On Sunday the message was about the condition of the heart. We took a look at King Saul and how he followed his heart. His heart led him to disobey God, disqualify himself from the throne, and ensured that his lineage be removed from the throne as well. Fear, intimidation, peer pressure, and impatience played a part in polluting his heart.
Jesus teaches us the following in Matthew 15:18-20, “But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.”
In my devotion time today, I came across this nugget of wisdom. It goes right along with the message from Sunday and offers wisdom on how we should handle emotions in our lives and how to make the best decisions. I pray the Holy Spirit inspires you and empowers you to use the authority of Jesus Christ and take control of your emotions.
Your servant in Christ,
Don’t Promise When You’re Happy
Posted by Regi Campbell on October 10, 2013
Don’t reply when you’re angry.
Don’t decide when you’re sad.
The first time my sweet wife flew on a small plane, she was scared to death. She was NOT going! Period. Her fear made the tiny risk of dying into near certainty. But as usual, she rallied, mustered up her courage, and took her seat in the snug little cabin. After a smooth flight and a soft landing, she was giddy. “We should do this again,” she said, beaming in happiness (and relief!). I felt a little like a drunk man’s friend. I said “Whoa it down there cowgirl…you gotta’ get back on this buggy in a couple of days to get home.” I knew the euphoria of the moment would again be replaced by abject fear once she was a little ways down the road.
Our emotions amplify what we’re thinking. When we’re on a positive roll, endorphins lubricate our happiness. Make it go higher and faster. We’re optimistic. We see abundance. And we can get carried away, buying stuff, making promises, and hanging ourselves out there with commitments that’ll look and feel a lot different when we come back down to earth and reality.
It works the other way too. When we suffer a loss… get turned down or rejected, our lack of happiness accelerates our fall like a pelican’s wings tucked into its body. We lose confidence, see scarcity, and think “I’m an idiot.” “Why didn’t I see this coming?” “What’s coming next?” “Bad stuff always comes in three’s, right? Where are the other two?”
And anger is the most intense. When someone sets us off, our adrenal glands dump epinephrine and cortisol into our bloodstream, firing up our heart rate, breathing, and muscle readiness. We’re ready for ‘fight’ or ‘flight’. Responding intelligently in this ‘red zone’ of hormones is about as likely as a pilot giving Boeing feedback on their new airplane while he’s trying to pull it out of a death dive.
God gave us these emotions for our good. He wants us to experience joy. I think that’s why we have music and worship and sex and sunsets and grandchildren. He gave us free will, which we then used to bring sin and sorrow and death and sadness onto ourselves. And He gave us anger, so we’d have the physical resources we’d need to do hard things in a hurry. Things like defend ourselves, run out of burning buildings, and swim to safety when the boat capsizes.
Here are the keys to finding wisdom… slow down the process and extend the time horizon. Big decisions need to be made slowly, and with long-term consequences clearly in focus. That means waiting until the hype wears off. Until the sadness clears away. Until the anger subsides and clear thinking returns. Good decisions come through thoroughness, thoughtfulness, listening, prayer, courage and the counsel of intelligent people who care about you and your success. All that takes time and calm clear-headedness.
To protect myself from myself, I have a personal ‘guardrail’ that says I don’t make any big decision the same day I’m confronted with it. I ‘sleep on it’. Give it 24 hours. I’ve been amazed at how different a decision can look the next day, after a little rest and reflection.
Question: Can you remember a decision you wish you could do over? What effect did the ‘emotions of the moment’ have on the choice you made?