Can you remember a time when you had a really strong thought? You know, it was just a great thought, a brilliant contemplation.
We’ve all had a few, but can you remember them? Can you remember the time and place?
Now think of a time when you had a really strong emotion.
When we experience deep feelings, we remember it keenly. We remember who was involved and the circumstances around it.
See, there’s just something more powerful about emotional moments that make them stick in our memory.
Why is it that I don’t remember any great thoughts from kindergarten, even though there must have been a hundred ah-hah! moments? But what do I remember? Feeling embarrassed when I fell down on the playground and tore a small hole in the knee of my pants. I remember standing in line to go back into the school, hoping no one noticed. I remember sitting at my little desk, putting my hand over my knee to cover it up.
In first grade I don’t remember any great thoughts, though there must have been some. But I remember clearly the teacher leaving the room and telling no one to leave their seats. I remember a friend asking to see some pictures I had brought from our
I’ve called my wife thousands of times, so why do I remember the first one so well? Certainly not because it was so intellectually stimulating. I probably sounded like a nitwit.
No, I remember it so well because it was charged with emotion. It’s the emotional days that get the big red X on our calendar of memories.
Here is one of my favorite quotes. A lady named Merle Shain wrote, “We tend to think of the rational as a higher order, but it is the emotional that marks our lives.”
I only remember one spelling word from all my grade school years: reign, as in r-e-i-g-n.
See, I loved spelling bees, and I especially loved winning spelling bees. I loved dividing the class into two teams, and the competition and the thrill of victory.
And I’ll never forget the day I got “reign” as a spelling word, and I spelled it r-a-i-n, even though the teacher clearly said, “used to control a horse.” The blood drained from my face. I remember going to recess, completely deflated. I remember standing in line for the slide, climbing the steps and sliding down, still kicking myself for misspelling reign.
Out of all the spelling words I’ve had in my life, why on earth do I remember that one so well? Because of the emotions. See how it works? Emotion marks our lives.
Now…we tend to think of emotions as capricious. They flit about and we have little control over them.
What I’m not getting ready to say is that we need to put the clamps on our emotions. But I do think we can control our emotions, and here’s how.
I think we get emotional over what we invest in. The deeper we invest ourselves into something, the deeper our emotions run.
I heard Dr. James Dobson talking about his mother on the radio, and he basically said she died of grief after his father passed away. She had invested herself so deeply into that one man, that when he died, it broke her emotional bank.
Why do some parents take it so hard when their children move out and they have an empty nest? It’s because they have invested so much in those children.
Why did some men kill themselves after the stock market crash in 1929? Because they had not only invested their money, but even their life in the stock market, and when it crashed, they crashed.
So how can we make our emotions more stable? By investing ourselves in things that are stable. And the most stable thing of all is God. When we invest in our relationship with God, we are investing in someone who will never leave us or forsake us.*
When an investment goes well, it brings joy and peace. And listen brothers and sisters, our investment in the Lord always goes well!
Some people’s emotions ride on the fortunes of their favorite team. Not a good investment, since everyone loses more championships than they win.
I told my daughter last night, “In the end, it’s just you and God. So anything you can do to build that relationship is a good thing.”
So here’s my three point summary:
1. Emotion marks our lives.
2. Emotions follow what we invest in.
3. The best investment is in the Lord.
* Hebrews 13:5
(As heard on Wave 94.1 FM)