It's Not All Your Brain's Fault
Updated: Jan 20, 2021
I don't abide by everything in my psychology course, but here's a fun fact (at least as I understand it): between ages 15 and 25, the limbic system of the human brain is maturing more rapidly than surrounding sections. The result? Until roughly age 25, we tend to be ruled by our emotions.
I don't know about you guys, but I'm pretty sure Mr. Psychologist is talking about me.
What rules you? Is it your goals? Your logic? Your morals? Your personality?
Or is it your emotions? Those transient feelings that come and go but leave such an enormous impact behind them?
When I look at the choices I've made in the past few years and how they've affected me personally, I can see emotional dominance in so many aspects of my life—but especially in the things I choose not to do. Like all of us, I experience many emotions in day to day life that all impact my decision-making, but do you know which one is proving the most crippling to me as a writer, as a person, as a child of God?
Even if I reach a decision based on conviction and judgment, a moment of insecurity and despondency and FEAR packs enough punch to dismantle it all, if I let it. Fear keeps me from pushing my limits to try new things. Fear keeps me from trusting my friendships. Fear keeps me from being open about mistakes I've made or struggles I'm facing. Fear keeps me from striving for a goal because I'll never reach it anyway, it'll be so very hard, life will be simpler if I just don't, so I guess I just . . . won't.
I give my feelings a lot of power. Maybe you do, too, in which case, something is out of balance. When did what we feel become the be-all-end-all? When did what is right give way to what is pleasant, and when did what is wrong become synonymous with what is difficult or scary?
We have a purpose in this life that is objective—above and beyond anything we happen to feel at a given moment. Maybe one of the best examples of this is in the book of Ecclesiastes—a 12-chapter melange of cynicism and despondency and some of the bleakest emotions known to man, all culminating in a shining truth that renders all that negative brain-activity moot.
"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man." ~Ecclesiastes 12:13
Solomon was facing a dark period when he wrote the book of Ecclesiastes, and we've all been to that dark place. We've all wallowed there for a while, felt it sap the verve out of us, leaving us drained and lost. But at some point, we have to wake up, like Solomon did. At some point, we have to look at our feelings—even the ugly ones—and realize that emotions do not determine our reality. That regardless of how we feel about a certain task or struggle or experience, there is an objective reality, an objective authority above those emotions, and that is what should rule us. Or rather, Who should rule us.
God gives each of us a tailor-made purpose to glorify Him with the abilities we have. Maybe you know exactly what those abilities are, but your emotions are getting in the way, stopping you from doing what you can and should do for God. I understand that. I do. Fear has more power in my life than I ever meant to give it. But ultimately, God is higher. God is greater. And it's not all your brain's fault—you have some control. You can choose, after a time of fear or doubt, to lay those feelings in God's hands, and ask for the emotional strength to walk the road before you.
Let's hear the conclusion of the whole matter, shall we?
No matter what we feel, God is our ultimate ruler. He is calling us into His service, and He will supply us with everything we need to be victorious, even over the emotions telling us otherwise.
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