Sometimes it’s a mystery how a head and a heart can live in the same body, and yet want two completely different things.
I’ve often found myself thinking ‘this is the best thing that’s ever happened’ while my heart feels like it’s about to get ripped out and used as a toilet sponge. This happened to me recently, so i started reading up a little on the heart, the mind, and why we even have both at all.
Jeremiah 17:9 MSG
“The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful,
a puzzle that no one can figure out.”
Proverbs 4:23 NAS
“Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.”
Hmmm … the Bible doesn’t seem to encourage letting our hearts guide us through life. Coincidentally (not) while on this journey, Relevant Magazine posted and article called Stop following your heart. It could not have come at a better time! It’s a rather helpful article about the dangers of the saying ‘follow your heart’ and others like it, and speaks about the heart’s fickle rollercoaster ride of emotions at any given time. What i found helped me the most, was the part in the article that said: “Realise that the thing that’s steering you is possibly broken.” Meaning that the heart’s motives for wanting something have, nine times out of ten, more to do with our fleshly desires than the desires of God.
So now, when i feel my heart tugging in a different direction to the biblical wisdom of my mind, I’m able to say to it ‘ssshh little heart, you don’t know what you’re talking about, you’re just a little broken’ … and it helps me to avoid getting dragged into it’s pity party of fleshly cravings.
It’s almost as if, a heart is a heart, created to love and desire, and it can’t help itself. It will take any opportunity to live out it’s purpose, and do it to it’s full potential (well, my heart anyway.) It’s kind of careless in a way, deceitful definitely, and very often confused. So what are emotions for then …?
I turned to one of my favourite websites called How stuff works for answers, and basically, emotions serve to motivate us into action. We wear them as outward expressions to serve as social cues, and we then identify emotions in others in order to know if our behaviour is acceptable or not. Someone’s sadness motivates us to act with compassion, and feelings of shame prevent us from repeating unwanted behaviour, Eg: steeling.
As far as i can fathom, emotions are more for the good of the people around you and for benefiting society, than for our own personal use, especially when making decisions. Although i do believe they can testify as to weather or not we have made the right decision. But a life guided and ruled by emotion is going to be one heck of a ride, and i ain’t gettin’ on.
I do not believe there is such a thing as ‘good or bad’ when it comes to emotion. But rather how the emotion is acted upon, and who or what it leads us to. For example, we were created to feel insecure and needy, because we are created to find our security in God and have our needs met by Him, but what we do instead, is look for security in money, the opposite sex or material items.
When we experience feelings of jealousy for example, it’s probably because we are believing something about the situation that isn’t true, like ‘i’m not good enough’ or the opposite, pride.
When our emotions motivate us either to love and help others, or turn to God, and we fully understand and believe His love for us, how much favour we have, and how good and perfect His plan is to prosper us, we are then free. Free to love, free from fear, and free to be happy for the success of others.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.