Don’t fear your feelings.
Our feelings can be so strong that we are tempted to want to numb them. We can be tempted to think that feelings are the enemy, that feelings are dangerous, that feelings must be overcome.
But shouldn’t feelings be felt?
An email I attempted to craft this morning left me feeling annoyed and depressed and despondent. Why? Because of the thoughts I had been struggling with that past hour. My ‘bad’ feelings were simply a result of what I had been thinking.
Our feelings are simply the emotional response to what we think. Feelings arise as a response to what we are thinking, and of course our thinking can be quite sinful and evil. When your thinking goes awry, it is best to take the apostle Paul’s advice and give thanks in every circumstance, pray continually and rejoice always.
But, feelings. They are simply emotions. You can feel angry at your brother, or your mother or your spouse. And what’s wrong with that? Nothing. Anger is a normal part of life. Anger is not necessarily a problem. But when your anger propels you to think about being violent – with either weapons or words – then that is a problem. Acting on that thought would be a very serious problem. Instead…
Take a deep breath, go for a jog, take a hot shower, whatever. But, I’m not here today to talk about anger management.
I want to say this: don’t be tempted to think that feelings are dangerous. They are normal and natural and a wonderful part of our humanity.
Our feelings are a magnificent design feature created by our God. When our feelings are ‘good,’ we experience pleasure. When our feelings are ‘bad,’ we experience pain. Don’t numb those bad feelings. Let them run their course. Experience them. And talk to God about them.
It’s especially important to pray if you do not understand your feelings. Ask God to help you. Perhaps He will show you that your ‘bad’ feelings are the result of erroneous thinking or sinful desires. But, maybe not. Maybe your anger or depression is normal.
Thoughts can be false. Feelings are a blessing. They are a gift.
February 2, 2017