Jesus said to him, “I AM the way, and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by Me.
If we are choosing to thrive in all circumstances, then we have to be careful of our emotions and feelings. There are many examples. Impulse buys are generally based on feelings. People buy things impulsively based on a feeling that they must have something, regardless of what it costs. We’ve all done this. We’ve all bought something without thinking that we either overpaid for, or regretted buying or didn’t use. Sometimes impulse buys can put us in significant debt.
People say things impulsively. And many times, they regret what they said because it hurt someone else, or came back to make them look bad. Things said impulsively have ruined friendships and have cost jobs.
People do things impulsively. It might be an aggressive move while driving that results in an accident. It might be an aggressive move on the athletic field that results in injury. It might be giving in while being egged on to do something stupid that has a bad result. It might be impulsively looking at our phones or watching a TV show and we end up not getting our work done.
Jesus makes the point many times that we should lead with truth, not with feelings. The world today seems to be encouraging us to lead with feelings. If we feel like looking at our phone, go for it, regardless if we are being paid to work. If we feel like staying out late, you only live once, don’t worry that you might be late for work or school. If you feel like buying something you can’t afford, just use a credit card and worry about it later.
Truth tells us to go to bed at a reasonable hour so we can be where we are supposed to be on time. Truth tells us to be cautious in life. Yes, we only live once but we also only get one life, and one body to live it in. Truth tells us not to buy what we can’t afford.
Many times, our failure to thrive in a circumstance is because we lead with feelings, rather than with truth. Jesus does not tell us that truth is easy. It’s much easier to go with impulse than with discipline. It is much easier to go with impulse than with patience. If we are choosing to thrive in our circumstances, then we need to lead with truth, not with feelings.
Like many people, I have a long commute to work. And on this particular day that I’m writing this message, it took me 100 minutes from the time I left home to drop our son at school and get to work. It took 70 minutes to drive 12 miles from his school to my office, that’s how bad traffic was. We’ve all been there. We’re mad at the traffic, mad at the drivers, mad at the circumstance that has made us late, mad at the time we’ve lost. And what is the result of being mad? It is very easy to become mad at everyone we encounter on a particular day. It’s like we almost become “toxic”, dangerous to be around. On days when I feel this way, I work extra hard to guard my mouth, so as not to say anything in the heat of anger. After all, people who I encounter today have nothing to do with my commute situation. I focus on truth—God still loves me. I still have value. My life isn’t over. And in a few weeks, (and probably a few days) I won’t remember the stress of this morning. Also on days like today, I pray extra hard for patience. I remember the verse of Psalm 141:3, which says “Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord, keep watch over the door of my lips!” On a day when I feel toxic, I lean on truth and not on feelings because, as Christ says, “The truth will make you free,” (John 8:32) whereas on a day like today (and many other days), my feelings will get me in trouble. For this and so many other reasons, we need to lead with truth and not with feelings. Because feelings come and go, one can feel joyful one day and toxic the next. Truth is a choice, so is love, kindness and patience. We can lead with these things no matter how we feel. And the world would certainly be a much better place if we led with truth rather than with feelings.
Lord, thank You for the gift of a new day. This day may bring good feelings or it may bring bad ones. Guard my mind and my mouth, so that I do not let feelings negatively impact decisions and relationships. Help me to lead with truth—with patience, kindness and love. Give me patience with the ill feelings of others. Heal my heart and soul and mind of toxic feelings. Help me to honor You in all I do and say today. Amen.
Choose to thrive by leading with truth (and watching out for negative feelings) today!