How then do we take all that we know about emotion and properly utilize emotions to make informed decisions?
Well that is somewhat a trick question as emotions should rarely form the basis for making decisions. Let me explain.
In Stephen W. Owen’s talk entitled “Be Faithful, Not Faithless” he relays a short story about a herd of deer.
Within the story, the deer became trapped outside their natural habitat due to heavy snowfall.
He continues, “some well-meaning people, in an effort to save the deer, dumped truckloads of hay around around the area- it wasn’t what the deer would normally eat, but they hoped it would at least get the deer through the winter… sadly, most of the deer were later found dead… they had eaten the hay, but it did not nourish them, and they starved to death with their stomachs full.”
Sadly, a similar illustration can be seen in our battles against Satan.
Satan knows that we have been separated from our natural habitat and, as such, offers us easy pleasure and instant access to escaping uncomfortable emotions with a unlimited supply of hay.
While “hay” can fill our bellies it ultimately leads us spiritually starving and can lead to spiritual death.
Satan can and will hijack our thoughts towards pleasure-seeking ideas of “hay” which for a short time allude us from the pains and complexity human emotions.
I urge you to be cautious in using your emotions as decision-makers as they will often lead you toward unreliable outcomes.
Instead, consider upon the power that can be found in knowing who you are and the values you have.
You are not your emotions and you are not your thoughts.
Put simply, do something because that action is complimentary to who you are and the person you are hoping to become.
You may use the phrase: I chose to be this way and do this because I’m a child of God and this is what a child of God would do.
Or if you’re like me, I want to serve my wife and child because I value being a good husband and father.
I promise you that as you continue to act and make decisions based upon your identity and your values that you will experience joy and your emotions will follow suit. “Men ARE that they might have joy.”
Go find that joy.
Written by Brandon Nite, APSW, MSW graduate, Northwest Nazarene University. You can reach Brandon at email@example.com.