Sometimes I just can’t help but think it’s so interesting the way God created us. Our bodies, our minds ~ we are such intricate, creative beings and the complexities of how those inner workings weave together to produce personality and temperament often baffles me.
The brain is a mighty organ. Three pounds of matter physically controls every thought, movement, action and reaction we ever make. One thing that I find extremely interesting is that we are essentially hardwired to think emotionally and sensationally. Yes, ladies and gentleman alike. 🙂 The limbic system (also called the pleasure center of the brain) is the go to spot when we’re reacting without thinking (i.e. you’re hiking in the woods and come across a giant grizzly – limbic system says, “run like hell!”). It also happens to be one of the more dominant portions of the brain. In contrast, the prefrontal cortex (and yes, I DO realize I’m going all “Bill Nye the Science Guy” today) is like the brain’s organization system. It takes in all the important information and makes decisions based on all factors involved – timeliness, importance, emotions, environment, etc., etc. However, this part of our brain is that last to develop and the least easily to engage. If we’re not consciously activating the prefrontal cortex, the limbic system is having a heyday.
Maybe that’s why emotions can be such scary – run as fast as possible in the other direction – elements of life. They’re automatic and WE like to control (ok, well I do). After all, we can put a thought out of our mind ~ but we can’t wish or act away an emotion.
I wonder what our brain looked like prior to the fall of humankind? I like to think that the limbic system was huge and towered over the prefrontal cortex even more than it does now. Why? Because we didn’t want or need to control anything then ~ God was the sustainer and perfector of life and His providence wasn’t just evident it simply was. Of course, it still is, but we are so quick to fall into the trap of fear that things will spiral out of control should we let our emotions take over, that we try our hardest to live logically, calculating risks and benefits, in order to determine with absolute precision what is right. We asked for knowledge…and we got it!
Yet, God calls us to live with emotion. We are to shower kindness and compassion, safeguard our anger (notice there is no place that says to not be angry), display deep longing and desire, express sorrow, crave peace and comfort, and cry out with joy. And given that we are created in His image, I have to think this is how we should be living more often. Not to say that assessing facts and weighing choices are not valuable actions, but I think they steadily strip away our ability to let go and let God.
So, the challenge is to not just live with emotion but to step out in faith and release the reins of emotion in order to live authentically and develop a deeper trust in God’s ability to care for us.
Rejoice in the fact that you’re not the Scarecrow.