Many times, we don’t take time to slow down and reflect on what is happening. We just go along blindly letting our emotions take us captive. Take the following feelings and scenarios into consideration:
1. “I Don’t Feel Good Today So It’s Going to Be a Bad Day.”
Every morning we awake and make a choice. Whether we are mindful of it or not, we set the pace for the day. Unless we are intentional, we can easily hand off our day to our emotions. If you tell yourself it is going to be a bad day first thing in the morning, the result is a bad day.
2. “I Don’t Love Him Anymore.”
A couple married for three years sits in their living room at 10pm. He’s watching football. She’s folding laundry. She gazes over at his blank stare towards the glowing screen. Disheartened, she slips away to bed. She entertains the thought that he should know she is upset. She begins to believe that if he loved her he would follow her. She tells herself, “I don’t love him anymore”.
3. “I’m Just Living For the Weekend.” (Vacation, Next Year, When I’m Off From Work, etc.)
How about the man with piles of files on his desk, who tells himself ‘just four more days and I’m off’? His mind wanders off to what he hopes to do when he’s not at work. Many could probably relate to the person who can’t wait for the holidays, a vacation, or the day their new job starts—you get the idea.
The Feelings Junkie
If you identified with any of the above red flag comments, you may be a “feelings junkie”. This person may base his day, his relationship, and/or his life’s purpose on how he feels about it. His decisions are dictated by this feeling.
Take relationships, for instance. Neuroscience has revealed our brains react to infatuation like a drug. But like any drug, the high wears off. The infatuation phase of a relationship is merely a segment of time in the relationship. Does this mean that once the drug wears off you leave the relationship?
Ever grab a carton of Breyers when you’ve had a rough day? What does eating do for you? Does it make you feel better? Maybe while you are partaking of it. But oftentimes, overeating, which stemmed from seeking comfort, results in guilt. This resultant guilt leads to a vicious cycle, which is another article unto itself.
Do you look forward to that “time off”? There is nothing wrong with having plans. Everyone needs a break, BUT, if you make that “break” something at the forefront of your mind, you miss what is good in the here and now. The more you think about the future, the less you notice about the present. The less you notice about the present, the less gratitude you hold in your heart for what you currently have. The less gratitude you have, typically the more troubled you feel.
Like any habit that develops, it takes time to undo the routines that come with it. A common result of overcoming a drug or alcohol habit is to trade off the substance abuse or drinking with another unhealthy behavior such as work-aholism, over-exercising, etc. The recovering addict has stopped using, but has not overcome seeking out a “feeling” experience.
How Do We Overcome Being a Feelings Junkie?
Each of the red flag comments mentioned above has a core issue. The person involved is basing their thoughts and actions on a feeling. In Jeremiah 17: 9-10, the Lords says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind…” (NIV).
Instead of trusting a feeling from your heart, the Lord says, “Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit” (Jer. 17: 7-8 NIV).
We are not promised happiness. Happiness is not a biblical concept or guarantee. Happiness is a fleeting, transient emotion based on circumstances. Joy, however, is the outflow of an obedient spirit. Joy does not come from making checks off of a spiritual to-do list. Joy comes from a spirit of loving God obediently rather than performing acts of obedience. “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17 ESV).