| Written By: Dewey Wilson, Ph.D.
Have you ever noticed how frustrated you become when you consistently allow your actions to follow your feelings? You know, like not getting out of bed because you don’t “feel” like it, even though you know there are many things you need to get done. Or, you stopped extending blessings to your spouse because you don’t “feel” like blessing them any more. Or maybe, your feeling of love for your spouse seems to have faded in recent years and now you're simply living together separate.
Most of us agree that it's typically easier to feel our way into a action. Yet, in reality, our feelings will often mislead us into wrong beliefs, which then often motivate us into wrong actions or no action at all. While believing we are actually in control, sadly it's only a delusion. Real control comes when right actions follow sound beliefs, regardless of emotions.
Some of you might be saying, “Dewey, you obviously don’t live in my world,” and you would be correct. However, God reminds us in Hebrews 11:6 that He rewards those who demonstrate faith and diligently seek after Him. That said, here are a few things that can help a person learn to act their way into feeling instead of feeling their way into an action:
1. Like the church at Ephesus in Revelation, Chapter 2, it's important to remember from where you have come. For example, remember those things you once did in your marriage that caused you and your spouse to become closer and brought joy to your relationship.
2. Be willing to act on those things you remember even though you don’t feel like it or think that your efforts will go unnoticed. While it will be difficult at first, when you act in faith, believing your actions please God, eventually feelings of security, confidence and even love will follow.
3. Recognize there are times when you confuse thoughts with emotions. We often say things like, “I feel like they don’t care," or, "I feel it doesn’t matter what I do,” when in reality we often believe they don’t care or we believe it doesn’t matter. Therefore, those beliefs tend to leave us feeling rejected or hurt, so out of defense, we choose to exert little or no energy to do anything that could possibly result in something positive.
4. Have a game plan. Prepare your responses long before you are required to respond. You know your history. Consider the times that didn’t turn out so favorably and determine in your mind to demonstrate a positive attitude, desiring to please God. Then, trust Him for the results.
5. Ask God for strength to persevere in difficult times.
Changing your actions will eventually change your feelings. Give it a real heartfelt effort and then see what happens. You might be pleasantly surprised.