Saturday, September 18, 2010

Where Emotions Come From

To someone who only believes in the physical world, emotions are chemical reactions in your body.  To someone who only believes in the spiritual world, emotions are the very soul of your being.  Where do emotions really come from?  Can we control them?

The truth is, you've never had an emotion that didn't start as a thought.  If you're sitting in the line at the drive-thru, you have the opportunity to choose whether you're going to be grumpy or cheerful.  What makes the difference?  Consider the following examples:

1. You look at your watch every five seconds, mentally counting how much time you could have saved by going inside to order your food.  The five cars in front of you don't seem interested in moving through in a timely manner, as do the fast food employees not appear to have any concept of the meaning of the term "FAST" food.  You begin wondering if they've already put your food in a bag; has it been sitting there getting cold this whole time?  Were the fries cold to begin with?  Did they forget the fries altogether?

2.  The line is taking longer today, but you left a little early to allow for error.  After all, those poor employees can't help it if the whole town shows up at their door step for lunch!  You pop in a CD to keep your mind occupied.  A butterfly floats around your car.  The car in front of you has a hilarious bumper sticker.  You're playing your favorite song.  Lunch sounds more and more delicious every moment!

So... in the first paragraph you're irritated and impatient, and in the second one you're happy and carefree.  The scenarios are exactly the same.  Why was #1 so different than #2?  The thoughts that flew around in your head changed everything.  If we are fully capable of choosing to be joyful, why don't we?  It is the same reason why we sin: we choose to.  It is only natural to be negative minded, which is why we need supernatural help to guide our thoughts.

Philippians 4:8 is a good place to start.  We're supposed to think upon things that are pure, honest, lovely, and of good report; else thoughts of selfishness, anger, and self-pity will flood our mind instead, creating emotions like unnecessary discouragement and bitterness.  The Word of God has the answer to the conflict within, and it begins with changing your mindset from life's unfairness to God's faithfulness.  Instead of looking earthward (horizontally), look heavenward (vertically).  You will be pleasantly surprised how much happier you will be by simply looking on the bright side.

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