Four truths about those pesky feelings

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A beautiful morning but . . .  This 42 degree, overclouded morning, I stood with my daughter and son-in-law as my kindergartener grandson, costumed as Ralph S. Mouse and my first-grader (Tock the dog), along with 200 other schoolchildren marched around the freshly-mulched schoolgrounds for the Book Character Parade. Parents sipped coffee from go mugs and shared stories of last-minute costume disasters. I silently thanked God for the blessing of being close to my family. Happiness warmed me from the inside out. But it began to fade as I parted from my family. Those old self-doubts and fear began to spin. Uh oh! By God’s grace, I stopped them as I recalled four truths about feelings.

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[1] Negative feelings are part of normal life. Having negative feelings does not mean you are not healed. Every human being has problems. I so appreciate Joyce Meyer and other great Bible teachers who share that they, too, battle thoughts and feelings – daily! When negative thoughts and feelings surface as we move away from entrenched mental and emotional habits, we may think: “Oh, no! I am still depressed (or anxious, or whatever else) But the truth is every human has normal ups and downs, positive and negative feelings and everything in between. I Corinthians 10:13 tells us that every temptation and problem we face is something other humans do, too. This morning, I remembered to remind myself: Thoughts and feelings like this are normal. Everyone feels a bit sad when parting from loved ones. This little sad feeling does not mean anything is wrong. Calm down. Feelings cannot hurt me.

[2] Living by feelings brings darkness and death but living by faith brings light and life to my soul and spirit.  Psalm 34:5 explains that “Those who look to Him for help will be radiant with joy. . . ” (NLT) I can focus on one thing at a time. If I think about God and His goodness, I experience His joy. If I think about myself, my mind is not on God and easily sinks down into fleshly habits. While in the pit, I made two mistakes in handling feelings:  constantly checking feelings, and letting feelings determine what I did. I am tearing down those strongholds!

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[3] Monitoring feelings keeps you stuck in them. When I left my family this morning and faced the rest of the day alone,I felt sad.Out of habit, my mind at once focused on the sadness. I wondered “How am I feeling? Down? Fearful?” Like being tied to an anchor by a chain I had grown numb to, my thoughts circled, going nowhere, looking downward into my inner self.

But by God’s grace, He is exposing this habit day by day for me. He is helping me do what I cannot do myself. As I do my part, He is doing His part. As I have been faithfully looking into the mirror of God’s Word, He is showing me what needs to change. (James 4:22-25.)  and He is giving me His strength to do what He tells me to do.

[4] Feelings should not determine your actions. Philippians 2:12c-13 tells us: “Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. (13) For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.” (NLT) Now, when I see I have focused on feelings, I choose not to let them control my life.

I deliberately start repeating a Scripture, out loud if possible, I remind myself of His promises to care for me and I look for something to do for Him, no matter if I still feel afraid or sad or whatever. I smile at the person standing next to me and say something positive, I do the next task in my hands at work as unto Him or, if alone, I smile up at God, pray for someone and choose to honor God by trusting Him to take care of my heart (and its sometimes pesky feelings) as–in proportion to—my depending upon Him! Psalm 33:22 “Let Your mercy and loving-kindness, O Lord, be upon us, in proportion to our waiting and hoping for You.”

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It still takes effort but keeping my mind fixed on Him gets easier every day. I pray it does for you, too, dear friend, no matter what may try to steal your joy! May we both be radiant with joy as we look to Him for help!

1 thought on “Four truths about those pesky feelings

  1. I often have the experience of feeling down and then being interrupted in my sad thoughts by a person who says “You look great!” or who smiles deeply at me, etc.
    Focusing in on Psalm 34:5 today really confirmed for me that feelings are not necessarily what is seen by others. I feel grumpy or sad but because my hope is in Jesus always I’m learning from this post that others see and feel radiant joy. Very cool meditation.

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