top of page

Latest Thoughts

Recent Blogs

Impulse and Impulsivity

“When things do not happen as expected, we are often at the mercy of our impulses. The accusation of a lowly servant girl ambushed Peter as he waited outside in the courtyard while Jesus was tried inside. Despite Jesus’ warning, Peter’s fearful impulse overtook him. From then on, his fright controlled him…Our tendency today is to avoid, suppress, act out, self-medicate, and even blame others by displacing or projecting our feelings onto others. We are too quick to believe our impulsive thinking and feeling, and too quick to dismiss what is reality.” (Fr. Basil, Fr. Joshua Makoul)

“The sinfulness of the passions, therefore, does not reside in the materiality of the body, that which is created by God, but in the manner in which the mind regards and abuses the body and its impulses and appetites.” (Fr. John Behr)

“The view is that “being true to yourself” involves doing what comes naturally, as if virtues that arise after a process of struggle are somehow contrived and artificial. According to this widespread assumption, the best we can do is be like Elsa in the Disney film Frozen: stop trying to be the good girl everyone expects you to be, since the path to true redemption lies in learning to “let it go” and be yourself—to realize the authentic person you are inside. In this view, authenticity is often associated with pursuing the path of least resistance as you follow impulses, habits, and personality traits that come spontaneously. The implication is that spending years to develop habits and dispositions that are hard work is somehow repressive, hypocritical, and less “true to yourself” than following your natural inclinations.” (Robin Phillips)

“No, rather it is that we want a king to be over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, and our king will judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” [1 Kingdoms (1 Samuel) 8:19-20] The message to us in this reading comes with several examples that caution against heedlessness following our own desires. For how very often we run exactly counter to the Lord Jesus' clear directions: “But when you pray go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father Who is in the secret place....For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. In this manner...pray, ‘Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as in heaven.’” (Mt. 6: 6,9,10). Here is the straight path free of failure, error, and disaster: to check our impulsive, self-confident ideas and urgent desires directly with the Lord as we face wants, problems, or needs. This is true whether the issues arise at home or from society. It is wise to turn to God in prayer and welcome His challenges to our will, desires and needs, His will to be done in us.” (Dynamis 9/24/2019)

“The foundation of our ability to resist sin lies in our union with Christ – our being “in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11). On our own, we lack sufficient power to resist, but when we are in Christ His power helps us to overcome every thought, impulse, and desire that leads us astray. We are no longer tossed about on nature’s waves like a tiny ship; we stand against temptation and win. However, we must apply the power that God extends to us in Christ in order to be truly dead to sin. As with all authentic relationships, there is nothing magical about our oneness with God. He bestows this gift on us in baptism, chrismation, and communion. We must then use the gift to resist, reject, and oppose the reign of sin within us (vs. 12). The apostle does not suggest that this resistance is easy, painless, or without struggle, only that it is possible. God makes the impossible possible that we may win the battle against our passions and lusts.” (Dynamis 7/17/2021)

“…how many of us greet each day or relax for a few minutes in the evening with the scriptures? Yet, without meeting God each day in scripture our sense of God becomes too vague and open to our own musings or the tyranny and erratic impulses of our unconscious…without quiet time in the morning or evening to slowly make our trust in God more visible, we tend to drift between guilt and impulse.” (Robert J. Wicks)

“Herein lies our problem: “listening” to our thoughts creates struggles – a raging storm of contradictory ideas and impulses…We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it…No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good….The battle with our own evil impulses will never end in this life, though the internal conflict should lessen as we grow in grace.” (Dynamis 3/19/2014, C.S. Lewis, Joseph O'day)

“In order to kindle in yourself Divine Grace make it a practice to read the Holy Scripture. For the Word of God is a hammer that breaks up and softens our stony hearts; it is fire that burns out sinful impulses and warms our cold hearts (Jer. 23:29)…Make it your rule to read the Word of God daily, and read it with reverent attention. Then what seemed to you long ago evident what earlier did not impress you greatly, will acquire suddenly a new and great meaning and significance; it will seem to you that you are hearing it for the first time; your soul will be stirred and your heart will be filled with peace, happiness and compunction.” (St. Tikhon)

“Just as a basic concern is to be careful of anything that might be harmful to our physical health, so our spiritual concern should watch out for anything that might harm our spiritual life and the work of faith and salvation. Therefore, carefully and attentively assess your inner impulses: are they from God or from the spirit of evil?” (St. John Maximovich)

“...we might consider the passions as distorted when the ego is in control of their direction. Then, we desire whatever fills the ego, whether praise, or power, or whatever it is that we crave. When we feel enslaved by what we desire, then we know we have gone down the wrong path. The spiritual journey is always one toward freedom, and an essential aspect is to direct the passions and desire toward God. The more we become clear about our places of wounding, the more freedom we gain because we are no longer controlled by unconscious impulses.” (St. Zosimas)

Quote of the Day


bottom of page