We’ve torn through Christmas. Hugged our visitors goodbye. Sighed at the pile of work to tackle in the holiday’s wake.
The New Year began clearing its throat yesterday. Reminding us of its imminent spot on the calendar. The time to sift memories and set goals arrives in a few short days. Ominous shadows loom over our hearts as we approach the turn of time.
Human nature often defaults to the negatives. We remember bad memories longer. Insecurity oppresses our dreams. When New Year’s Eve tasks us to form resolutions, regret and anxiety surge to the forefront of our minds.
We glance back at the past with a longing to change it. Rue sags on our shoulders, as if our holiday vests turn to lead.
I shouldn’t have …
If only … hadn’t happened.
On the other side of regret, we shiver on the threshold of tomorrow. Anxiety clouds our view of the future. We fail to see assurance, security, or hope.
How will I … ?
What if … ?
Fear could cripple us from rooting ourselves in the needed faith to set and persevere toward goals. If we let it take the wheel instead of remaining in the back seat. The key to managing a negative emotion lies in making sure it works for you instead of the other way around.
Allowing emotion to govern your future creates enslavement instead of benefit. While feelings sometimes provide helpful input, they remain unreliable and are easily warped by other issues. Sleep quality, health, and an incalculable list of other things can influence your mood. One day you’ll be peaceful, and the day after Italian sausage night you’re angry with the world. Letting your feelings direct your life creates misery and disaster. And it’s as backward as a warning flag waving a man.
God ordained the heart as an important part of the human soul. Emotions aren’t inherently evil, nor do they exist by mistake. By original design, even unpleasant triggers serve a purpose. Negative feelings warn or deter us like emotional red flags. Regret helps us remember what NOT to do. Fear gives us reason to hesitate before rushing into an ill-planned activity. When we harness the benefits of regret and fear, they can help us move forward.
The mind and spirit can work together in the role of command, taking counsel from emotions. Guided by the Holy Spirit, thoughts serve as the best leaders to control and direct life. The secret to managing emotions is to use your thoughts to align your perspective, make decisions, and direct your will. The best life comes from shaping prayerfully considered plans and pressing through emotional resistance to accomplish your divine purpose.
When emotions get the upper hand, life feels overwhelming and we don’t want to move forward. Taking charge of fear and regret might seem daunting for those who feel subdued by their control. But, hope remains in close reach. There are small steps to get started toward the short term goal of managing fear and regret, which empowers us to see dreams as possibilities. Today’s discussion has been a brief introduction to this new paradigm. We’ll look at these concepts in greater depth next week.