Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Getting in Touch with Your Feelings is Not All It’s Cracked Up to Be.

There is a great push in today’s world to ‘get in touch with your feelings’. Self-help books and popular speakers all urge that we need to ‘find ourselves’ and the best way to do that is to ‘embrace our emotions’. We are told to accept our negative emotions, channel them, and turn them into the positive through listening to what our hearts are telling us.

While this advice appeals to our deepest human nature, for the Believer, living life based on our emotions goes directly against the will of God.

The Bible says in Jeremiah 17:9 – “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

The problem is that our feelings can change, quite frequently and without warning. And not always for the better. Have you ever seen a toddler throwing a tantrum? Not pretty, is it?  Now, have you ever seen an adult throwing a tantrum? While we expect the toddler to have no control over their emotions, as an adult, emotional outbursts are an awful thing to witness. When feelings (our hearts) take precedence over finding God’s will the outcome can be not only embarrassing, but downright deadly to our eternity.

Matthew 5:18-20 says this…”But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these things defile a man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, and slander. These are what defile a man…”

As a Believer I am expected to look for my direction and guidance from God, not my heart. My heart will often lead me in the wrong direction. Just because I ‘feel’ something is right, doesn’t make it right. If my ‘feeling’ doesn’t line up with what the Word of God says then I am living my life in error, which is a polite way of saying I am living in sin.

Ephesians 5:15-17 tells us…”Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

Now, emotions are not evil. They are a part of who we are. God gave us emotions and feelings. But allowing our emotions to control us is not godly. Living our life based on the feelings that our hearts produce is not godly either. The key to managing our emotions is daily spending time with God.

Prayer. Bible reading. Attending church. Spending time in worship. These are the building blocks of the foundation that our emotional stability in God is built on. When our foundation is right, our life will be right, and when our life is right, our feelings will no longer take us where they want us to go.

I think Proverbs 3:5-6 says it best…”Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Blessings, Kathy