Felling the Lie of Feelings

by

Why Way?
Photo Source Simon Greig via Flickr

“Felling”: To cut or break down…

So let’s talk about feelings.  Specifically about one great lie this world tells us: Following your heart is the key to living successfully.

In our vernacular, we consider that our thoughts originate in our minds and our feelings originate in our hearts.  Some of us may try to be smart in making our decisions by thoughtfully processing the pros and cons.  But there are those times, quite often, when our feelings direct our decisions rather than the other way around.

Okay…I’m a woman.  I have feelings…lots of them.  All the time.  And, usually, I have no trouble expressing them.  Neither does my daughter or my best friend or the members in my women’s Bible study. We feel things deeply.  And that is wonderful!  That is designed.  That is as it should be.  We are not machines made to live life in complete objectivity.

But, the problem comes when we believe the lie that our feelings are reliable guides, that they can be trusted.  Feelings ebb and flow like the tide, varying with a change as drastically as a pendulum on a ticking clock.

When embarking on a dangerous journey, to unknown places, it is wise to follow a guide to ensure you arrive safely where you intended to go.  But our feelings don’t always point us in the same direction, much less the right one.  Feelings just aren’t reliable guides to help us get anywhere safely.

So, if feelings are so unpredictable and unstable, what could they be good for?  Feelings are horrible guides, but they can be excellent indicators.

Feelings communicate that something is happening.  They tell us something about how people or circumstances affect us.  But they do a terrible job of  guiding us to successfully respond.

When I feel angry or offended or saddened, there’s something going on that needs to be addressed.  It’s so much easier, and definitely tempting, to try and escape those feelings…to grab that novel…to pick up the remote…to lose myself in a project.  But denying the presence of those feelings doesn’t deny the presence of a problem.  It merely postpones healing.

This season I’m in is full of feelings, many of them not so pleasant.  But, I’ve been glossing over many of them for so long, that if I don’t hand them over to a trustworthy God, I may do permanent damage to my heart or the hearts of those around me.

So, when I feel offended, or hurt, or looked-over, I’m now seeing that perhaps it isn’t so much about what the other person should do to fix it, but that it’s more about me entrusting my heart and all its indicators over to God.  I need to hear His plan, His truth, to be willing to open up areas I’ve closed off or hardened.  I need to stop the escape and be willing to do the work, which may be hard and painful, but will certainly yield far better results than my tendency to “follow my heart.”

Are you following your feelings in some area of your life?  If so, how’s that working out?  Are you willing to take note of your feelings, while still choosing to trust God to provide your truth?  Are you ready to “fell” the lie of following your feelings and, instead, follow His direction?