The clip below, from The Iron Lady, is spoken in a political context. But I couldn’t help thinking that if I thought more than I felt in relationships, it would be for the better. Not to feel less, but to have that feeling governed by thought: to feel pity, then think what I can do to help; to feel irritation in a disagreement, then think of a solution; to feel hurt at an insult, then think of how to help the other person; to be grateful for kindness, then think of ways to encourage.
But this principle would also help my spiritual life: feeling thankful, then thinking of specific things to thank God for in prayer; feeling fearful, then thinking of God’s promises; feeling tempted, then thinking of how God always provides a way of escape; feeling weary of the race, then thinking of the prize, and of Christ who already endured and overcame (Heb. 12:1-3).
Instead of being ruled by my emotions, I can be governed by biblical thought. Instead of reacting, I can act. When our feelings are directed, channeled, and governed by the Word and prayer, they are far less likely to mislead us, and instead can be used for God’s glory and others’ blessing.
Now, sometimes, all we can do as creatures is cry out to God, either in joy or pain. There are times when we cannot think, the emotion is so powerful. Thinking isn’t a cure for everything. But having feelings governed by thought, especially as we relate to others, is a head start.