I woke up this past Tuesday with a smile on my face. I looked over at my sleeping husband and silently thanked God for blessing me with such a faithful, loving, and godly man. This day was a special day. It was our 8th wedding anniversary. For some couples that may seem like a short amount of time, but for us, it feels pretty long. In fact, long enough to celebrate and get really excited about!
Marriage has been a wonderful gift for Zack and me, but as I look back on the past 8 years, I can’t help but laugh a little. We’ve come a long way. Both of us. God has used our marriage to expose our weaknesses, our sin, and our selfishness. And as a result, He’s grown us in painfully good ways. Zack and I aren’t the same people we were when we got married. We’re more mature. More stable. More self-sacrificial. More Christ-centered.
Although we’ve come a long way, the journey is far from over.
We still have a lot of growing and learning to do. I still find myself slipping back into familiar sin patterns. I still find myself falling prey to the same selfish heart in new ways. I still find myself giving into frustration and anger rather than showing patience and kindness.
This ongoing struggle has made one thing very clear. I desperately need Jesus. I need His strength and power every single day. I need His grace every single hour. I need His wisdom from His word to help me pursue truth instead of falling prey to lies. If there’s one area of my life that has remained an especially hard fight, it’s the battle with my emotions.
My emotions have been my downfall in marriage more times than I can count.
Rather than being lead by truth, love, and selflessness, my emotions will often rush in like a tidal wave and I’ll find myself riding the ups and downs. Rather than basing my hope and joy in the Lord, I’ll find myself anchoring my joy on how I “feel.” Rather than giving my husband the benefit of the doubt, I’ll often follow my emotions down an accusatory path.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about my own heart over these past 8 years of marriage, it’s this: My emotions can’t be trusted to lead me toward biblical truth.
Just because I “feel” something doesn’t automatically make it right. Just because I’m emotionally stirred up about something doesn’t mean I should follow those feelings. In fact, I’ve learned that strong and passionate feelings can often be very wrong and sinful. Now, this doesn’t mean all emotions are bad. God gave us emotions and many emotions are good! But what I’m talking about here are the emotions that are fueled by sinful desires.
So, instead of blindly following my emotions wherever the waves take me, God has been helping me see a very important truth:
I must choose to be a wife who chases truth rather than follows her emotions.
Instead of jumping on board with the feelings of the moment, I need to stop, pause, and ask myself if what I’m feeling is true, godly, pure, and Christlike. Instead of foolishly walking forward in the flesh, I need to humbly ask God to help me walk in the spirit.
Over the past 8 years, Galatians 5:16-24 has been hugely helpful for my heart in this area. This passage has reminded me over and over again what the truth is when my emotions feel overwhelming. Take a moment to read this passage carefully:
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
Little words like idolatry, enmity, strife, fits of anger, and divisions get me to the core.
When I blindly follow my emotions, these fleshly responses often spring out of my heart. That is what happens when my flesh runs the show. But on the flipside, when I take a moment to pause and ask God to help me chase truth instead of my emotions, the Holy Spirit gives me the strength to walk in the spirit which drastically alters my outward response. I am able to override my “feelings” and respond with kindness, patience, gentleness, and self-control.
Choosing to chase truth instead of following my emotions has been a game changer for me in my marriage. Instead of assuming the worst about my husband, I’m able to respond with patience and hear him out. Instead of giving into anger when my expectations aren’t met, I’m able to respond with kindness and self-control. Instead of becoming divisive when we disagree, I’m able to pursue peace by remembering that we’re on the same team.
Chasing truth by walking in the spirit changes everything. I’m still growing in this and I have a long way to go, but God has been so faithful to help me walk in the spirit. If you’re someone who tends to fall prey to your emotions like me, I can’t encourage you enough to take this area of your life seriously. Trust me, it doesn’t go away after marriage. I encourage you to use Galatians 5:16-24 as a tool to memorize and meditate on when you’re feeling emotionally driven.
Pray and ask God to help you walk in the spirit instead of your emotions.
Also, whether you’re single or married, you have an amazing opportunity to learn how to chase truth in every area of your life this coming August. The theme of the 2019 Girl Defined Conference is called “Chasing Truth: Being a Girl Who Fearlessly Pursues God’s Word.” We still have some tickets available and it’s not too late to join us in San Antonio on August 2-3, 2019. This could be a life-changing conference for you! Click here for more details. I hope you’ll join us!
Now, I’d love to hear from you below:
- On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being the highest), how often do you find yourself driven by your emotions rather than truth?
- In what situations do you find it hardest to chase truth rather than follow your emotions?