We are emotional creatures, there’s no denying it and no need to apologize for it. Emotions are indicative of how we feel, happy, sad, overwhelmed, overjoyed, and so on. Emotions are not bad, they are simply part of being human.

In our humanity we can easily struggle with various addictions. We often think of these as physical, or chemical, however we can also become addicted to our emotions. Like any other addiction, our emotions can easily dictate our focus and knock us a little – and often a lot – out of phase.

The apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:26 “In your anger do not sin” (NIV). The charge here is not “don’t get angry”, but rather “don’t allow your anger to control you.” We don’t have to look very hard to find those whose emotions have knocked them out of phase; sometimes we only need to look in the mirror. It seems there is a lot that provokes emotion today. Someone uses the wrong word, votes for the wrong person, cuts you off in traffic, or posts the wrong thing on social media and suddenly someone is having a meltdown.

But, emotions are not limited to fits of rage or uncontrollable crocodile tears. Sometimes the emotions that can consume us are more chronic forms of sadness, disappointment, and regret. Throughout my life, there have been times when I have struggled with lingering disappointment and more short-lived bursts of anger. If we’re honest, probably everyone reading this would say the same thing. As I am literally processing these thoughts as I type, it seems that potentially it’s not our emotions that are out of phase but rather our expectations.

We often hear it said “life isn’t fair!” We can easily ask “Why did God let this happen?” And we can so quickly assume offense when someone is simply voicing their opinion or speaking out of ignorance or a lack of consideration, as if everyone should think and act in a way that meets or exceeds our expectations. We can also wrongly convince ourselves that because we try to do everything right we should somehow be exempt from struggles.

The reality is, however, that in this fallen world bad things happen. Jesus said that “rain falls on the just and the unjust” Matthew 5:45. But He also left us with this promise:

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

When our expectations are “in phase” I am realizing our emotions will be kept in check. It’s not that we won’t feel anger, disappointment or frustration, but that we will not be surprised when our expectations are not met or sidetracked by the emotions that will likely accompany our unrealized expectations.

I will leave you with this “Tomism” – One of my original quotes I sometimes use with those whom I coach, mentor, or teach is “always live expecting God to be at work in your life, but never live in such a way that you place expectations on how He chooses to do it.”

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