Emotions are powerful signals. When we’re trying to understand something or make a decision, our emotions can help us determine whether our conclusions are valid. For example, when we think about something that contradicts our values, our emotions will tell us it is bad. When we think about something that could hurt us, our emotions will tell us it isn’t a good idea. Simply imagining what might happen triggers emotions that can help us make better decisions.
This speaks directly to the universal law of cause and effect—for every action there is a reaction or response. The energy of our intentions flows outward, affecting many other people. Therefore we need to speak, think, and behave with great thoughtfulness and compassion. We need to say what we mean and mean what we say with firmness and love.
When emotions are used as social signals, they help people decide how to behave toward each other. This is generally very useful. If someone is looking angry, approaching him for a favor might not be a good idea. If he is looking afraid, perhaps he needs help. We generally wear our hearts on our sleeves. Our inner emotions are often displayed on our outer bodies. Our faces, in particular, have around 90 muscles, 30 of which have the sole purpose of signaling emotions to other people, such as anger, sadness, fear, and joy.
Viewing our emotions as signals from God can be a powerful tool in helping us to understand what is going on inside of us.
In essence, emotions keep us alive. That doesn’t mean we’re alive because we have emotions. We’re alive because God created us. God is the author of life and the Creator of our emotions. We are born with God-given emotional needs for love, significance, and security, and God can help us understand and calm our emotions. The Bible says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations” ( Jeremiah 1:5).
Excerpt from Setting Boundaries for Women, (c) 2013, Harvest House, Eugene, Oregon