Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Handle with Care

Emotions are at the wheel and our world is out of control. In just 35 years, I can't help but notice that we as a society are becoming increasingly emotionally driven. It's commonplace to hear things like, "If it feels good, do it." Nearly everything we do is driven by how we feel, directly opposite of discipline and self control. I've been convicted of it quite often and it's taken me this long to realize that being a Christian means I must put my feelings aside in order to experience the life He meant for me.

Here are my observations. Self esteem and faith are intertwined all for the sake of feelings because we all think we have to feel good about our self to the extent that we miss out on experiencing true joy. Marriages are falling apart because people decide they don't feel "in love" anymore. And parents are more permissive than ever, making their main goal to make their kids to "feel good" even if it means discarding all the right things to teach them. You see it in the news constantly - someone is out of control, making decisions that they won't be happy with later all because they followed their feelings.

I get hung up on my feelings as much as anyone, and I'm not pointing any fingers here. Nonetheless, we shouldn't let our feelings boss us around, and the proof is in the Word. Times when I have chosen  to be a slave to my feelings, my life has been a huge mess. I have found that you have to actively check your feelings against God's guidelines or you'll just be tossed around like a small boat in a hurricane.
Keeping my feelings in check provides for accountability. When someone hurts my feelings, it's up to me to get over it and to forgive. And even if they do apologize, I have to make a choice here to move on past how I feel. When an unhealthy thought crosses my mind, it's up to me to decide whether to continue pondering on it and if I don't my feelings will get too big for their britches and try to rule me again. When I feel emotional, it's up to me to maintain control of myself. I often have to remind myself, "Just because I can doesn't mean I should."

Feelings change but God never does. Feelings are fickle, and we never know what we'll get if we count on them to guide us. However, feelings do have a valuable role. Feelings often steer us from danger. They can serve as a compass when used properly, but never on their own. God's word has to be our check and balance point for thoughts and feelings alike in order to avoid misery.

We are called to be the salt and the light. Salt isn't easily manipulated - it changes everything it touches. With salt, you always know what you're getting and you can't miss it. Light can't be hidden no matter what, even if you bury it and it would still shine on something. If we're to be light and salt, we can only be those things from the faith we have in Him - not in ourselves and surely not in our feelings.
Some valuable resources I have found on feelings are:
Bible verses about our Feelings
Attitudes and Emotions
Please feel free to share any resources you have as well.

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