BOOTCAMP EMOTIONS (Part 3): Practical Ways To Guard Your Heart Against Emotional Entanglements (1)

(1) Invite God In – From The Beginning:

Usually, before you become emotionally attached – before a person gets past your walls and into your heart – you know. There’s an awareness. It might be gradual or swift, but you know there’s ‘something’ going on.

At that point of awareness, most people don’t think, “Caution”. Instead, they open their gates by trying to get closer to the person – without letting God in, first. They usually drag Him in after they have been emotionally joined, or had their hearts broken, or issues have arisen.

Four reasons why people don’t let God in from that starting point of awareness is:

(i)Ignorance: Some people are genuinely unaware that you can tell God, “I am starting to like this person.” or “I’m really attracted to this person.” They cannot imagine bringing God into emotional issues of the heart. It doesn’t seem ‘spiritual.’

If that is you, it is very ‘spiritual’ to tell God you ‘like’ a person.

(ii)Guilt: Usually, when this is the case, the person you are beginning to have feelings for is ‘wrong’ – which means attached or an unbeliever, if you are single; or someone other than your spouse, if you are married.

Because you know you shouldn’t be having feelings for these people, you don’t invite God into your emotions…

…which is a very big mistake.

One of the biggest lies the enemy tells is, “You cannot go into God’s presence like this.” So we try to clean up our acts before going in – and eventually don’t come in at all – when it is in His presence you get cleaned and given the power to break free and live above sin.

It is especially when you find yourself having feelings for the ‘wrong’ person that you bring them to God – except you enjoy having those feelings. Which leads me to my next point:

(iii)Being In Love With ‘Love: (I really hope I will be able to articulate this point properly.) One reason many people get emotionally entangled is the pleasure they get, not necessarily from the person – but from the feeling.

There’s something about a person making your heart jump; a chemistry sizzling between two people – even if they don’t do anything or verbally acknowledge it; that man-woman awareness that is pleasurable – and deceptive.

Usually, it is not the person. It is the feeling.

Many people don’t involve God or guard their hearts when they start experiencing these feelings because they enjoy them. After all, they are not sinning.

If God were to tell you, “Let me take away these feelings and thoughts so that this person becomes like a sister or brother?” – and you realise you are reluctant to let those feelings go, you are in love with ‘love’. It’s not about the person.

Soon, the unchecked feelings escalate and the individual is firmly entrenched in your heart – and you ‘convince’ yourself that you ‘love’ this person.

(iv)Lack of Trust/Fear: Before I knew better, I used to be afraid that God would give you someone you didn’t really like as His ‘perfect will’. So, the more I liked you, the farther away I kept God out of it and didn’t talk to Him about it.

But with time, I realised that God knew me better than I did; He knew these people better than I did; He knew the end of the relationship better than I did; and, more importantly, God loved me better than I loved myself.

Same for you too.

It just makes ‘better commonsense’ to involve Him from the very beginning – and save yourself much trouble.

Therefore, immediately your heart begins to sense an ‘awareness’ or ‘liking’, start talking to God about it. Sometimes, the feelings disappear as soon as you mention them; sometimes they linger – then slowly disappear; sometimes they transform ino a deeper, richer, more brotherly/sisterly affection; and in some strange cases, they turn into revulsion and disgust.

However, once you involve God, you are ‘safe.’

Even if the feelings get really intense – yet nothing comes out of it in the end – it wouldn’t devastate you as it would have done without Him.

Involve God from the very beginning. It’s the smartest thing to do.

(2) Know Yourself:
This, for me, is extremely important. How well do you know yourself – spiritually, emotionally, and otherwise?

If you don’t have a sense of identity or purpose, you would need to get it from God. When He fills you with a sense of who you are and gives you a sense of direction about where you are going, you will understand that certain feelings, behaviours – or people – do not fit in with that identity.

Emotionally – and in other ways – what triggers you? What are your likes and dislikes? What kind of man/woman triggers you physically, emotionally, mentally – even spiritually? What kind of person do you find yourself getting attracted to – or easily irritable with? When are you most likely to be emotionally vulnerable?

Spiritually, do you have a revelation of your identity in Christ? Do you have an idea of where your purpose-path leads? Do you have an idea of your role in the Body?

An awareness of yourself is one powerful way to guard your heart. Because you know yourself and your triggers, it’s easy to be on guard once someone approaches your gate – or your wall is getting weakened.

Awareness also causes you to recognise and understand recurring patterns: why certain kinds of people seem to bring out the best in you – and others seem to bring out the worst; why you ‘gel’ with others more than others; why some relationships are smooth-sailing and others are rocky.

For Christian singles, I think a lack of awareness of themselves as individuals – as well as a skewed understanding of ‘God’s Will’ – has caused many to be emotionally defenceless and easily swayed.

Many believe that God’s will can be anybody, as long as the person is Christian. So, you have to be ‘open’, because that person – whom you might have nothing in common with, who is going down a different purpose-path from yours, and who always grates you the wrong way – might be The One.

So, this wrong belief – coupled with a lack of identity or purpose – causes them to open up their emotional gates to everyone who approaches because “He/She might be The One.”

Newsflash. You cannot marry every Christian.

Know who you are and where you are going, so that when you meet a person and you discern they are on a different path, you aren’t emotionally involved – and your gates remain intact. Even if they are on the same path of purpose, your sense of identity keeps you safe.

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