Temporary or Permanent?
Valentine’s day is almost two weeks in the past. It was a quiet one for me maybe because I’ve come to realise that the expression of love should be an every-day occurrence. I’m not knocking those of you who have celebrated in big or small ways. It’s your prerogative to do so, and I hope you celebrated in a wholesome and memorable way.
Here is my concern from what I have observed. Many persons allow the emotions of the day to drive the decisions that they make. They go out and spend money that they don’t have, to impress their significant other and others. Buying gifts for persons who are not mutually invested – just for the day. Other persons make life-changing decisions on that day as they get caught up in their feelings. My question is, what happens when the feelings pass?
And herein lies the crux of the matter. At best, emotions are temporary. They pass. They change. Nevertheless, they were given to us as part of our souls’ makeup, so that we can experience life here on earth. God in his wisdom breathe His life into us and we became living souls so that we can think, will and emote. It would have been impossible for him to develop a relationship with a robot because robots cannot feel. Therefore, feelings are good, but they must be managed.
Events and the emotions that they create have made photography a billion dollar business. Why? Because emotions are fleeting and we need something tangible that at a moment’s notice, would conjure up a memory and the associated feelings. We take snapshots of especially happy moments so that we will never forget. But what about the not-so-great moments and the corresponding emotions?
Man was created tripartite meaning we are spirit, soul and body. As spirit beings, we are charged with the responsibility to govern our emotions. Spirit is higher than emotions. Emotions are generated from the soul. Spirit is eternal. Emotions are temporary. The soulish part of man must come into subjection to the spirit for man to truly experience a victorious life.
For example, continuing in the vein of the Valentine’s Day experience:
- Emotions will say, being with this person makes me feel good. I will let them know how much I love them by ‘going all the way with them’ (becoming physically intimate). They will love me back. They will be faithful to me. They will marry me.
- Spirit says, be careful. This person hasn’t made a commitment to you. This individual is another person’s husband or wife, or in the case of a married person with a single paramour, that is not the person you covenanted with at the alter. Being with them is wrong on all counts. If they loved you, they wouldn’t ask or expect you to do something that will sear your soul. If you loved them you wouldn’t ask them to devalue or defile their temple just to satisfy your lustful desires.
Many persons are experiencing painful disappointments today because they made decisions that produced permanent consequences based on a passing emotion. I predict that there will be many babies born in November to persons who are not ready for parenthood, because they got caught up in the euphoria of a moment.
Governing the emotions is not easy because most people live out of their souls. They are driven by their intellect, their will, and their emotions. Never mind there is another voice that they hear, quietly saying, stop, slow down, rethink that decision. Because the Spirit of God does not shout, a person who is not intentionally sensitive to Him will not realise when He is speaking to them. He is always speaking, but because of our ignorance or arrogance, and the feeling that we don’t need His help to do life, we don’t hear Him.
We only hear Him and seek for Him when we’ve come to the end of ourselves. When we run aground on the rocks of life. When we tap out on our human wisdom. It is only then that we seek Him out. Thank God that He is merciful, loving and patient as written in Jeremiah 29:13, And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
God is waiting for you to realise that you cannot successfully do life without Him. Navigating life and making the right decisions will require you to build your spirit man. This in turn will call for you to develop a relationship with the One who knows you better than you know yourself, and who knows your end from your beginning.
For many years I allowed my emotions to run my life. Whatever I felt I acted upon until I was functioning in a space devoid of joy and fulfillment. As a matter of fact, I thought that my happiness could be derived from my relationship with others. Therefore, when things went wrong in those relationships, producing emotions that were as unstable as a deck of cards, I would crash and have tremendous difficulty getting back on an even keel. This almost destroyed me until one day when I came to the end of myself and cried out to God for help.
My encounter with God came about because when I became engulfed by pain and disappointment, I decided to leave my comfort zone and strike out on my own. It was in that place of unfamiliarity and aloneness that God began restructuring my intellect, my will and especially my emotions. It only happened because I wanted to experience change. I wanted to have His joy in my life that would drive my purpose and my relationship with others. For one year God worked on me, with me. And this is what that looked like.
- Deep introspection – why am I the way that I am? Why am I on this hamster wheel of hurt and disappointment, with no obvious end in sight? How can I get from where I am to where I need to be?
- Personal prayer/corporate prayer – There is nothing like spending time with God where He can show you where you are going wrong and what you need to do to make things right. You may not be open to all He will say, but it would be in your best interest to at least listen and try to execute His instructions. Additionally, nothing is more comforting and motivating than when others agree to join with you to petition God on your behalf. There is nothing more powerful and effective than that, much like on the day of Pentecost, when the disciples came together in one place with one mind, God the Holy Spirit showed up and changed their lives forever. I am a witness that unity in prayer works. (Matthew 18:20; Acts 2)
- Fasting – In order to subdue your soul-ish man in a way that brings it into alignment with the spirit, you must stop feeding it – physically and spiritually, which will of course also affect your body. That is what fasting does. It’s a retreat from and purging of the things that separates you from God, and a filling up on the spiritual things that will bring light and life into your life.
- Fellowship with persons of like mind who wants to see you grow and develop into the best version of yourself. This is very important. Every rehabilitation model that I have looked at practices this. My mom had a couple of sayings – you are known by the company you keep; birds of a feather flock together; familiarity breeds contempt. They are all saying the same thing. If you want to know who a person is, look at their company. This applies to your getting better as well. You must fellowship with those persons who have your best interest at heart. Persons who have gone through similar experiences and who are standing victoriously on the other side, actively trying to stay there. Those are the persons that you want to hang with.
Today, I continue to work on becoming the best version of myself, and I am in a good place. I don’t allow my husband to get me off my crease of peace, and he, being even more protective of his peace, will not allow me to get him off his crease. I am even more adamant that not another human will get me off my crease of peace either.
The Bible said in Romans 12:18 (ASV), If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. It is possible once the Spirit of God is in control of your life. As I said before, any human that causes me to want to emote in the wrong way, I will remove myself as much as possible from their sphere of influence and keep it moving. My peace is that important to me.
As you get older, maintaining your peace is paramount and to do that you must be in control of your emotions. Don’t tell me that this person made you do this or that. You are not a robot. Control yourself. He who causes you to emote in a self-destructive way, controls you.
There are certain emotions that we default to when we feel threatened, afraid or when good things happen to us. How have they affected your life and relationships so far? Is there anything that you would like to change about how you react to the stimuli in your life? These are questions that are worth thinking about as you daily strive to become a better version of yourself. Emotions are temporary at best. Manage them so that you make the best possible decisions going forward. Shalom!