Follow Your Heart. Or Not.

Relationships are hard.

One devastating time in my marriage is crystal clear in my memory. My husband hadn’t slept in two days because of an undiagnosed medical issue and was highly irritable. We fought, and he raced off on his motorcycle.

I ran to our room, sat on the edge of the bed, and sobbed. Contemplating divorce, yet knowing that wasn’t the answer. Not wanting to stay, but at the same time not wanting to leave. I felt trapped. Alone.

Proverbs 3:5-6This brief excerpt from The Warrior’s Bride relates just one time when despair threatened, when emotions could have determined my choices.

When I could have easily followed my heart right out of my marriage.

Emotions are funny things. They surge to the surface without effort and can control us if we aren’t careful. Many people advise you to follow your heart, as if our emotions are the perfect guide, yet the Bible says the heart is deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9).

We know that if you act upon a feeling, that feeling can become truth, even if it is not. I think about one friend who asked me one day if I was mad at her. She’d been avoiding me for weeks convinced that I no longer wanted anything to do with her simply because I’d been too busy one day to spend time with her. She’d taken my busyness that one morning as an indication that she’d done something to upset me and, therefore, I was avoiding her.

I also know that if you act like a feeling is true, it will become true for you. I think of couples who were no longer “in love” that began to put great effort into their relationship again only to emerge in greater love than ever before.

Emotions can control us. Limit us. Fill us with unnecessary worry, hurt, and confusion. Instead, we can find freedom by renewing our minds, by asking God to reveal truth, and by talking with those around us to confirm or dispel fears and hurts.

Sure, that can be scary. But imagine the possibilities if my husband and I hadn’t fought through the emotion. Imagine if we’d let the hurts and fears continue to control us instead of allowing God to deal with our hearts, and then help us come back together.

I’m not suggesting this is easy. But it is a choice that we make each time emotion threatens to guide us. Instead of following your heart, follow the Bible’s guidelines as put forth in Proverbs 3:5-6.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Which part of this is hardest for you? Controlling your emotions? Or trusting God when you don’t like your path?

 

 

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