Do You Believe that God’s Got Your Back?
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” – Isaiah 26:3
“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all of your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5-6
Emotional Intelligence in Christ requires a choice on our part to surrender our need to know and our need to be in control to God.
Our need to know why things happen as they do or our need to know how things will turn out in order to feel confident and safe is not of God, but of the world. Our ability to lead well, by managing our emotions and behaviors in a way that honors God in life, is in direct proportion to our choice to surrender to the leadership of the Holy Spirit within our mind, will and emotions, along with giving God the space for Him to lead us into mastery over our strong negative emotions and behaviors.
A question to explore is this: Do we give God the space to act on our behalf or do we micro-manage every detail in our life by our own efforts for fear of losing our ability to know and control how things will turn out?
Until we take a leap of faith into the unknown, similar to jumping out of an airplane and trusting in the parachute on our back to catch us, we will never enter into Jesus’ invitation to receive His peace: “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. 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. Jesus’ peace walks hand in hand with the thrill of the surrendered life.
Our need to be in control is a form of identity theft. The shiny objects that surround us have hijacked our attention so much so that our sense of identity has spilled into the objects around us (possessions, status, things). Similar to Tolkien’s (Lord of The Rings) intentional choice of name for the creature he called Gollum, which in Hebrew means the “unman,” who has lost himself in the fetish of the “shiny ring” that one feels they can’t live without. Too often we lose our identity in something outside of us thus rendering ourselves imprisoned by it, as we bump around the dark crevasses of our EGO: Edging God Out rather than in. We are held captive by the false belief that we are in control, when in fact, we are not.
As we cling tightly to things, we become imprisoned by attachment. An attachment is an emotional state of clinging due to the belief that without some “thing”, person, situation or outcome we cannot be happy, successful, feel safe or connected. These attachments prevent us from accessing emotional intelligence in Christ because our eyes have become fixed on something outside of ourselves rather than on the God’s power and peace that works within us that is able to accomplish abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).
Our need to be in control in order to feel safe is directly linked to original sin. The serpent’s initial lie to Eve then Adam was this: distrust in God’s ability to care for us resulting in the desire to take control of one’s life. We all know how that turned out. God always creates beautiful order, simply look at nature. Disorder, which results in chaos, occurs when we try to do for ourselves what only God can do and accomplish.
As we attempt to take control of our lives, as we struggle to figure out how things will turn out by planning and executing to the smallest detail for fear that we will not get what we want, it’s only a matter of time before the thin ice of human effort gives way to the cold waters of negative emotions and behaviors. Confidence and freedom are found through the faith to believe that God IS IN CONTROL: “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11
As we invite the Holy Spirit in on every occasion to do with us what is in accordance with God’s will for our lives, peace and confidence become our way. Our ability to manage our emotions and behaviors in a way that honors God by loving others well as Jesus did and does becomes accessible. Why? Because we fix our eyes not on our need to know and be in control, but on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). He IS Emotional Intelligence. Happiness, peace and purpose return as we anchor our identity in Christ, stop thinking about ourselves and focus our attention on loving God and serving people from the love and wisdom He places within our hearts. So let us embrace the power of John the Baptist’s prayer: “He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:30).