Feelings and emotions fly up and down depending on the amount of sleep we obtain, hormonal influences, fleeting circumstances and I would also suggest family and spiritual conditioning can play a part.
Sleep is obvious for me. If I don't get enough my coping mechanisms are severely shot...just ask my parents! Often women can be completely unaware of hormonal influence. It can be subtle, yet overwhelming. Somehow things that don't bother you one day, will bother you the next day, then the day after that you wonder why you reacted or felt that way. Ah, the joys of being a woman.
Circumstances in our life can bring on a flood of feelings and emotions and can rock us. Family and spiritual conditioning over time can affect how we react to things. If a person is brought up in a family where Mum loses the plot with emotional outbursts, generally the kids learn that's how you deal with things, based on emotion or feeling. If you are brought up in a church where you are taught that 'feeling the spirit' is your gauge of how close to God you are and that your walk with Him is going well and growing, then potentially you may start psycho-analysing your spiritual walk and begin doubting if you don't experience God that way.
I could list for you many decisions I have made in my life, based on feelings, with no real factual basis that have led me down different paths of life, flying by the seat of my pants. I had no vision, no real purpose and simply lived with my feelings as the guide. But it was nowhere near 'simple'. It was confusing, disillusioning, irrational and honestly, quite a selfish way to live. My feelings were all about ME; how things affected ME; who has done ME wrong; what I deserved and expected.
Thankfully God has intervened in my life. What I have learnt from Him more recently is that it's not about me. It's about the truth and promises (facts) that God has given me in the Bible and His plan for mankind. The words in the Bible bring hope, dreams, peace, vision and purpose. Who's purpose? God's.
I am grateful, because that takes the pressure off me! While I was conjuring up a really interesting plan for my life based on my selfishness, God had a different plan that I have now captured sight of and jumped on board with. My feelings are fleeting and changing, God is the same yesterday, today and forever. His facts and love never change. That gives me peace and stability. Feelings and emotions can be good...... great, in actuality! As long as they line up with the facts and God is kept at the centre of them.
What are God's facts and promises? (placed in three sections in order to read them more easily):
Jesus came to the world so that no one who believes in Him should stay in darkness (John 12:46), Give, and it will be given to you (Luke 6:38). A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor (Proverbs 22:9), God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1). I tell you these things so that you may have peace. (John 16:33), Come all you who are burdened and weary and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28), He gives strength to the weary (Isaiah 40:29), The Lord your God is faithful, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him (Deuteronomy 7:9) ...
My unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed (Isaiah 54:10), I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you (Psalm 32:8), I will carry you, I will sustain you and I will rescue you (Isaiah 46:4), The Lord longs to be gracious to you, he rises to show you compassion...blessed are all who wait for him! (Isaiah 30:18), Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid (John 14:27), The peace of God will guard your hearts and mind (Phil 4:7), Pray to me and I will listen to you (Jeremiah 29:12) ...
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5,6), For the Lord gives wisdom (Proverbs 2:5), Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path (Psalm 119:105), The Word of God is living and active...it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow, it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).
I love those promises and I choose them over my feelings! These are some of the facts. They make my path and heart straight, despite what my flood of selfish emotions are telling me.
"For we walk by faith, not by sight." (2 Corinthians 5:7).
Belinda Scotland is from the Sunshine Coast, QLD. She has a heart and passion for God, mission and social justice. Currently Belinda is the Manager of a Swim School and serving her local community.