Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Emotions

I have been thinking about the way I make decisions. There are a few pretty important matters that I need to get settled this next week or so, and while I was thinking about these upcoming decisions, my thoughts turned to the process of decision-making. So many times when I need to make a decision, especially if I don’t have much time to decide, I am tempted to rely on what I feel, rather than figuring out what I know. I suppose it is partly a product of intellectual laziness; I don’t want to take the time to think and determine the facts of the matter, so I go by feelings, which take less effort to determine.

Yet emotions are not necessarily a viable means for making decisions. The Bible tells us that “The heart is deceitful above all else...” (Jeremiah 17:9) and I know from personal experience that emotions can easily be misleading or even false. While the Holy Spirit sometimes uses emotions to speak to us or guide us, it is important to be very careful to make sure that the “leading” we feel lines up with God’s word. I have been tricked by my emotions enough times that I am somewhat distrustful of them now. One way I have found to discern between mere emotional “fluff” and the leading of the Holy Spirit is to pray and ask God to make His leading more clear, to confirm that what I feel is truly His leading. –And He always does!

Emotions are indeed tricky things. So often, it is not what one feels that is most important; it is how one responds to those feelings that truly matters. Today was the first day of a piano camp I am teaching, and I noticed that so many of the problems my students had stemmed from the students being so preoccupied with the things other students were doing, that they ended up doing something worse. It’s important even for adults to remember that we are not responsible for the actions of others, but we are responsible for the way we react to them.

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