By Kris Reece, Author of Build a Beautiful Life Out of Broken Pieces
You’ve heard people say things like “I just felt like it,” or, “ I feel like I should be doing…,” or, “ I don’t feel like doing…”. Perhaps you even say these phrases yourself. It’s common to put feelings in the driver’s seat when it’s time to make a decision. In fact, it happens for a very good reason: the fight or flight response—your innate ability to sense danger and respond.
In stressful situations, your decision to stay and fight or to flee is based upon a very strong emotion—fear. This instinctual response comes in handy when you are being chased by a lion or held up at gunpoint, but what happens when most of your life decisions are based upon emotions?
Yes, emotions are great indicators of how you feel about something. They can even be used to help guide your decision-making process. But emotions are fickle. Meaning, they can also be the very thing that lead you into traps and down paths that take years to recover from.
One of my least favorite sayings is “Everything happens for a reason.” It is completely not true. Many people will say this to feel better about a poor decision they’ve made. It’s a way of letting themselves off the hook, but it also keeps them stuck in making poor choices.
The problem with deciding by emotion is that it gives you no benchmark, no standard by which to measure how successful or unsuccessful that decision was.
As I said earlier, feelings are fickle. That means they change. So if they constantly change based upon many factors (food, mood, alcohol, time of day), how can you consider feelings to be your best guide?
How many times have you made decisions, whether large or small, based upon a feeling that you later regretted? This is the classic mark of a teenager! Nearly all their decisions are emotionally based, and we know full well that teenagers have a lot of ideas, just not many good ones. Why? Because of their immaturity and lack of benchmarks.
But sadly there are far too many today who may have aged chronologically but are still stuck in making decisions like a teenager.
How do you break free from emotionally-based decisions to make ones that you will later be pleased with?
There is one way to know for sure if your emotionally-based decisions will end up satisfying you or slowing destroying you: Line it up with the Word of God.
That’s right—regardless how strong your emotions get, you can know whether the decision will be a beneficial one if it lines up with God’s word.
Let’s say, for example, that you want to make a decision based largely on how you feel. You may even pray over it and come up with the same answer (mainly because emotions can scream so loud that you think they must be right). Regardless of how strongly you fee, you need to check to see what God has to say about your situation. If it contradicts His word, you are headed for a world of hurt and disappointment.
If you can’t find a solid answer to your decision in God’s Word than 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.