Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” We can’t live by how we feel. Your feelings are not only inaccurate, but they are deceitful. Your feelings at any given moment are your reality. They are your truth. But they are not THE Truth. Here are a few different reactions we can have to our feelings:
1. We can live by our feelings.
We’ve all been here. Somebody says or does something and the “I’m going to show them” part of us rises up. We think we need to show them the truth… or our version of it. Unfortunately, this sometimes works out for us, so we think we’ve done the right thing. There is some immediate gratification that comes, which we often mistake for God’s approval of our actions. In actuality, all we’re sensing is relief for acting on our feelings and pride for getting our way. Our heart is deceitful, so we can’t always trust our feelings.
2. We can ignore our feelings.
This is the person who, after 30 years of walking with God, seemingly drops off of the face of the earth. For those of us on the outside, it looks like they have turned their back on God and went completely insane. Often what happens is people ignore their feelings for so long that they finally can’t take it anymore. When we do this for so long, we desensitize ourselves. We move from a faith that deals with things into a presumption that ignores reality. Regardless of how tough or spiritual you think you are, the feelings are there and they are going to have to be addressed in some way. This is just one more benefit of being in a community of believers where we can share these feelings and deal with them instead of letting them build and fester.
3. We can examine our feelings.
Many of us think of feelings in a negative sense, but there are times when a feeling of excitement or passion can cause me to make a decision that I wouldn’t normally make. I would imagine that when David took on the challenge of bringing down Goliath, it was proceeded by a strong feeling of “what is this loud mouth saying about my God!?” Jesus wept when he saw Jerusalem, but He didn’t turn around and go home. Our feelings, right or wrong, ARE how we are feeling. Apostle David talked recently about how we shouldn’t live by our feelings and shouldn’t ignore our feelings, but should examine our feelings. If you’re feeling angry, then take some time and evaluate. “Why am I feeling this way? Who am I angry at? When did I start feeling angry? What might make my anger subside?” As much as I don’t like to admit it, IF THE PAIN IS IN ME THE PROBLEM IS IN ME. Don’t just seek relief. Find the pain. Find the problem.
If we will see their proper purpose, our feelings can point us to areas in our life where we need to be healed, stretched, or delivered. They can also point us to areas we are passionate about and need to pursue. Don’t fight the feelings you have. Realize there’s more to them than what you see on the surface and deal with them appropriately.
(First published 07.19.09)