The Space Between Emotion and Action

Emotions are the voice of the spirit. They are morally neutral. Regardless of what we’ve been taught, every feeling is allowed and accepted by God (Heb 4:15, Eccl. 3:1-10). Jesus embraces our humanity (Heb. 4:16).

God is not surprised by our emotions (Col. 1:16, Prov. 16:4). He created them!

Important it is to acknowledge and tend to our emotions. They reveal pertinent information about soul needs and blockages.

We can feel anything. It’s what we do as a result of a feeling that can lead to trouble.

In learning to manage emotions, we can allow ourselves to become familiar with the space between emotion and action. In other words, we can seek to pause in the feeling before reacting to it.

Seek and you will find (Matt. 7:7).

Finding the space between emotion and action grants us more choices in how to respond. Finding the space can help put us in the driver’s seat of our behavior. Finding the space allows us to navigate life, decisions and relationships with greater self-control.

Self-control is a good thing. Self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23).

We may struggle to find that space when we react to emotions automatically. In our speedy patterns, we compress the space between the emotion and the action so that we don’t notice it hiding there.

But it’s still there. What if we slowed down and allowed ourselves to feel without reacting so quickly (Gal. 2:21)? As we choose to practice this, the space grows. And grows. The more it grows, the more choices we enjoy.

When we’ve repeated a pattern for years, before it recurs we can acknowledge our right to choose a different outcome, and then in detail imagine ourselves doing something helpful instead of repeating the pattern. The mental image we conger paves a new path in the brain for new action in response to old emotion. New territory!

“Be angry and do not sin.” Here, in Ephesians 4:26 we see that it’s okay to be angry. Yes, it is. And we also observe in the rest of the verse the space between the emotion and the action, “…and do not sin.”

“Be angry…”  We feel the anger. We remember our automatic pattern. We take a deep breath and seek to find the space between the emotion and the action.  Now in the space, we decide if we want to repeat the pattern or plow some new territory. It’s our choice.

Let’s plow new territory! The LORD is into territory, especially the new territory of freedom He has given you in Christ (Gal. 5:13). It’s already yours. Take it! Ask Him to show you how, and then pay close attention to His lessons personally designed for you. When you ask in faith with a teachable and attentive heart, He will deliver and reward.

Even without accessing it, just knowing that the space is there opens the door for you.

“…and do not sin.” We don’t have to repeat the pattern, now do we (Gal. 2:21)?

The Scripture says we have a choice. God will enable us as we submit to Him. He is for us!

Feel the emotion. Find the space. Take the territory.

It’s already yours.

Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-10 There is a season (a time appointed) for everything and a time for every delight and event or purpose under heaven—

A time to be born and a time to die;

A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.

A time to kill and a time to heal;
A time to tear down and a time to build up.

A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance.

A time to throw away stones and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing.

A time to search and a time to give up as lost;
A time to keep and a time to throw away.

A time to [a]tear apart and a time to sew together;
A time to keep silent and a time to speak.

A time to love and a time to hate;
A time for war and a time for peace.

What profit is there for the worker from that in which he labors? 10 I have seen the task which God has given to the sons of men with which to occupy themselves.

Hebrews 4:16 Therefore let us [with privilege] approach the throne of grace [that is, the throne of God’s gracious favor] with confidence and without fear, so that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find [His amazing] grace to help in time of need [an appropriate blessing, coming just at the right moment].

Ephesians 1:3, 7-8a Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ…In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.

Isaiah 43:19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

Isaiah 40:28-29 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.

Colossians 1:16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.

Proverbs 16:4 The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.”

Colossians 3:10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

Galatians 5:13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free.

Galatians 2: 21 I do not ignore or nullify the [gracious gift of the] grace of God [His amazing, unmerited favor], for if righteousness comes through [observing] the Law, then Christ died needlessly. [His suffering and death would have had no purpose whatsoever.]”

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About ashleydwille

Author Ashley D. Wille was always searching for spiritual answers. “True and lasting satisfaction always proved just out of reach. Now, in midlife, I have come to find my soul satiated in God. Through sweet surprises, difficult climbs, and excruciating valleys, the Master’s hand has shaped me. All along the way, God has taught me many things. What He has taught me most is that many of my beliefs about Him were wrong.” Her book, My Journey Through the Cross, is a personal insight shared by an amazing woman. Through her profound experiences and inner struggles, Wille shows how she was able to break through false layers of thinking and move into a deeper relationship with God. Her beautiful journey is just waiting to be shared. If you are ready to live your life free of guilt and shame, you too can learn how to walk in spiritual freedom.
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