When Emotions Take the Wheel...
Often we think our emotions are the enemy.
As I was sitting last night with a friend, we talked about emotions and how they have so much influence on her life. She made a comment about just needing to ignore her emotions and look at the logic of a situation.
But emotions can be incredibly useful if we know their proper role in our lives.
Imagine your life is a car. Inside that car you need a driver. Whoever you allow to drive will determine the direction your life is going in.
But that doesn’t mean that a driver never benefits from some help from the passengers. And that is where emotions come in.
When allowed to drive the car, emotions are totally useless and dangerous - they swerve all over the place and make impulsive ‘short cuts’ which end up as long cuts or getting lost. They are reactive and make turns too early for fear of missing the right turn or because they read the signs all wrong.
But when Jesus, the personification of Wisdom is allowed to take the wheel, and emotions are belted firmly in the backseat, they can be exceedingly beneficial in several ways:
1. Emotions can alert us to oncoming danger.
I can often tell now in my own life or in the lives of those around me when a breakthrough is about to happen or could happen. I start feeling unusually negative or depressed or frustrated. Or I see others start asking ‘why?’ about the circumstances in their lives. Things start looking like the opposite to what you thought was going to happen and you suddenly feel confused or lost.
Those emotions are great alerts to oncoming danger and potential breakthrough. They are actually often signs that we are heading in the right direction. Recognised correctly...
2. Emotions should impulse us to pray
Strong emotions are great opportunities for some real, truthful, heart-revealing, character-changing prayers. Not only do they alert us to areas in our lives where we are lacking faith and need reminding of our heavenly identities, they are also effective against the enemy. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. (James 5:16) And brings breakthough.
3. Emotions help us to connect
I remember when I was pregnant with my first child feeling incredible empathy for anyone on the television. Mothers, children, rabbits, cartoon aliens... you name it - anyone who was having a bad day could have me crying in empathy and depth of feeling. I actually liked feeling. I remember asking God to not take away that ability to empathise with others when I stopped being pregnant. When we allow ourselves to empathise with others, we can connect with them and walk with them on their journey. And pray for them.
4. Emotions keep us humble
Not only do emotions keep us connected at a heart level with others, they also keep us humble. We all struggle. We’re all struggling with different things at different times. I find myself feeling rather stable for a couple of months, just beginning to feel confident I am getting the hang of things, when BAM! emotions start flying and I realise once again that I can’t do it on my own and I need God!
5. Emotions bring life and keep away boredom.
Although we might not like being on the edge of our seats all the time, most of us do enjoy an adventure when we know the outcome. That is why Hollywood makes so much money. Think of emotions as the drama - the dramatic music and poignant camera angles. But also remember, it will work out all right in the end! (Romans 8:28) On your journey emotions can be great singers and storytellers in the backseat. They can bring life and drama, laughter and tears. Emotions make us who were are - human. Emotions enable us to connect with others in meaningful ways and also with God. Not only do they enable us to enjoy and live life fully, they also help us to remember things. Our most vivid memories are connected to our strongest emotions. And memories, whether good or bad, are reasons to praise the Lord - for His blessing or His redemption!
So, who is driving your car today? Your emotions or Wisdom? Why don’t you let your emotions tell some stories in the back, or keep a watch out front whilst Wisdom takes the wheel? But don’t ignore your emotions - they have an important role to play...just don’t give them a driver’s license!
If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. - James 1:5 (The Message)