I LOVE shopping for TVs. The newest “4K Ultra HD Awesome Sauce TV” in the showroom get’s my heart pounding and I can see my life being better with it in my living room. This is going to solve ALL my problems… right here!
Of course, it won’t solve all my problems. The good feelings of “wow” wear off quickly with me and gadgets pretty quickly – within just a couple of weeks, the TV would just be another thing in my house that I enjoy, but no nearly as much as I thought I would.
This happens to me all the time. Not always when I’m shopping for stuff – but in other areas of life too.
Haven’t you ever heard something and thought it was the answer to all your questions… only to try and reflect on it later and it really didn’t answer all of your questions, as a matter of fact it answered none of them. It was SO INSPIRATIONAL in the moment… but failed to hold that same power after a short period of time.
As a pastor, I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve talked with someone AFTER a Sunday morning message, or a counseling session, or just after we’ve talked casually about questions that they have. They will say things like:
“It made so much sense on Sunday, but now….”
“I total thought I understood that when we were in your office, but then I woke up this morning and…”
“I went to go tell my wife that thing you said the other day at breakfast, but when I went to repeat it I couldn’t really remember…”
I’m not a brain scientist, but I do believe that our mind plays tricks on us.
Whenever I hear something inspirational or challenging from another leader I’m reading or listening to – my brain yells “YES – THAT’S IT!” Then, weeks later, I go back to my notes a week later and I can barely comprehend what they were talking about. It doesn’t even seem to TOUCH the issues I’m facing and hardly answers my deepest questions at all.
So… what does all this mean? Why does something sound better in the moment… look better in the store.
I’m convinced that we are ALWAYS looking for a way to RESOLVE THE TENSION in us. No matter what. Every unanswered question, every unresolved feeling of not knowing or having the right thing, and every unmet desire – our hearts and minds are always looking to RESOLVE THAT TENSION. So our mind and our emotions play tricks on us.
We take ONE THING we see or hear, and our minds help us imagine all the ways that will RESOLVE whatever TENSION we are dealing with. Our hearts convince us that we will FEEL complete and even better if we just DO THIS!
This is why we cannot always trust our own instincts. Our minds will trick us, our hearts will deceive us because they are relentless in their pursuit to move us into tension-less lives.
One scripture verse that I come back to often is Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:5-6
Solomon (the wisest man who ever lived) was careful to understand the POWER OF TENSION and the deception of our own understanding. He knew that we needed something more than our “GUT INSTINCTS” to lead us on the right paths.
When people give me advice to trust my gut… I think about how wrong my gut is most of the time. My gut is tied to the “lizard brain” (Seth Godin) that is filled with fear and self-preservation. Solomon says, Trust in the Lord with all of your heart (mind, feelings, spirit) and He will point us down the correct path to take.
I’m not saying – DON’T BUY THAT TV, nor am I saying that sometimes when someone says something that resonates with you that you should immediately cast it aside as a lie. I’m saying that our initial reaction needs to always be TESTED to make sure that it’s valid. To confirm if it’s God directing us, or if it’s our own understanding trying to resolve the tension in our hearts and lives.
Remember… things always look better in the store!
When was the last time you had an experience like this? Was it God directing you or was it your heart and mind working to temporarily resolve a tension in your life?