I always “feel” something. Sometimes I’m able to manage my feelings fairly well. Other times the best I can do is muddle through. Maybe you can relate.
Being sensitive is not a problem when all is happy and content. But what about those times when my feelings are less than desirable? When I’m filled with sadness, frustration, or loneliness. When inadequacy and fear and uncertainty weigh heavily on my heart. When selfishness surfaces as it most certainly will. Oh, and I mustn’t forget guilt. Guilt loves to join the party. After all, how is it possible to feel so lousy when I’ve been blessed so greatly? It makes no sense. And yet the struggle is real – for me and also for many others.
With that in mind, may I share with you a little something I’ve learned about my feelings?
They can’t always be trusted.
As good as they may seem, as bad as they may get, they may or may not be fully accurate. And if my feelings do not represent truth, I must not let them disguise themselves as such. Otherwise, I am handing over control of my life, my relationships, and all that matters — to a false reality, to a faulty thinking.
So regardless of how I’m feeling, I must ensure my feelings can be trusted before I surrender to their power. Before I declare them reliable. Before I allow them to determine my next step.
May I share an example? Let’s say a dear friend fails to return my call and doesn’t sit with me at the weekly ballgame. My feelings are a bit shaken. Is she upset with me? Is she angry? Am I no longer her friend? Sometimes I may need to lovingly discuss these matters with her, but often times it would do me well to check my emotions first.
If I continue in this mindset of having been rejected, I will no doubt work myself into a tizzy. Before drawing conclusions, I would be wise to look at more than this occurrence. I must search out the truth by studying the overall picture.
We’ve been friends a long time.
I know she cares about me.
All was fine when I spoke to her a few days ago.
I haven’t said or done anything offensive to her.
I know she has been under added stress this week.
With this truth before me, I have a choice to make. Will I honestly compare my feelings with these facts? And if I do, will I allow myself to be ruled by my misguided emotions, or will I cling to the truth and enjoy peace knowing all is well? I think I’ll choose the latter.
And perhaps next time I will not be so hasty in assuming the worst when my friend, or my husband, or my children disappoint me. Perhaps I will instead lift them up in prayer, encourage them, hug them, or show them an unexpected kindness. I believe that’s something that would leave us all feeling good.