Have you ever thought about how many things you manage in a day? It’s overwhelming. From a home and yard, to your budget. You manage health, weight, and wise shopping for food. How about keeping everything clean, fixed, ready to use? You manage your career, family, friendships. Even time-off needs management for constructive fun and rest. And – seriously – all your techie stuff needs managing. (Have you noticed?!) Computers, phones, devices, apps for everything you can imagine. There’s another thing you need to manage to have an Alive and Active Life. You need to manage your feelings.
Manage Feelings: A Bit Like Technology
There’s a reason this title was chosen for this material. You and I both know that computers have no feelings. And we know the human heart can never be truly compared to devices. Still, there are enough similarities in management of both, that it’s worth a look. Yes, you can manage your feelings – and it’s a bit like managing your technology paraphernalia.
Things change so fast now. Last month’s smart phone is outdated – pressure to upgrade. Remember those blue internet cables? Now we are wireless. We once used a mouse to pull down electronic files (with a tail that plugged into your computer). Now we touch the screen and “finger place” a file where we want it. Coming: virtual surround computer screens to flip files and components everywhere while you stand in the middle as manager – you know, like Iron Man/Tony Stark.
Our world is fast-paced and increasingly self-oriented. Consider – I-pad. I-phone. I want. I deserve. My life. My space. Then there’s My pictures. My cart. And My preferences.
Self is gaining control. So – you need to manage all that!
Feelings And Techie Stuff
In a self-driven environment, it is challenging to understand feelings and what function God intended for them. Folks are so used to getting what they want, getting it fast (or faster), and instant connections.
Let’s look at some interesting comparisons between your feelings and your techie stuff. Then we’ll ask some good questions. First, some comparisons.
- Your mind and heart keep track of a lot more information than your techie stuff! Your feelings are among those files you continually track. If you were to suddenly delete all feeling files, your computer would probably crash. It would go into “shut-down” mode. Its internal drive would be bare, boring, and lack “color” as well as hefty power. You wouldn’t be able to connect to “reality internet.”
- Your feelings are like website side bars or pop-ups. You choose if and when you will click on them. Then there’s favorites. Frequented bookmarks. Shortcuts. Maybe there are some you are almost addicted to.
- How deep in your documents do you bury your feelings? I’m talking about those times you know something’s brewing inside you, but it’s too hard to figure out. Sometimes you may think it’s safer to not know. But not knowing creates problems in you and with others.
- Sometimes your feelings get stuck – they just keep cycling (while that frustrating little circle lets you know it is still processing). You need to reboot, refresh, delete, reformat, or even defrag.
- Does your operating system allow new apps or updates so you can get current with skills to manage your feelings?
- What kind of operating system do you have? Are you up and running with a competitive new system, or do you have a dinosaur?
- Are you part of a network? Shared security, domain space, hardware, and devices that promote healthy communication and relationships? Have you joined “the cloud” in your life interactions?
- How often do you find yourself compartmentalizing your feelings because it’s easier than dealing with them?
- Copy and paste. Ever find yourself doing that? You are required to provide a certain demeanor or disposition, so you copy and paste feelings to comply with the demand.
- Do you value your feelings enough to do a back up with data that defines, processes, and brings better function? Or are you afraid to keep a copy? Maybe you usually just delete your feelings instead of managing them.
Just like you work on your techie stuff a lot, you need to work on your feelings. However, just like the systems, safe guards, and sound technologies of your devices, your feelings need structure, order, processing, and a place to park.
The files and functions of your device do not have random control. If they did, your device would no longer be a resource to you. It would be an undependable risk. However, because your device functions are skillfully crafted and integrated, require time for downloads, provide monitoring for security threats, and often need maintenance updates, they stay under your control. If you do all this for your technology, doesn’t it make sense to do the same for your feelings?
Just like the apps, programs, and operating systems of your device don’t get random expression, neither should your feelings. But you need to know them. They are “granted access” and monitored for proper function. If something doesn’t comply with an Alive and Active Life, it should be reformatted or deleted. In other words, behind all the expressive resources of your techie stuff, there is an intelligent, orderly plan. Parameters of proper function. Protocols. Do your feelings deserve less?
Your feelings are very helpful resources, but they require an intelligent, orderly plan of management. You need parameters for proper function, and protocols. If they go “hay-wire,” you need to perform a virus check. Feelings are not evil. It’s how you implement, express, and apply them that determines morality. How you act on them. What you do next.
Feelings are indicator lights that help you know what’s going on inside. So your feelings are valuable. You need to engage them under supervision of your mind. Awareness is key. Your mind creates gates and compartments to help you manage feelings better. The best mind to manage feelings is the one saturated with God’s wisdom. Is there any doubt why you should fill your mind with truth from Scripture and pour your heart into prayer? Your mind and heart help transform you to be a healthier person. (Rom. 12:2)
Human feelings are so powerful. Many feelings are simply beautiful, delightful. And some are down-right scary. All feelings have definite affect on a person’s countenance. Because there is such an array of feelings, it’s critical to not act on feelings, alone. They need to go through a kind of sieve or grid to help determine the best way to manage them. In fact such a tool should provide measurement of both your feelings and your thoughts. I have just the tool to help.
The Thought And Feeling Grid
There is a tool in Scripture that is brilliant for sorting thoughts and feelings. That doesn’t mean it immediately places them or solves the issues surrounding them. Rather, it gives direction in defining and knowing how to respond. Then it helps you know whether your management should involve various actions. Honestly? Some feelings and thoughts would best end up in the trash can outside your heart and mind. Most of them, however, need to be tended to in some manner.
Here is the grid from Phil. 4:8-9. I use this so often, and I recommend it to you.
– think about such things. (This includes how you think about your feelings – those indicator lights.)
Then it goes on to address observations of others. This is the part of the tool that helps to look at good modeling. We’re talking about modeling you might receive from someone else, or the modeling you might provide for another person. It says –
- Heard from me.
- Seen in me.
– put it into practice. Keep in mind: your example person must walk in God’s ways to be a good one. And you must walk in God’s ways to be a good example to someone else.
There’s a guarantee for thoughts and feelings you put through the Phil. 4 grid. “The God of peace will be with you.” This is also in that passage.
Peace Comes As You Manage Feelings
Do you want to live in peace? In these fast-changing times, unpredictable and undependable, you need inner peace. True peace comes only from Jesus. He trains us to manage feelings, as complicated and demanding as they may be. The deep mysterious nature of people Jesus created is far beyond the capacity of your techie stuff. Your nature is part of what makes you so precious to God, created in His image. This means God has feelings, too.
- Be “looking to Jesus, the Founder and Perfecter of our faith.” (Heb. 12:2) Jesus will provide wisdom as you use the grid to manage feelings. Why not embrace your feelings with wisdom, creativity, and problem-solving skills? Don’t be afraid.
- Feelings use up lots of hard drive space. So have ample storage. Give them space. Set up a docking bay with flash drives handy. Download the Phil. 4 grid app in your brain to sort and filter. In other words – use God’s Word to manage your feelings.
- The more techie you become in handling your feelings, the more effectively you will manage them.
Why not be all God created you to be? Pull some of your knowledge and intelligent design in operating and maintaining your techie stuff and download those skills and objective problem-solving tools into managing the depths off your spirit. You are valuable. You matter. And God thinks you are worth investing in. Why not stay current?
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