Relationships are hard, and trusting the Lord with them is rarely easy.
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. I contemplated divorce, even knowing that wasn’t the answer. I didn’t want to stay, but at the same time I didn’t want to leave.
I felt trapped. Alone.
This brief story from my life relates just one time when despair threatened to overwhelm me. When emotions could have determined my choices.
When I could have easily followed my heart right out of my marriage.
Emotions and Relationships
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, but that’s dangerous advice. Emotions are not the perfect guide, and the Bible counsels that the heart is deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9).
Acting on Feelings
Psychologists and other such experts will tell you that if you act upon a feeling, that feeling can become truth for you, even if it is not, in fact, truth.
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 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. She leaped to the conclusion that I was avoiding her and therefore began avoiding me.
Feelings Don’t Have to Be True to End Up Being True
But the benefits of this is worth considering: if you act like a feeling is true, it will become true.
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 But God Offers a Better Way
So we must recognize that emotions can control us. Limit us in negative ways or urge us to overcome in positive ways. They can fill us with unnecessary worry, hurt, and confusion, or spur us on to increasing trust, faith, and love.
Because of this confusion, we must take the time to discover what God wants from us. We must:
- renew our minds with God’s Word
- ask God to reveal truth
- and talk with those spiritually mature believers around us to confirm or dispel what we’re thinking.
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.
Choose Trusting the Lord Over Feelings
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.