“Things happen which would not happen without prayer. Let us not forget that.” ~Elisabeth Elliot

You Are NOT at the Mercy of Your Feelings!

Sunday Scripture

Autumn has landed in the Northern Hemisphere, and with this seasonal change comes early darkness, chilly mornings, and the subtle warning that winter is on its way. Of course there’s the compensatory aroma of apple pie and the eye-popping beauty of bright foliage, and the truth is, I have a choice to make every day (and in every season) as to whether I will see the positive or the negative aspects of that particular day. Will I choose to dwell on negative campaign ads, wildfires in the Pacific Northwest, and the parts of my schedule I can’t control– or will I hand my anxieties over to the God of the universe?

Paul calls this “bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,” and there’s more at stake here than just my mood. Eugene Peterson clarifies what’s happening at the cellular level. The goal for a believer’s manner of thinking is to fit “every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ.”

If this sounds impossible to you, then you’re on the right track. Paul was not a self-help guru, and, while he knew where his bootstraps were and could employ them as needed (and so should we!), nowhere in scripture do we get the message that Christianity is a self-improvement project.

What choices and decisions will you make today to employ the tools at your disposal so that God can bring your "every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ?"

The discipline of our mind, emotions, and will is just one battle in the believer’s ongoing warfare, and God has equipped us with weapons that are effective for that spiritual battle. For a comprehensive list of the armor of God, read Ephesians 6. Since Paul makes it clear that we are to actively engage in the battle for our minds, we’ll focus on the offensive weapons here today:

“The Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God” (Ephesians 6:17)

Paul warns us in the 2 Corinthians 10 passage that our weapons are radically different from the world’s. Regular doses of gospel truth are far more effective than pumpkin spice in getting us through the fall doldrums. The Son of God, in his time on earth, used scripture as a potent weapon against evil. I’ve written about spiritual disciplines and Bible reading routines elsewhere, but the point is to give the truth more room in your life than you are giving to the screaming banshees inside your head.

“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:18)

When the believer is at prayer, it looks as if there’s not a thing going on. I can pray quietly in a chair or while I’m washing dishes or driving a car, but in the unseen world, when I pray, I am getting more accomplished than at any other point in my day. (I have to preach this to myself on the regular!)

Our moments of prayer are life-altering. Elisabeth Elliot wrote at length about the paradox of prayer:

Things happen which would not happen without prayer. Let us not forget that.”

But we do forget.

“Things happen which would not happen without prayer. Let us not forget that.” ~Elisabeth Elliot

What choices and decisions will you make today to employ the tools at your disposal so that God can bring your “every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ?”

You are NOT at the mercy of your feelings!

The weapons are powerful, but we must choose to take them up and put them to use!

Praying for you today,

Michele Morin

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Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel and Patrick Fore on Unsplash

64 thoughts on “You Are NOT at the Mercy of Your Feelings!”

  1. I am so grateful we are not at the mercy of our feelings. God’s Word changes the way we think and thus, changes the way we feel. May we be committed to prayer throughout each day.

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  2. We are daily being barraged by negativity no matter where we look. Hard to find the positives, but they are there. As you say, the dwelling is not an answer. Remembering WWJD always helps. I find myself getting tripped up, but then I’m caught and think nope, not that road. It is hard some days to encourage positives, but feels much better when I let God lead.

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  3. Thank you! While I’ve taught and mentored others on the very things your post is about, I have floundered the past few weeks to live these principles. A crushing breach in a friendship I held dear has broken my heart. Unfortunately, as a pastor’s wife, this is not new to me. Sometimes it feels like my optimism about the goodness in people and my sensitive heart are a detriment rather than an asset when it comes to surviving ministry life. I’m getting out my Message Bible and digging in to 2 Corinthians 10 as soon as I sign off here. Thank you, again.

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    1. Oh, Elizabeth, my heart aches for you. I have such an appreciation for pastor’s wives and know that relationships are so complicated for you–and so precious when you find a good one. I’m sorry for this crushing loss. Trusting that truth will buoy you upward again, as I’m sure it has so often in the past, and that our good and merciful God will feel very close to you in the coming days.

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    1. It’s a startling truth, and probably not very popular, but I don’t think we have to deny our feelings or pretend they don’t exist. I heard someone say recently, “You don’t throw your feelings out of the car, but they also don’t get to drive!”

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  4. I love this: “Regular doses of gospel truth are far more effective than pumpkin spice in getting us through the fall doldrums.” I love your title, too. We don’t have to give in to besieging thoughts: we can fight back with God’s truth.

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  5. We do tend to forget the power of prayer, don’t we? Our pastor has been preaching from Philippians 4:8 all this month – setting our minds on all the lovely and excellent things of God keeps our focus on what is good instead of the chaos and uncertainty of the world. Goes along so well with what you’ve shared!

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  6. I especially loved your first paragraph, Michele. I need to save that one. We do have a choice to make every day, in fact, several times a day. I tend to get bogged down in worry. I need to turn it over to God and instead, concentrate on the wonders all around us.

    Your post reminds me once again of what may be my favorite sentence in the Bible from John 14: “I do not give to you as the world gives.”

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  7. Very well said and so true! “Things happen which would not happen without prayer. Let us not forget that.” I love this quote and am finding that I need reminders like this to pray more. Thank you for this reminder, and for the inspiration and motivation to keep reaching out to Him.

    Wishing you a fantastic Monday!

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  8. ********************************************************
    Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared. Have a lovely week. I hope to see you at next week’s party too! Please stay safe and healthy. Come party with us at Over The Moon! Catapult your content Over The Moon! @marilyn_lesniak @EclecticRedBarn
    ********************************************************

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  9. Elisabeth Elliot was a beautiful example of perseverance and grace in the Christian walk, Michele. Thank you for the reminder not to live solely by our feelings. Being an emotional person, I have to constantly reach out to the Savior asking Him for strength to lay those emotions aside and focus on His will and purpose. I’m so glad he is faithful in helping me grow stronger in Him. Be well, sister. Have a fantastic week, and God bless you and yours.

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  10. Michele,
    Love this line: “… when I pray, I am getting more accomplished than at any other point in my day. ” I need to preach that to myself often as well! My emotions tend to run amuck like crazed chickens in the barnyard, but I need to be diligent about taking them captive to the Lord and holding them up to the sword of God’s Truth.
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

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  11. This is such an appropriate reminder for this current time when I think many of us find our feelings are all over the place! And I’m glad it doesn’t depend on self-help!

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  12. “Regular doses of gospel truth are far more effective than pumpkin spice in getting us through the fall doldrums.” You made me smile and say AMEN with that statement, Michele! Thank you for your regular doses of gospel truth, including: “The weapons are powerful, but we must choose to take them up and put them to use.” AMEN to that too!

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  13. Such practical wisdom here…so glad you linked this up today. Somehow, I missed it earlier. I am always encouraged and instructed by your posts!! Thanks – and enjoy that apple pie:)

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  14. I should have read this a few days ago when my feelings were steeped in the overcast weather outside. Your practical wisdom is what is needed. Thank you, Michele!

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  15. I really appreciate this invitation to meaningful prayer and spiritual insight. Thank you Michele! I’m visiting today from the Tuesdays with a Twist link up. Have a beautiful day!

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  16. Not being locked into an emotion or thought is such a great comfort, especially when I get selfish and want God to change someone else! Thanks for the awesome post.

    It’s great to see you at ‘My Corner of the World’ this week!! Thanks for linking up.

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  17. This is definitely a topic we need every day, but most definitely in these days! Thanks for the encouragement to continue wrangling with our thought life to return again and again to the grace of Christ.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Emotions tend to get me into trouble. As I have heard it said, “emotions make terrible drivers.” God calls us to work hard and to stay alert. That means we need His direction and protection to do the work He calls us to.

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  19. A topic so near and dear to my heart – and I was talking to my over-dramatic teenager about the same thing at supper tonight! I pray she learns with less time and pain than I did. Thank you for this wonderful post

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  20. “give the truth more room in your life than you are giving to the screaming banshees inside your head” — oooh, that’s so good. I needed this today, and am glad I found your post from a mention at Barbara’s. Thank you for the encouragement!

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  21. So beautifully put. We do have the power within to choose to see the light, happiness and positivity around us each day, and try our best to embrace this. – We just have to remember to let the negatives wash away so they don’t cloud our judgement. Thank you for sharing your words over on the #DreamTeamLinky

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  22. Emotions can be overwhelming so a quiet voice of reason can guide us back to equilibrium. Thanks for linking up with #dreamteamlinky

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  23. Thanks so much for sharing with us at Farm Fresh Tuesdays Blog Hop! Your article is very timely and is one of my features at this week’s blog hop. Be sure to stop by!
    Melissa | Little Frugal Homestead

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  24. I love Philippians 4:6-7 I always seek the peace in verse 7, ‘Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.’
    It occurred to me recently that the biggest issue with maintaining peace is overthinking many issues. At this ripe old age, I am still learning to process quickly and dismiss issues so I am not at the mercy of feelings. “bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,” thanks, we always seem to need reminding 🙂
    We will feature your post in the next Blogger’s Pit Stop.
    Kathleen

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  25. Honestly, Michele, these days it’s easy to feel completely governed by my feelings! Thank you for the reminder that even in troubling times there’s a better way.

    Thank you so much for joining the Grace at Home party at Imparting Grace. I’m featuring you this week!

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