Since emotions alert us to values, it is easy to get the two confused. It’s easy to tie them together and treat our emotions as our values. But they are not the same.
Godly values are rooted in faith. Faith that what God says is true. When our emotions flare, they are to be listened to but not obeyed. Emotions are like an alarm. They tell us we need to act. But prior to taking action, we need to seek knowledge, in self-control, with diligence. So we can act in love.
Acknowledge emotions when they ignite. And then seek knowledge. Investigate. Why are the emotions flaring? What value has been triggered? Is that value virtuous or self-seeking? Be willing to wait on the Lord. Ask God to help the self-examination.
Only after this process should we decide what to do. Emotions demand action. Godliness demands we persevere in first seeking knowledge rooted in faith before we act.
Our actions should be driven by carefully considered choices.
We can remember this approach with the acronym LID. “Put a “LID” on emotions.” (Not to suppress emotion, but to remember the approach.)
Emotions are God’s gift. They tell us when action is needed. But freedom is an even greater gift. God has granted us the power to choose our perspective as well as our actions. Let’s LID our emotions. Listen: never suppress. They provide important content. Then investigate: seek knowledge through God’s guidance. Then, and only then, decide what action to take. When we use this approach, we allow God to direct us from a foundation of faith and love.
“… giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
– 2 Peter 1:5-8