suit, and I wanted not to be broke. What did I decide to do? I applied wisdom and decided to wait. The watch—which really wasn’t the quality I wanted—would have taken all of my savings. The suit was beautiful, but it also would have taken most of my savings. So I decided that the best thing was to keep my money and wait until I was sure of what I wanted most. Usually the wisest course is, when in doubt, don’t!
When faced with any difficult decision, wait until you have a clear answer before taking a step that you may regret. Emotions are wonderful, but they must not be allowed to take precedence over wisdom and knowledge. Remember—control your emotions instead of letting them control you.