“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9
“You cannot solve a problem from the same consciousness that created it. You must learn to see the world anew.” – Albert Einstein
Most of the problems I’ve had were bad decisions. Feelings were the determining factor.
I feel like one more drink. Wrong decision.
But this relationship feels right! Ignore the red flags.
I feel this is this house for me. Ignore the cost, taxes, insurance. It’ll work out.
I feel unloved. So, I isolate and prove it’s true. Or lash out.
I feel like an imposter! So I act like a wimp and seek approval like a starving person. “Please tell me I’m okay.”
How many feelings do you have each day? I confess I have several. Anger, sadness, excitement, pride, boredom, despair and many, many more. If I acted on the feelings alone, my life would still be a disaster! You?
Love can be a feeling, but it’s based on action. “By their fruit, you will know them.”
Hope can be a feeling. And this is confusing. Is it wishful thinking disguised as hope? A magic genie? Or trust and my actions reflect that trust.
Is faith a feeling? Well, Abraham went out not knowing where he was going. Noah built an ark without knowing the end-game. I’m sure their feelings were mixed at best. There was probably some fear, anxiety, unsteadiness, wonder. But they did what they did in faith. That obedience thing.
Is joy a feeling? It can be mistaken for happiness, which is a feeling determined by circumstances outside ourselves. Circumstances outside of us will disappoint, eventually. The new car? The perfect job? Yes, even the new spouse. Joy is rock-solid trust in our Father, knowing we are loved and knowing we’re okay, even when things are painful or confusing.
Sometimes I feel needy. I manipulate others to take care of my feelings. Honesty/vulnerability would be much better. “I feel needy. Could we talk about it? Have you felt needy?”
Do I control others with worry? When I worry, I place a heavy burden on others. That doesn’t mean we don’t share, pray or find assistance for a problem, but when I’m stuck worrying about the same thing over and over? Do I believe the more I worry that it proves my love? The more earnest my prayer is?
Control with anger? Ultimatums: “If you do this one more time, I’ll turn blue and stomp my feet. Then you’ll be sorry!”
God has feelings too. Jesus in Gethsemane with sweat like blood, yet he continued with his mission out of love for his Father. I’m sure his feelings were beyond comprehension, despairing and oh so painful. When he forgave from the cross, his feelings were not celebratory. In a perfect act of love, he suffered for us. Jesus mastered his emotions and deliberately chose obedience. In Hebrews, it says, “For the joy set before him, he endured the cross.” Delayed gratification. Not my favorite thing to do.
Feelings are fickle! Sometimes they lie! Create all kinds of chaos if they’re not mastered. With help from our Father and the Holy Spirit, we master our feelings. It is a lifetime project for sure. Many times it’s very unpleasant. When I was a child, I acted like a child, but now I’m a grown-up.
Good feelings come. They are wonderful! They are a blessing! God gave them to us. God has feelings too. But… the good feelings come when I do the right thing. And it may be a long time for the good feeling to come. Will I stay faithful? I’m better, but I have a long, long way to go.
Thank you for feelings, the good ones and unpleasant ones. Feelings can teach us, warn us, embrace us, lift us, encourage us, but they can’t be trusted all the time. You can be. Help us to master our feelings and make wise decisions. Help us to be vulnerable with each other with loads of grace.