This article is part of a series called PARADIGMS OF POWER. These paradigms, or perspectives, are tools to be used as mental weapons in the battle against darkness. We have the power and privilege to Neutralize Negative Emotion, Expand Our Faith, and actually Become “One” with Christ. These tools can help us accomplish that objective.
Previous articles in this series: “Who Would You Be Without Fear?
This analogy is a mental line of demarcation, which divides good emotional environments from destructive ones. It is a mental visual tool that can help us to intentionally rise up from darkness into God’s presence.
“The fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith.”(Gal 5:22) These are “above the line” feelings that we all love to bask in. However, in the “roller coaster” of experience and emotion called life, we often find ourselves in a gloomy or frustrated world, and not even realize how we got there.
Thoughts over time become emotion. When we dabble in depressing, angry, or discouraging thoughts, we will eventually FEEL depressed, angry and discouraged.
What are you Feeling Right Now?
At any time we can know if we are above or below the line. Just go inward and be aware of what you are you feeling right now? Is it peace? Is it joy? If so you can know you’re above the line. If you’re feeling resentful, unhappy, fearful angry or annoyed, you can absolutely know that you are below the line, and that most of the time, you’re thoughts took you there.
Only when we are aware of the thoughts that we are thinking and the emotions that we are feeling, can we can learn to change them. When we consciously go from “below the line” to “above the line” emotion, it is actually a process of repentance. Jeffrey R. Holland taught, “You can change anything you want to change and you can do it very fast. That’s another satanic suckerpunch – that it takes years and years and eons of eternity to repent. It takes exactly as long to repent as it takes you to say, “I’ll change – and mean it.” (BYU devotional address. “For Times of Trouble” 18 Mar 1980.)Repentance is simply changing our direction and spiritual elevation. Any time we find ourselves in a dark emotional or spiritual place where we no longer feel the spirit, we can be certain it is time to move upward.
Fly Above the Storm
Those of you who have flown during a storm know what I mean. You can leave a dark, dismal airport and fly upward until you get above the storm. Up thousands of feet, the sun is shining and the sky is blue. It is magnificent! You are aware that only a few thousand feet below there is the dark storm, but it is no longer in your experience. We can choose to live above the storms that are determined to bring us down to their level. We can make our minds UP!
This is a paradigm that we can keep on the “desktop” of our minds. It can shape the way we view things, and will help our ability to be aware of our spiritual and emotional surroundings.
We are Responsible for Our Own Emotion
At any given time look inside and FEEL where you are emotionally. There is a large range of emotion, from the darkest dark upwards into bliss. Where are you at this moment? If you determine that you are below the line, do what it takes to move upward. It is important to realize that we are not merely victims. In most cases, it is our choice to descend, even though we like to feel otherwise. We are responsible for our own emotion, and blaming our circumstance or others for our negative feelings will not help us rise up and be who we are. It has to be our conscious and focused choice to move ourselves to higher ground, regardless of our circumstance. That is faith!
Whenever you walk under a doorway, notice the board at the top and the horizontal line it makes. This can serve to remind you to observe where your spiritual environment is. Before you go through the doorway, ask yourself, “Am I ‘thinking’ above or below the line?” The more often you tie into and are aware of the emotional/spiritual level you are feeling throughout the day, the more chance you have of maintaining a positive level.
Although, it may not be possible to think above the line every minute of every day, it IS possible to live there most of the time. It simply takes awareness and focus. Thinking above the line enables us to consciously live in the presence of God.