Belief Is Necessary

I am a questioner. I test everything I see or hear. It isn’t a bad thing and scripture even says we should do this (1 Thessalonians 5:21, 1 John 4:1), but sometimes this questioning leaves me feeling unsure about things. I get stuck on things because I cannot test them accurately. This isn’t an easy place to stay and if you’ve experienced it, you know it starts to deteriorate your faith and hope in life.

There are so many theories about life and why people are the way they are, what makes people do this or that, and so on. One of my favorite theories is Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Theory. It is the theory that says no one is just “dumb” and that we all have a different area of intelligence. Some people may be spatially intelligent, others intrapersonal, and so on. I have written about it before here and it looks like this:

But what do we do with this? It’s great information and makes me feel hopeful and interested momentarily..but if I can’t test it and make it fit in some perfect, unquestionable box, I can’t logically claim it is true. What about God? I can’t see Him, but when I think about His design and the words, characters, teachings, and stories in the Bible, I feel inspired all over again. What do I do with that, too? Is He true? The same scriptures that helped me be wise have now become my Achilles heel because I’m trying to apply it to everything in life.

There has to be balance and that balance is faith. We have to make the choice to believe in something. Without belief we stay put. We cannot waste our life chasing perfect accuracy in every topic that comes. That’s what the journey of life is about. Faith will take you here and there but all along the way you will be obtaining real life experience. That experience will be the true testing that brings accuracy and satisfaction. Test things to an extent but make sure you are not stuck doing so.

Controlling Your Emotions

There is no question that emotions are one of the strongest drivers in our lives. They often dictate what we eat, where we go, what we give, how we talk, and the list goes on. Our emotions do us a lot of good. They tap into our emotional and social intelligence and let us know how we should respond to certain things. So you don’t want to just ignore your emotions often. A lot of damage can occur to your own spirit and also to your relationships if you do ignore your emotions out of balance.

While there is a need to follow these emotions in most cases, there are also times when you should not let them dictate your behavior. Something a little sturdier and well-tested should drive instead. One situation that comes to mind is self-doubt. This self-doubt takes more forms than a chameleon: toward yourself, in your relationships, your job..In these times, you should make the determination in your spirit for yourself, and then follow through regardless of how you feel.

In yesterday’s post, I shared a part of my story about getting tattooed. One path of self doubt that took me on was insecurity in career growth. My tattoos are easily covered, but part of me felt like a fraud in my business leadership role at work. I felt I had to hide a piece of me. My emotions led me many times to think, no believe, that I wasn’t worthy of my job and that I would not go further. Hopelessness and anxiety start to set in, and suddenly I’m angry at my friends, my own family, the world. I start hating myself. I’m scared. Enter reasoning.

Using Reasoning to Control Emotions

Reasoning is almost the opposite of emotions. Your emotions drive your behavior like this: “I feel this. You will think and believe this.” Reasoning drives our behavior like this: “If this is true, then this must also be true. Is that true?” It can tame your inaccurate (at times) emotions and puts you back in control. Let’s apply my tattoo story to this. My anxious behavior literally led me to these conversations with myself. Call me crazy but I love myself and was willing to do whatever I could to regain confidence and control:

“If my (coverable) tattoos are the reason I won’t move forward in my career, then those who are successful found success because they don’t have tattoos. Is that true? It can’t be!”

Nope. It’s not true. So where does that leave me? It leads me up. My emotions held me back here but reasoning a little bit tells me those emotions didn’t give me the whole picture. The reason successful people are successful is because of something deeper. They all have their own hiccups along the way but what drives them where they want to be is what is in them. It’s their motivation, it’s their skill, it’s their abilities. It’s their spirit. This ties into this post about choosing the right spirit.

What emotion can you test today like I did above? What kind of hope would be restored in you if you didn’t have to carry that fear anymore?