Probably one of my most repeated life principles is, “I don’t have to act the way I feel”. I also repeated it to my kids as they grew up more times than anybody could count, and I have repeated that phrase in my teaching and preaching ministry hundreds if not thousands of times. Our emotions are up and down, good and bad, strong and intense, and then no where to be found. We have little control over how we feel from one minute to the next, they are mostly the result of events, circumstances, and words. We can be feeling like a real winner and then as a result of someone’s comment can be in a major blue funk in the next minute. Our feelings are neither good or bad, they are automatic responses to life. We feel happy, angry, sad, depressed, confused, hurt, embarrassed, critical, and passionate. Allowing our emotions to be the dictator of our life is very foolish and immature. Acting the way we feel makes us a victim of life circumstances that we usually have little control over. People who act the way they feel have many strained relationships because they are not fun to be around, God doesn’t use them much to do anything significant or important because they can’t be trusted. But, that being said, it is very difficult not to act even a little bit the way we are feeling, especially when the emotion is strong. It takes great self-control to do the right thing, say the right thing, and even think the right thing when our emotions are pushing us to do the wrong thing. For me the key to staying in control in spite of raging emotions is to talk to myself in a wise way, in a way that persuades myself to be kind, talk nice, no anger, patient listening, and honoring to others. I have Bible verses memorized that I can meditate on that tremendously help in my self-talk. Some days I do pretty good and then other days I am continually doing and saying things that are provoked by my emotions. It is a daily battle and it is a battle I am committed to winning for the sake of my witness for Jesus and so my relationships will be healthy and growing in love.

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