All I could see was the instrument panel in front of me. My flight instructor had placed a “hood” over my eyes so all I could see were the instruments, but I could not see outside the little two-seater airplane to get a visual perspective on where I was headed. My instructor had placed the hood on and asked me to close my eyes. She then performed some steep turns and maneuvers to trick the fluid in my ear, so I could not tell which way was up. She then had me open my eyes to only rely on the instruments to fly the plane safely. Every pilot experiences this training. If a pilot gets disoriented or flies through clouds, they can navigate safely relying on instruments and not feelings.
I learned this lesson in high school while getting my pilot’s license, but it has served me well in many areas of my life. Although we often react based on feelings, that rarely serves our best interest. Don’t get me wrong – feelings have their place. However, as my training
taught me, my equilibrium told me I was in a steep turn when I was really flying right side up and level according to the instrument panel. When I removed the hood and looked out the window, the horizon confirmed my instrument readings, not what my balance screamed.
How often do we let fear, uncertainty, sympathy, anger or even exuberance dictate our response to a situation? Our first response should be to ask God for direction before deciding or responding to a situation; however, we often rush to a rash decision and later regret it.
Proverbs 3:5-6 states, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” This scripture most clearly explains that concept of not trusting our feelings or our limited human understanding but relying on God and His direction. He knows what we will encounter and what the outcome will be, so trusting Him is far safer than trusting our feelings.
Anger normally results in a hasty response that we later regret. Proverbs 18:13 reminds us, “He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him.” James 1:19-20 commands us to not succumb to anger quickly, “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath, for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”
If uncertainty reigns in our lives, James 1:5-6 counsels, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.”
Fear often cripples us and prevents us from doing what we must, but Philippians 4:6-7 promises us God’s peace and protection, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made know to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
I once heard a pastor explain Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path,” this way: Scripture provides the lamp to our feet to show us the next step and provides a light to my path to expose the snares of the enemy. That thought really resonated with me. I only need to take the next step and then by trusting and studying God’s word, He helps me avoid the traps the enemy has laid for me.
This thought closely parallels John 16:13, “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” God has given us the Holy Spirit to guide us. That leading provides better direction than any path I could chart on my own. As you delve deeper in the Word and devote time to prayer, you will hear the voice of the Holy Spirit more clearly.
Like my pilot training, God provides an instrument panel for navigating through life – His Word and the leading of the Holy Spirit. By following that leading, we rely on the true indicators instead of the false readings we perceive through feelings that do not align with Scripture. The next time your feelings leave you disoriented and off balance, rely on the truth of God’s Word to navigate this thing called life.