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emotional reflexes

We also acquire emotional reflexes as we go through life. Here’s what I mean. Every feeling and action begins as a thought.

When I was a kid (in age, I mean- I’m still a kid at heart) I remember watching the doctor take that little rubber triangular headed hammer thing and gently tapping on my knee, and seeing my knee bounce up. I was like, “How’d he do that?”

As I got older, I learned about reflexes in science class and it still didn’t really explain it fully for me. (I’m not a medical science kind of guy.)

The definition of reflex is “an action that is performed without conscious thought as a response to a stimulus.” I can understand that, though. I’m glad God built us with physical reflexes so we could duck when a flying object comes out of nowhere.

We also acquire emotional reflexes as we go through life. Here’s what I mean. Every feeling and action begins as a thought. Let that sink in. Every feeling and action begins as a thought. If something in life doesn’t go our way, do we have a “reflex response” that lashes out in anger or hurt? When we face a difficult challenge, do we have a self defeating reflexive response? Often we end up reacting instead of responding.

Here’s a very short list of “facts” people accept to be true, and react reflexively from that thought.

“God is punishing me.”

“I’ll never amount to anything.”

“Other people are always luckier than me.”

“No one likes me.”

“I deserve better.”

If we start there, we won’t finish well. Check the truth of your thoughts, with a trusted friend or counselor if necessary, and make course corrections as you go along. It’s not an overnight deal- it takes time to relearn new reflexes. You can learn to respond instead of react. God’s Word is a great place to start for hard wiring the truth in your thought patterns.

That’s why God gave it to us.


Rev. Greg Griffin is a Board Certified Pastoral Counselor and Forgiveness Coach in private practice in Marietta, GA. His specialty is relationship repair and rescue- helping partners, spouses, and parents and their adolescents. He’s also the author of Dungeon Times Survival Guide, and Vital Faith.

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