Putting Your Feelings in Time-Out

I’ve been sick since last Friday. Really sick. The kind of sick that makes you wonder if you’re ever going to be normal again – whatever “normal” is. Right now, I honestly can’t imagine what it would feel like to have a normal size throat, instead of sporting ginormous, fire-engine-red tonsils with lungs that seem to delight in producing unreasonable amounts of phlegm. I know; yuk.

I’ve forgotten what it’s like to have energy. I’ve forgotten what it’s like to not be in constant pain or discomfort. It feels like it’s going to be this way forever.

How quickly we forget.

As I sit here typing this blog with my ice-cold Diet Sierra Mist companion to comfort me, I can’t help but think of all of the times in my life when I felt like something was never going to change – even though a billion other times in the past had already proven otherwise.

  • I felt like I was never going to get over my divorce and be really happy again.
  • I felt like I could never be free from my financial situation.
  • I felt like I was always going to have “hang-ups” in certain areas of my life.

My feelings made me forget what was truth. They have an uncanny way of doing that.

One of the greatest things I have ever learned is that my feelings aren’t there to represent truth. They just are.

Not only that, but focusing on feelings can actually perpetuate bad situations because we are reacting to false “realities;” and so we go round-and-round, never getting to the bottom of things. Maybe that’s why the Bible has so much to say about focusing on truth – how it sets us free and how we should always strive to live by it. Funny, I can’t think of one place in the Bible where it says we are to go by our feelings. Not one.

What a revelation! This means . . .

  • If we wake up feeling down we don’t have to accept those feelings as truth and run with them.
  • If we’re feeling angry at someone, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve done anything wrong.
  • If we’re feeling overly excited about doing something it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right thing to do.   Hm . . .

I often tell young adults who are struggling with a decision that there is a fundamental difference between a child and an adult. A child makes decisions based on how they feel. An adult does not. To be honest? I think there are a lot of children living in adult bodies. I should know; I was one of them.

Thank goodness, I grew up some. For the most part, I’ve learned to overrule my feelings. They no longer get a say-so on how I behave or the decisions I make; I’m not afraid to put them on the shelf when they need a time-out.

Overriding our feelings is not an easy thing to do, believe me. I think in biblical terms, we might call it “dying to self.” I can’t think of any time when dying would feel good. But the birth of a new and better person afterward sure does make it worth it!

Do your decisions tend to be more feeling-driven or truth-driven? Do you strive for knowing truth and letting it guide your actions or do you let your feelings take over? Tell me the truth, now . . .

3 thoughts on “Putting Your Feelings in Time-Out

  1. Joshua Summers

    So many people rely on a moment of ‘revelation’ to describe how they feel. As a Christian, I cannot be hooked on a feeling, but rather a fact. We may get up in the morning and feel upset, angry, or bewildered for whatever reason the world may throw at us. The key to remember is that our feelings need not outweigh the FACT that Jesus Christ died for our sins and we are expected to “let this mind be also in you which was in Christ Jesus”. To be Heavenly minded is to remember that there are lost people in the world, dying. To be Heavenly minded is to bring to mind all the times and people that have hurt us in the past. To be Heavenly minded is to pray for them, our situations, and glorify the Son in the process.

    We can’t get hung up on feelings, but we must always remember the fact that Christ is risen.

    Reply

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