Have I told you about the time I went to the conference where everyone cried? When I say everyone, I mean EVERYONE!
It was a few years ago at a friend’s church in town. I eagerly agreed to go. The speaker was an author of a bible study the ladies of the church did together. Because of all the great things I heard about her, I was excited to attend the event.
We walked into the auditorium and looked around. There were a few seats in the front row available and we snatched them up before anyone else could. “If she speaks like she writes we’re in for a real treat,” one of the ladies said.
All during worship I could hardly wait for them to bring on the speaker. What would she talk about? God’s purpose for our lives? How to be a Proverbs 31 woman? How to be secure in Christ?
The expectation was killing all of us.
When the speaker came on the stage and started speaking, she talked about her family, her children and all the great things happening in her life at the moment. I looked around at the other ladies in the room. They were all on the edge of their seats. I could tell they hung on her every word.
And as I waited intently to listen to what this speaker had to say, it wasn’t her words that opened my eyes. It was how the other ladies responded.
After about twenty minutes into the message I began to squirm in my seat. I wondered what the message was. There was no cracking open the bible. We didn’t reference any bible verse and talk about what God expects from a godly woman.
As I listened, I felt a sense of disappointment. She talked about her family and hardships. She talked about the pain of the past and mistakes made. But I didn’t understand how that all related to what God was trying to say to us.
I began to wonder what every other woman in that auditorium must have thought. Are they disappointed that we didn’t take out our note pads and write down the non-existent verses she embedded into the message? Were they confused at what she was trying to say? Are they scratching their heads like I am?
Just when I was about to look around and ask my friend if her writing matched her speaking, I heard a sniffle. Then I heard another, and another. I looked behind me and women were crying. I looked to the left of me and they were dabbing their eyes with tissue. When I looked at my friend she said, “Isn’t she great” as she wiped away the mascara streaming down her cheeks.
I weakly replied the best way I knew how as not to offend, “Oh, yeah. Sure.” Then I left more confused than I came.
Do these women understand the difference between an emotionally charged event and a spiritual movement?
I’ve been to many, many women’s events. I grew up in church. I know a pep-talk or motivational speech when I hear one. The problem is that many people don’t. We cling to the words of people who move our emotions and we walk away thinking they somehow brought us to a life-changing decision. That’s not true.
It’s no secret that women are better at expressing our emotions than men. We verbalize how we feel with much more ease and we allow ourselves to feel more freely. But there is also a danger in confusing an emotional high with a life changing experience.
Just because you cried, doesn’t mean it was God.
Emotionally charged events are designed to make others think their life was changed in some way. Those are called pep-talks or motivational speeches. They get us fired up for a moment but once the feelings wear off we lose the motivation.
When God speaks it may move us tears. Actually, there are a lot of times God moves my emotions. But that’s that order it should be in. God moves and we respond; not the other way around.
The Truth About Emotions
What we have to remember about our emotions is that they can be deceiving. Emotions are given by God and they are meant to remind us that we are created in His likeness. God does not hide the fact that He has emotions too. He shows anger when He talks about His wrath (Deut 9:8). He shows joy when He dances over us with singing (Zeph 3:17). And He grieves when His people don’t follow His ways (Gen 6:6).
But, emotions should not control us. We have to control them. That’s so much easier said than done a lot of the time. Emotions are strong but they pass. That’s why they can be deceiving.
The real question is how to do we control our emotions instead of them controlling us? Galatians 5:16 says, “So I say, walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.”
The first step in making sure we are not led by our emotions is by being led by the Spirit of God. Even though God gives us permission to feel, He doesn’t give us permission to sin. The Spirit of God helps us bear the fruits of the Spirit which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. The fruits are what we should display at all times (although I know it’s hard), even during times of emotions.
How do you know if you’re being led by emotions?
I’m going to share three main ways you know you’re being led by your emotions. If you want to learn more about this topic, please listen to episode 12 of Her Faith Inspires: How not to be led by your emotions.
- Are your decisions based on how you feel or God’s leading? Sometimes it’s hard to know the difference. Always align your decisions and response to God’s word. I’ve had a recent situation with a friend who has hurt me. I’ve felt anger, sadness, frustration and ALL the things. But it doesn’t matter how I feel. Am I reacting and treating this person how God says I should in His word?
2. Are you easily swayed and persuaded when emotions are involved? Have you ever watched a sad commercial about animals and suddenly found yourself calling to donate money? Or have you been to an event where someone made a sales pitch about orphans in another country and you pledged money you didn’t have? Although those aren’t bad things, they swayed your emotions.
My motto is to never make a decision with tears running down my cheeks. If possible, I wait until the emotions have died down so I can make a sobering decision.
3) Do you spend time in the word and pray about your emotions? Be honest with God and tell Him how you feel. He knows anyway. And when we do, He helps us put everything back into perspective.
My challenge to you today is to answer the questions above and really be honest with yourself about your emotions. I encourage you to take it to the Lord and make sure you tell him how you feel and ask for His help to control your emotions so they don’t control you.
For more resources, click here. You can also get a free copy of lesson 5 from my new bible study #Boymom.