By: Kris Reece, Counselor, Coach, Speaker
Each of us has an innate ability to sense danger and respond—otherwise known as the flight or fight response. Our decision to stay and fight or flee is based upon a very strong emotion—fear. This comes in handy when we are being chased by a lion or held up at gun point, but what happens when most of our life decisions are made in that fearful place?
It’s common to make decisions based on how you feel. You’ve heard other people—or have yourself—say things like, “I just felt like it,” or ,“ I feel like I should be doing…,” or ,“ I don’t feel like doing…”
Your emotions are great indicators for how you feel about something and can be used to help guide your decision making process, but using your emotions as the basis for decision-making leads to murky territory.
Why? Emotions are fickle. They can be a great guide but they can also be the very thing that leads you into traps and down paths that take years to recover from.
My least favorite saying is,, “Everything happens for a reason.” It is completely not true. Many people say it to feel better about a poor decision they’ve made. They use those words as an excuse to believe that it didn’t really matter what they decided—it would have turned out poorly regardless.
The problem with emotional decision-making is it has no benchmark, no standard by which to measure.
As I said earlier, feelings are fickle. That means they change, based upon many factors such as food, mood, alcohol and time of day. So if they are in constant flux–how can you be so sure your feelings are the best guide?
How many times have you made decisions, whether large or small, based on a feeling that you later regretted? This is the classic mark of a teenager! Nearly all their decisions are emotionally based, because of their immaturity and their lack of experience—they haven’t yet learned how to understand and work with their emotions.
There are many people out there who may have aged chronologically but are still stuck in their teenaged thinking and decision-making process.
How do you break free from emotionally-based decisions so that you can make choices you will be pleased with later?
There is one way to know for sure if decisions will end up satisfying you or slowing destroying you, no matter how strong your emotions get: Line it up with the word of God.
Check to see what God has to say about the choice your emotions are lobbying for. If it contradicts His word, you are headed for a world of hurt and disappointment. For example, If a gal is looking for a husband and she falls for someone who is not a strong believer in Christ, she is heading down a path that she will later regret. If she, like many women, simply go by her feelings than she will make a decision based upon the fact that her feelings are so strong that they must be right. This is wrong. She may “feel” strongly about this and even tell herself “I can’t help who I fall in love with” but if she is truly following God’s plan for her life she will see in 2 Corinthians 6:14 that God says do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. Our feelings can be so powerful that they lead us to believe that we are actually hearing from God. That’s why it’s so important to check your feelings against God’s word. God will NEVER go against His word.
If you can’t find a solid answer in God’s word, you need to cool your jets. Trust me, very few good decisions come from haste. If you hold off on making a decision because you are not sure whether it’s God’s will or not, I assure you, He will honor that and guide you in the right direction even if you missed it.
Don’t be hasty. Godly decisions come with peace and patience, rarely emotions.