Proper Mindset




Emotions Respond To What We Are Thinking

When someone is depressed, we say he has an emotional problem. But emotional problems, except in severe cases of physical abnormality, are caused by improper thinking. Emotions are only responders and have no intellect or intelligence of their own. They cannot distinguish between fantasy and reality or past, present, and future. They merely respond predictably to whatever we are putting in our minds. People watching a horror movie experience fear even knowing there is no real monster in their room. If they know there is no reality to what they’re experiencing, why do they feel fear? Because they are thinking frightening thoughts. Whatever we put in our minds determines our emotions. If we think of a sad situation, we’ll feel sad. If we think of an angering situation, we’ll feel anger. These things are true regardless of the reality of the thought. The same principles hold true regarding the past or future. Our minds can instantly recall a past situation-for example, an insult. Pondering that will produce an emotion of anger just as real as when the insult first occurred. Once we are in the grip of an emotion, such as anger, we often begin fantasizing and projecting into the future as well.

Our thought processes go something like this: “That bum insulted me” (anger). “Come to think of it, he insulted me last week too” (past thinking, more anger). “As a matter of fact, he’s always treated me that way!” (beginning to fantasize, more anger) “Everybody treats me like dirt” (fantasizing, anger, self-pity). “People will always treat me like nothing” (jump to future, fantasizing, self anger, pity) Sustained thinking like this will produce depression. What began as an isolated response in anger has become a state of anger as the mind continues to ponder the insult, remember the past, and project it into fantasies of the future.

“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by Him we cry, “Abba, Father.” (Rom 8:15)

God did not create man with the ability to live in guilt or anxiety, but to deal with reality which can be found only in the present. For this reason, Jesus said, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matt. 6:34).


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Randy Chambliss
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