Monday, June 13, 2011

Feelings


It was a nice evening, great food, good conversation, yet as we left our friends, I felt uneasy, sad, disappointed in myself. I didn't like the person I was there. The words that came out of my mouth displayed the condition of my heart lately--cynical, whiny, ungrateful, discouraged, even distrustful.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm having a crisis of faith (most likely I just think about things far too much). The stresses of life suck the daylights out of me and I feel so puny, so weak. Something unpleasant happens and I take it as God humbling me, of putting me in my place. Maybe I've been reading too much in the Old Testament and my brain is stuck on God's wrath instead of His grace. I pray and I study my Bible, but don't really expect God to answer because He doesn't work in ways I comprehend. I wish I could have big eyes waiting for God to do His miracle. Instead I use my energy ignoring doubts.

I confess this to my husband, the man who listens to my over analyzed droning over and over, yet still maintains attention and sensitivity and patience (God help him.).

"Is there something wrong with me if I feel like this?" I ask, "Is this a symptom of a bigger faith issue?"

He knows how I obsess over thoughts, how my mind dwells on the negative until my self-berating kicks in. He knows how many nights my brain has trouble shutting down, how hard it is for me to let things go.

"Having feelings is not the same as living by feelings," he says calmly, "You might not feel great, but it hasn't stopped you from following God."

His gentle words didn't question my faith, but pointed out an important fact.

A feeling is not a belief.

I may feel like God's not hearing my prayers, but I know that isn't true. I may feel a little beat up, but I know God's not doing the beating. I may wish for something different, but I know He works all things for good.

Having feelings is not the same as living by feelings.

My husband is right, of course. Because I get so caught up in my feelings, I forget (how, I don't know) that they pass. In obsessing about my emotional state, I may create a problem that isn't there.

Do your feelings get the best of you? Do you dwell on your mood and miss what is true? Do negative or conflicting thoughts distract you from your faith?

Fight your feelings by doing what is right, whether you feel like it or not. God is not upset with our feelings, but how we respond to them. When Cain was mad at God because He didn't accept his offering, God told him this.

If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.

Genesis 4:7

Do you see it? No condemnation for feeling angry, only an admonition to do what is right.

Having feelings is not the same as living by feelings.

My husband taught me it's okay to feel yucky. What's important is how I act on it. Do I do what is right? Do I fill my mind with Truth? Or do I react according to my feelings and let sin crouch at my door?

What will you do with your feelings?

1 comment:

Annie said...

Once again you nailed it. My feelings have been dragging me all over the place lately. I wish we were closer so I could come over for a cup of coffee and cry with a great friend. Love you.