Your Feelings Don't Matter
Your feelings are real, but they are not always true.
In terms of spiritual stability, one of the biggest mistakes I made—and tend to make, and often see others making—is concluding that our feelings are true. If we feel it, it must be real, right? But because our feelings can easily be manipulated and can fluctuate so wildly, they are not a very accurate spiritual barometer. Just go on a roller coaster ride, and you will have more feelings pass through your brain inside of five minutes than you can handle. One second, you’re thinking you’re going to be flung off the ride, the next you’re convinced you’re going to have a heart attack and die, and then you tell everyone that it was the best experience of your life. Yet, none of your feelings are true. More than likely, you weren’t thrown off the ride, you’re still living after having ridden it, and you will live to have even better experiences in your life.
Take a minuteto consider the range of feelings we put ourselves through each time we watch a movie. At first, we feel kind of excited as anticipation grows, but then as we get further into the movie, we may become a bit bored until some action or plot twist shocks or scares us. Soon, a little humor is used to relieve us of the fear just produced. We may chuckle a little or laugh uproariously. Then, we may go back to being bored. Next, the movie makers include some romantic interlude and a few more action-packed or heart-racing scenes to produce an even wider range of feelings. The more feelings they can produce, the more successful the film, right? But none of what we experience or feel is real. It is just a “mental roller coaster” for those who don’t like to go on the real ones.
HOW TO CHANGE THE WAY YOU FEEL
Here are some things you can do right now that can change the way you feel about your negative circumstances:
- Worship the Lord aloud. Go somewhere where you can raise your voice aloud and sing His praises. Tell Him how big He is and how wonderful He has been to you. Recount His goodness to you. This is the sacrifice of praise, even the fruit of our lips, which we can do whether we feel like it or not (see Hebrews 13:15).
- Thank Him for every little thing in your life. Thanksgiving is a powerful tool, which not only causes the enemy to leave us alone but can make us feel different in a matter of minutes. One of the reasons praise or worship changes the way we feel is because we cannot to do it from the heart without changing the direction of our eyes.
- Pray the prayers of Paul that are listed in each of his epistles.Write them out, using various translations until they come alive to you. These prayers not only express God’s will, but they are powerful in helping us to see ourselves through God’s eyes.
- Pray in tongues for five or ten minutes. Do it aloud, full bore. Paul said that, when we do this, we will not be understood by men, but God hears us because we are speaking mysteries into the spirit realm.
For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries. (1 Corinthians 14:2)
- Read the Psalms aloud, especially the first forty Psalms, which are written mostly by David. He often spoke to his soul, telling it to get in line with an unseen reality. David said to himself,
Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God. (Psalm 42:5, 11; 43:5)
Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits. (103:1-2)
Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honor and majesty. (104:1)
Return to your rest, O my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. (116:7)
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul! While I live I will praise the Lord; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. (146:1-2)
In doing these things, you will be sowing to the spirit, which always leads to life. Anytime you yield to your new man, allowing him to have the pre-eminence, you will feel differently. On the other hand, Jesus said we have to deny ourselves, meaning our fallen nature, disallowing its negative thoughts from playing out in our minds. In doing this, we will keep out of the spiritual death that always follows this kind of thinking. It says this in the following text:
Don't be misled; remember that you can't ignore God and get away with it: a man will always reap just the kind of crop he sows! If he sows to please his own wrong desires, he will be planting seeds of evil and he will surely reap a harvest of spiritual decay and death; but if he plants the good things of the Spirit, he will reap the everlasting life that the Holy Spirit gives him. And let us not get tired of doing what is right, for after a while we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't get discouraged and give up.(Galatians 6:7-9, TLB).
At first it will seem like every thought is negative and needs to be reined in. We need to get on top of these thoughts before they grow and create strong feelings. Nip them in the bud. You must say no to the thoughts of your flesh. No one else can do this for you. Jesus said we must deny ourselves.
If doing these things doesn’t help you find a whole new range of feelings, then the only thing I can suggest is that you find the nearest roller coaster and see how you feel!
One time, when David was greatly distressed, he encouraged himself in the Lord (see 1 Samuel 30:6). While the Bible does not say how he did this, I suspect he prayed aloud some of the promises God had given to him. Try doing this, speaking what God has spoken to you and see how you feel. If you don’t have a promise to stand upon, ask Him to give you one.
This study came from my book “Following the Eyes of Your Heart” which you can oder here. It was published by Wordsmith Publishing, 2018 Copyright by Penn Clark - All Rights Reserved