July 5, 2017
Are you the emotional type? Or are you more of a thinker? Whether you process life through your emotions or your thoughts, it’s important that you not only understand, but also learn how to manage the way you feel. We are not to be governed by our feelings or make decisions solely based upon them, however we do need them. They help us know what we need, and how to respond to the environment around us. I learned a long time ago that feelings are not right or wrong; they just are. We have to hold them in their proper place in our lives.
One of the main attributes of noble people is their ability to manage their emotions, feelings and passions. Why? Because it’s not what we want that defines us; it’s what we will! Feelings are great servants but terrible masters. While they are extremely valuable, it’s important to recognize that how we feel isn’t always how we are, and what we feel isn’t who we are. Learning to “feel” in a healthy way all begins with accepting the fact that feeling is a part of how God created us.
God created us with the ability to feel—to sense our emotions and know what is going on inside of us so that we can respond appropriately to the world around us. Without the sense of “feeling,” we would not know how to interpret the other natural five senses or to navigate through life. For example, when we feel depressed, we may deduce that a cold virus is coming on, and that we need to do something to bring health to our body. When we feel afraid, we may deduce that we should run from the growling dog. When we feel discouraged, we may need to reread the prophetic words that have been spoken over us. The same thing works in a positive light! If we feel joy from dancing, we could come to the conclusion that this is something that brings us life. If we shut down our negative feelings we run the risk of shutting down the positive ones with them. And the bottom line is that if we disconnect from feeling, we also disconnect ourselves from understanding what we need or how we’re processing the world around us.
Your Feelings Are Not Shameful
Many people are afraid to actually feel. So many lies can get in the way of us tapping into our true feelings, like the lie that feelings are a sign of weakness and immaturity, or that feelings are opposed to faith and maturity in Christ. That is total nonsense! Sadly sometimes the church has taught that emotions are bad – that they are part of the “flesh.” Clement, who was a Christian Gnostic and early Church Father, impressed aestheticism on the church. He taught that emotions were part of the fallen sin nature of man, and therefore needed to be cut off in order to grow spiritually. He stated that, “The goal of the Christian is not to simply manage one’s emotions, but to eradicate them.” Yikes!
Feelings and emotions are an essential element of the way God has made us, and a key to our wellbeing. They’re signposts from our soul to tell us helpful information that empowers us to be healthy individuals. Being aware of our feelings and emotions is the beginning of understanding what we need in our environment, and what we need from our environment – Spiritually, physically, and relationally. Growing in our awareness of what and how we feel allows us to request and pursue our needs being met by God, ourselves, and others, which makes perfect sense. So this week I want to encourage you to practice asking yourself these three questions: What am I feeling right now? Why am I feeling this way right now? What am I going to do about the way I feel?
Is it easy for you to access your feelings and emotions? How do you practice healthy feeling? I’d love to hear about your process in the comments!
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