Just consider the roller-coaster ride of emotions we can experience in the course of a single week (or, for some of us, a single day): anger, love, frustration, joy, sorrow, annoyance, irritation, fear, anxiety, peace, satisfaction, exultation, discouragement, happiness, fulfillment, dissatisfaction, anticipation. The list could go on. I’ve met some even-keeled women over the years, and I used to chalk it up to natural-born temperament. Over time, however, I’ve come to see that such equilibrium has as much to do with maturity as it does with birth.
We are quick to blame our circumstances or our hormones for our mood swings, and there is no doubt that the stresses of life and body do have a significant impact on how we feel. Nevertheless, we don’t have to be—nor should we allow ourselves to be—victimized by our feelings. The wild fluctuation of our hormones at certain times may challenge our tolerance of others or depress our outlook, but nowhere does the Bible give us a hormonal pass on the call to kindness, patience, contentment, joy, and love. Instead of being victimized by what provokes negative emotions, we can view the provocations the way Paul viewed his thorn in the flesh. If God doesn’t remove the thorn as a result of our pleading, we have an opportunity to experience Christ’s sufficiency in the midst of it.
Of course, none of us is ever going to master our emotions completely. For one thing, God didn’t create us to be robots. He designed us to feel the ups and the downs. Additionally, it is often the down times and our wrestlings in them that produce the most spiritual fruit. Therefore, wise women don’t debunk their feelings; rather, they take charge of them. Elisabeth Elliot advises:
Do not try to fortify yourself against emotions. Recognize them; name them, if that helps; and then lay them open before the Lord for His training of your responses. The discipline of emotions is the training of responses.
This “training of responses” is how wisdom is lived out and how we become characterized as women of wisdom. We can summarize the wisdom of emotional restraint as “giving free reign to emotions only to the extent that doing so brings no harm to people or dishonor to God’s name.”
Adapted from A Woman's Wisdom: How the Book of Proverbs Speaks to Everything by Lydia Brownback.
God created us as thinking and feeling creatures, and therefore both are part of being made in his image, therefore both thoughts and feelings are vital components of true faith.
Our desires—the things we want—tend to govern our lives and our choices. For that reason, it is important that our desires get formed in a biblical mold.