As a short seven-year-old, the edge of the pool felt very safe. Who knew that toes could grip so well? My dad was in the water and I was supposed to jump in and he would catch me. I knew my dad, I knew he loved me, I knew he was going to catch me, and I knew this would be fun. But my feelings were telling me this was not a good idea – the water was deep, I was not very tall or strong, I was not a super swimmer, and there were no lifeguards close by.
This is the struggle we face every day: truth versus feeling – what we know versus what we feel.
That day at the pool, I went with what I knew was true and I jumped in. It was so much fun. My dad caught me (of course!). We laughed, we splashed, and I jumped into the pool some more.
I see this scenario over and over in my life. I read my Bible in the morning and my heart is encouraged and challenged with so much truth from God’s Word. Then, as I start my day, feelings start to press in on my mind. It is far too easy for me to forget the things I know are true (because God has said them in His Word) and instead be guided by what my feelings are telling me.
It is so important that I go prayerfully to God’s Word to look for His Truth in everything. To begin with, it is important that I am honest with the Lord about what I am feeling so that I can address it with the Truth of Scripture. For me, it has been so helpful to write in my journal the specific thing I am feeling and then begin searching the Bible for verses that will tell me the Truth.
Here are two recent examples from my life…
My feeling: This circumstance in my life that I am going through is not fun and I am tired of it. My life will probably never change.
“All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenants and his testimonies.” (Psalm 25:10 ESV) The path Jesus is asking me to walk is His way of expressing to me His steadfast love and faithfulness.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11) “…What [God] desires, that he does, For he will complete what he appoints for me…” (Job 23:13-14 ESV) “For the Lord of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it?” (Isaiah 14:27 ESV) God has a good plan for my life and nothing can stop it.
“But [Jesus] said to them, ‘It is I; do not be afraid’…” (John 6:20 ESV) When Jesus says, “It is I” it means “I AM” like God spoke to Moses in Exodus 3. Jesus said this to his disciples when he was walking on the water across the sea to them in the middle of the storm, but for me, I can know that Jesus is the I AM – He is in control of everything, so I don’t need to fear the future.
My feeling: This person is not treating me very nicely today, so I will just avoid them today.
“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” (Romans 12:10 ESV) I am not supposed to be kind to someone because they deserve it. I am supposed to be kind because it is what Jesus asks of His children.
Dear sisters, these are just two tiny example God’s word is so full of practical Truth for every area of our lives and it is so important that we never let our feelings be in control of our thoughts and actions. The Truth of God’s Word must control us. This means that we must spend time in God’s Word to seek and know the Truth and we must give hard, diligent effort to letting it shape our feelings.
We can never stop ourselves from feeling certain things, but here is the key: will we choose to listen to our feelings, or will we choose to tell ourselves the Truth?