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Do I Make Decisions Based on Feelings/Emotions? Part 1

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ADMIN NOTE:

My internet is down for the time being. I will respond when I am able to. πŸ™‚

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Emotions and feelings are good gifts God has given to us. Happiness, sadness, fear, anger and nervousness all have purposes in our lives and can be used for good. They help us know when there are problems and to be able to respond to our circumstances and to other people. They also can bring us and others great joy and blessing when we use them properly.

In our culture today, many of us build our entire lives upon our feelings. We make decisions based on “what will make me feel happy right now.”

Feelings are important. They can act as a compass and help us sometimes to know if we are headed in the right direction or not. They can be red flags to show us that we need to examine our feelings and to determine why we feel the way we do so that we can know ourselves, our hearts and make the best decisions. Β BUT…

Feelings alone are a very poor foundation upon which to make decisions.

Feelings are not infallible. They are not a source of absolute truth. It is possible to put our feelings above everything else in life. We may even, unconsciously, put our feelings above God in our hearts. We may decide that we have to do “everything” we possibly can to avoid being upset, sad, hurt, scared or unhappy – no matter what the cost. We may decide that we need to put our own current feelings of happiness on the throne of our lives, basing all of our choices upon “what will make me feel happy right now?”

  • When we build our lives on feelings and emotions – we are building on sinking sand. When the storms come, decisions and lives that are built on feelings will collapse because they do not have a firm foundation.
  • Jesus is the Rock. When we build our lives on Him and His Word, we are building our lives on solid ground that will not crumble beneath the load of our lives. When the storms come, our house will stand.

HOW DOES THIS PLAY OUT?

When I face a decision, what level of priority do I give my feelings? Do I make them A factor, or do I make them THE factor?

When I allow my feelings to be in charge, they become tyrannical. Obedience to God easily goes out the window. Love for others becomes “too complicated,” “too costly”Β or “inconvenient.” If all that matters is my personal happiness in the moment, my deceitful heart can justify any sin against God or against others because my only concern is “I need to feel happy right now.”

When Jesus is my LORD, His Word is the deciding factor. I can certainly express my feelings to God. But then, if Jesus is Lord, I obey God. Period. No matter what my feelings are at the time. I value His wisdom much more than my own and His truth much more than my emotions.

Here is a little secret about obeying God.

Obedience comes first. Feelings usually follow obedience.

But even if good feelings don’t follow my obedience to God, my feelings are not important in comparison with my obedience to God. God calls me to live a holy life, to live in the power of His Spirit, to walk as Christ walked. He says that if I love Him, I will obey Him. He says that those who do not obey Him do not love Him. (John 14:22,24)

God will judge me based on how I lived my life according to His holy standards, not according to my emotions. The only way I can do this is to be filled up with His Spirit, abiding in Him daily and allowing His power to regenerate my spirit. Then He empowers me to live the way He commands me to live in ways I never could on my own. But I must be willing to submit fully to Him and abandon anything He says is sin.

TEARING OUT THE IDOL OF FEELINGS

It can be scary to stop basing our lives on our emotions if that is what we have always done. But there is so much freedom when we allow God’s Spirit to be in charge instead of our feelings! Then we are no longer slaves to our fleeting and ever-changing emotions. Being a slave to our emotions ALWAYS means we will also be a slave to sin. We want to feed the sinful nature and the desires of the flesh when we listen to feelings. When we die to our old sinful nature and live as living sacrifices for Jesus, there is great love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control in increasing measure in our lives.

Now, we allow God to be in charge and we boss our feelings around instead of allowing our feelings to be the boss and dictate what we will do in any situation. God’s Word becomes the standard and pleasing Him becomes our goal.

 

Tomorrow, we will continue this post and talk about some practical examples. πŸ™‚

 

RELATED:

Your Emotions are a Gauge, Not a Guide – Desiring God

55 thoughts on “Do I Make Decisions Based on Feelings/Emotions? Part 1

  1. Amen! The results of letting the Holy Spirit lead us rather than our emotions are much less volatile! Getting those emotions controlled by the Spirit is a GREAT work of the Spirit!

  2. Over the weekend the kids and I were visiting grandparents. I assumed we’d talk with my husband each night. Both Friday and Saturday there was texting but no phone call. I woke up Sunday feeling very unloved and I was ready to tell my husband how disappointed I felt that he didn’t call when I realized I never said what I wanted. I decided to simply send a text telling him that I missed him and that the kids and I would love to chat, and that I’d call at such and such a time. I was so glad I did that! My husband was quite excited to speak to all of us. I could’ve really messed that up for us had I assumed his worst when he didn’t do what I would’ve done with our family being gone. It’s so easy for me to blame someone for ‘making me feel bad’ rather than look at how I choose to use my own power and/or speak up for what I want. No one is a mindreader! I was always a go with your gut kind of person. Intuition is great but so is discernment. I’m learning.

    1. Refined,

      Great job!!!!!! I am so thrilled that you simply asked for what you wanted and shared that you missed him. The results would have likely been very different if you had lashed out. Woohoo!

    2. What a great realization, Refined! I am happy you recognized your mistaken thinking. I am guilty of the same pattern. The first argument my husband and I had was on this exact scenario, sadly I did not then have the knowledge to realize what I was doing wrong.

      Thanks for sharing your experience. Aha moments really open our eyes, don’t they?

    3. Yes! That’s happened to me too. Love & kindness sure go a long way, huh… I would react often to my negative thought about why he did something or didn’t do something. I now have taken the approach to pray about it first, give things a little more time, and then if necessary approach the matter in a kind loving way. I am definitely experiencing more peace and learning that my husband does have good intentions, and that I also need patience.

      1. I was introduced to “Power of a Praying Wife” this weekend. I’ve read the first few chapters, and it definitely convicted me of PRAYING FIRST before saying anything. And by praying, my emotions/feelings will be put in the correct perspective- so it’s has a twofold effect. Who doesn’t like a two for one! πŸ™‚

        1. Senterwife,
          Great resource! I’m so glad you are reading that book! Thanks for sharing with our sisters. Yes – prayer can and should help to change US and help us draw nearer and nearer to God so that God can change our desires to match His own. It definitely changes our perspective when we are praying with proper motives. Beautiful!

    4. I’ve done that before with my husband, waited and expected him to text me during the day, assuming he isn’t because he’s just too busy. Then he’ll text me and ask if anything is wrong because I’ve been so quiet all day!

      Mindreading rarely works. πŸ™‚

        1. I think God purposefully made us lacking in that area to encourage us to be more open with each other.

          Sometimes we wonder why we should pray if God already knows what’s in our minds and our hearts, but He wants us to pray anyway. If our spouses could read our minds, we’d have no reason to talk to them. The lack of mindreading makes it so we have to CHOOSE to be open and vulnerable.

  3. I thank God for the wisdom He gave you my sister you are a blessing to us.I ve been following your blogs for two months and Word are new every morning.Thank you …

  4. Wow.. Only God knows how much I needed to hear this today.. I even wrote you an email in my head..Thank you for answering so quickly πŸ™‚ Thank you for giving these precious, precious gems of advice, they are costly and not found anywhere else..Thank you for walking with us so intimately. Thank you!! Love Charlotte

  5. This is so timely! My husband responded very unlovingly to a loving text I sent this morning. My feelings were really hurt.

    I think God also uses our feelings to draw our attention. In my hurt, I fell back on all the things I have learned over the last few weeks about relying on His Word. Instead of responding with hostile words based on my hurt feelings, I was able to express my hurt without attacking and be honest in my thoughts about the issue that spurred my husband’s sharp text message.

    If I hadn’t felt so stung, I probably would have responded in my old, sinful way. I am so glad God let me feel that pain so that I needed His guidance. My conscience is so clear even though I expressed disagreement with my husband.

    Thank you, Lord, for all you do! Even pain can bring peace when we follow Your Word!

    1. Livelywriter,

      Yes, God definitely uses pain to draw our attention to Him. I love the idea of always using painful emotions to cause us to lay our hearts before God for Him to examine us and to direct us.

      There is an amazing quote about this from a theologian in the past – but I can’t think of it right now. Hopefully, I will remember it soon!

      I love what you are learning!

      Much love
      April
      http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/your-emotions-are-a-gauge-not-a-guide

      1. April,

        Thank you for the link…such beautiful insight about the purpose of our ability to feel. As gauges emotions tell us about the “thing” rather than being the “thing” itself.

        “Let them [emotions] tell you where the attack is being made so you can fight it with the right promises.”

        The pain of the response I received truly felt like a surprise slap in the face. It felt like an attack….a provocation. I am so thankful I chose not to retaliate in kind.

        It feels so good to really WANT to behave more Christlike, to strive toward obedience. My nature is really changing.

        Also, a note of interest, our pastor gave a moving sermon on being broken by our sin on Sunday. The timing couldn’t have been more in sync with where I am in my journey toward total surrender. Amazing!

        Thank you for cheerfully accepting the responsibility of creating this blog. I know how time consuming it must be. Your sacrifice of time and energy is not at all in vain!

        Much love to you and yours!

        1. Lively writer,
          I am so honored that God allows me to do this. I believe I am the most blessed woman on the planet to get to watch God working in so many women’s lives and marriages around the world. I am in total awe of God’s goodness and power. I count this time as an investment in storing up treasures in heaven. I don’t take a moment for granted.

          I am so glad you got to read that article. It is so good!!!!

          I love what you are learning! What God is doing in you is very beautiful!!!

    2. I would ask you guys to pray for me. My husband has also just stung me a lot with his words. I ran straight to this page for support and wow amazing the topic fits so perfectly right now.
      I feel like screaming back, and pride is welling in all the ways i could point out his faults. So I pray that God will help me to overcome my hurt and help me to put my feelings aside. In Jesus name…

      1. Praying for you Banalta7.

        How wonderful that you are here and that you recognize your natural reaction is actually robbing you of peace.

        I am sorry you are in pain. I know I have said things that have hurt my husband deeply. Words are potent.

        I am only just beginning my journey toward becoming a Godly wife, but I have had my eyes opened in so many ways through the discussions on this blog and my newly established quiet time of prayer and study of the Bible.

        Sending a comforting hug. ☺

    1. Flyaway,

      Well, much of what we need to know God has given us in the Bible. And He has given us, hopefully, godly mentors and influences in our lives as well. And, He gives us our husbands to help direct us. And He gives us His Spirit when we commit our lives to Him through faith in Christ and His Spirit gives us direction. At times when we don’t believe we are receiving an answer yet – sometimes it can mean to wait. πŸ™‚

  6. I discovered that I cannot watch romantic movies with eye-pleasing actors! It spurred all sorts of negative feelings and emotions towards my husband which purposedly, and thankfully, I didn’t voice. My husband noticed that something was bothering me as I kept our conversation to a miinimum while I was doing battle taking my thoughts and feelings captive. I made sure to be loving and respectful, but I couldn’t trust myself yet to say much more than the most basic. I prayed, and sought counsel, and finally today at lunch, God made it ‘click’. I figured out the cause-effect to my feelings. No more Pierce Brosnan for me! πŸ™‚

    Taking control of our thoughts and feelings sure brings on peace and tranquility!

    1. Oh yes, Senterwife! I have been staying away from all things baby and it quiets the discontent in my heart to a manageable level. In the thick exposure to that which we covet can make us so miserable inside and out!

      It makes me remember that part of the Lord’s Prayer, “…lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from evil…” I think He is giving us these realizations as part of that promise. How great is that?!!

  7. Not sure if this fits in here, but here goes …
    Yesterday, Holy Spirit showed me that my behavior toward hubby is designed to keep him at arms-length. Somewhere along the way I have learned that it is not safe to share myself with him — it causes me emotional pain, so I don’t dare let him come too close. So sad to acknowledge that I feel that way about the man I married πŸ™ So glad that I can come here and become ready to face those things God wants me to see about myself and make changes πŸ™‚

    Progress may be slow, but it is here.
    We are readying to install a new woodstove (the tile is beautiful!) and hubby wants to do the install this Saturday with the help of a friend, which would be good and well, except he hasn’t even looked at the manual yet! Of course, I’ve read the entire thing cover-to-cover and am now an expert (not) in all aspects of woodstove installation.
    The good news is I have been able to stop myself from telling him how it should be done, and he tells me that he will read the manual this week. This is progress for me! I don’t even have to play supervisor while the guys are working!
    The scary part is: what if they totally mess it up and the house catches fire. I don’t even need to go there. But I do need to trust in God’s goodness and mercy πŸ™‚

  8. April,

    My husband told me last night that he is separating from me today.

    Without going into detail, I grew upset last night when he was an hour later than expected. With all the pain and disconnect between us lately my fearful mind went into overdrive. I didn’t accuse him, but I told him that I felt afraid when there is a large gap btwn the time he was expected home and the time he got home. Then I broke. At that moment, God showed me a grave sin that was fuelling my fear. Years ago I had participated in adultery as the other woman.

    Oh how my heart broke. I sobbed on the bed. My husband went to take a shower. When he came back to the room he said he wants to separate, that he can’t take it any longer.

    I pleaded with him to wait until our wed. Meeting w pastor, but he absolutely refused. He had me leave him at work so i could hav3 the car.

    This is a nightmare. Please pray for us.

    1. livelywriter,

      My heart breaks for you! πŸ™

      I wish I could hug your neck!!!!!!!!!!!

      Of course I will pray for you. My greatest prayer is for your walk with Christ to grow and deepen and for you to keep your eyes on Him and His sovereignty during this fiery trial. I pray for God to work in both of you and for ultimate healing and restoration of the marriage. And I pray for God’s greatest glory in both of your lives and your family.

    2. livelywriter, I too have that sin in my past and have felt the pain and guilt associated with it.

      I mentioned to April on another post that because of MY past actions, sometimes I worry about the temptations my husband might be facing. If I wasn’t strong enough to resist it, he might not be either! I realize it’s VERY unfair of me to put that on him. It is still painful to feel, though.

      I do understand your concerns and how your heart breaks over that.

      I sense your heartache and fear of the unknown right now. I am so sorry for your pain. Please know that I will joining April and the other ladies in praying for you, for your husband and your marriage. You are not alone! God’s got this!

      1. Dear M,

        You are right. I assumed that my husband would be tempted because I was tempted and sinned…incredibly unfair of me to allow that momentary doubt to creep in on my part.

        I have prayed for God to heal the damage I had caused from those transgressions. My heart bleeds for the pain I inflicted through my weak, desperate and faithless nature I had then.

        Lord, help us to be forgiving as you have forgiven us. Amen.

        1. That is my prayer as well! Amen!

          Know now that God has forgiven you. If you have not yet apologized to your husband about that, my suggestion would be for you to pray about when the right time is for you to ask his forgiveness as well.

          It is painful, but also freeing, when God opens our eyes to our sin. His grace is pouring over you right now! Let Him hold you close. Pray, talk with Him, and allow Him to move in this situation the way He sees fit. He wants so much better for you than you can imagine.

          1. “It is painful, but also freeing, when God opens our eyes to our sin.”

            Oh yes!! I had been praying that day to feel convicted and broken by my sins. He did this in a most unexpected way. While at first I resented God’s timing because it was the last straw for my husband, I see that it could have been any number of things as the last straw, but the Lord, in His mighty wisdom, let my husband to see my raw, honest remorse in addition to my weaknesses. I pray for Him to lead me in asking for forgiveness from my husband with humility.

    3. You and your husband are in my prayers, livelywriter. What is “good” to know about situations like these, is that if you cling on to God, He will manifest His Power over your situation. He will take control.

      Hang in there, sister.

    4. April, M, Nikka, and Refined,

      Thank you with all my heart for praying and standing in the gap…this walk of trust is difficult. I am in an incredibly vulnerable postion; we moved to our current location at the very end of Dec. our closest family is 5 hours away. We were living in Germany from the start of our marriage in 2011 until Dec. I was unable to work for the 2.5 years we were there. I have just $800 to my name. My parents both live on the edge of their own means. My husband has not made his account joint with me. I feel more vulnerable than I ever have in my life.

      Your encouragement means so much to me. God is providing me with support I never imagined I would have.

      I have not said anything to my parents about my husband choosing to “spend time apart”. I am ashamed and do not want to cause any additional worry until I know more about my situation.

      Please continue to pray for us. I will continue to lift you up in prayer too. I thank you with heartfelt gratitude for your care and concern.

      In His Love,

      Livelywriter

      1. livelywriter, that sounds like a terrifying position to be in. I’m so sorry for all of the pain and uncertainty you’re experiencing right now! Our God is so much greater than ALL of that!

        He has already been to your future. He is working behind the scenes preparing things for your good right now. Hold tight to Him, and know that you have a huge support team with you!

        1. M, thank you for your encouragement. It is comforting to hear that God already has my future ready according to His Holy and loving plan. For the first time in my life, I am able to live completely in the moment–the past is already known and dealt with, the future is honestly beyond my control, all I can do to live in goodness and peace is use my time to understand God’s Word, so that He may use me to His greater purpose.

          Although I am intermittently tempted to give way to fear, I am also so very aware and thankful for all my blessings. The birds are singing and I sing my gratitude with them in my heart. This moment is beautiful.

          I pray His blessing of living in the moment on you, M, and also all of my sisters and brothers everywhere. 😊

          1. Your comments are encouraging to ME, sweet woman! God is working so mightily in your heart and life, and it blesses me to hear what you’re learning.

          2. Your words are like a consoling hug!

            Here is a verse brought to my attention for my comfort and instruction:

            “The Lord will fight for you. You need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14

            He wants the burden of fighting for my marriage. My job right now is to forgive, love and seek Him above all. I feel so cared for!

          3. That is one of my favorite verses. So comforting and empowering at the same time!

            Bless you, friend!

      2. Lively writer,
        I have been at work today. But I am praying for you!!!! Praying for you to abide in Jesus and in His spirit and his Word and for you to be very sensitive to His prompting about what to do and say and not do and not say.

        Praying for God to work in you both to make something so beautiful here!

        Much love!

  9. My dear Livelywriter,

    Life is so real, raw and sometimes horribly dark. I pray you may tangibly feel God’s love and protection right now. As you learn to lean on Him, your sisters in Christ will stand in the gap for you. No, you are not alone.

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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