Soul Feelings: Unlocking the Messages

I’m a really good worrier.

Feelings can get the best of us sometimes, can’t they? Today’s post continues our look at feelings as messengers.

Door Chambers

When I am under pressure, it is easy to go to the familiar ways of living that make up my flesh. Problems prompt a natural default to anxiousness. I’ve been practicing for a life time and my worry muscles are strong. In fact, I can probably out-worry a lot of folks, but I’m not bragging about that. It isn’t something I’m proud of.

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Feelings carry all kinds of messages.

Years ago my husband applied for a ministry position with an organization. He found out about the job a week after our daughter left for college, and I struggled with the idea of moving far away. The thought of moving again sent me into a spin.

We went for an interview, and it seemed that God was opening the position for us. It was a dream job that would have been a blessing for both of us, yet anxiety raged in my soul–heart, mind, and body.

The inner battle went back and forth, taking my feelings on a ride wilder than any roller coaster. After a career of military moves, my emotions simply refused to cooperate. The day of our interview, we stopped by a church to pray. I surrendered my feelings, the weight of insecurity and anxiety to God, and committed to go where He would send us, even if it meant another transition for our family.

As it turned out, we weren’t offered the position. I felt like it was my fault. I felt that God had tested my faith and I had failed. I accused myself of robbing my husband of his dream job.

Feelings became thoughts. Over and over they replayed in my mind and I began to believe what appeared to be true. I believed the lies my feelings insisted were true.

It’s all your fault.

You don’t have enough faith to follow God.

You are a failure.

This was a deep soul struggle.

God used this experience to show me my need for some soul work. In all of the military moves, I did what military wives do so well, pull it together and carry on.

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Over time, God is teaching me to look for the messages in my feelings. Feelings reveal what I am believing in the moment, and many of those beliefs relate to getting my needs met. I am learning to ask myself, what am I believing right now. What needs are attached to these beliefs?

Beliefs and Needs

  • The Feeling: It’s all your fault
  • The Belief: Making right decisions and performing well makes me OK
  • The Need: Adequacy, worth, and acceptance
  • The Truth: God accepts and loves me even though I struggle and make mistakes. There were many more factors at work in the decision. In reality, surrendering despite my feelings was a victory, not a defeat–regardless of the outcome.

Do you see how this works? So often, our feelings can show us what we’re really believing under the surface. We can rely on our flesh or we can depend on Christ. We can choose our feelings and false beliefs or we can choose God’s truth.

Feelings Questions

What’s behind your feelings today?

You can find the entire Soul Strength series here.

Emotions can be a difficult area of our soul. In my book, Holy in the Moment, I devoted a chapter to practical truths and ideas for processing our feelings in healthy and holy ways. Learn more here or click the image below.

Make the most of every moment by learning practical ways to trust God in every circumstance. Overcome anxiety, perfectionism, insecurity, and other challenges by simple choices to rely on the live of Christ in the moment.

15 Comments

  1. Beautiful post as usual Ginger!!! My favorite question you presented is “What truth do I need to chose?”. I am working on this as well!!! My greatest struggle is not that God can’t do certain things in my life but will He perform the miracle; or answer my prayer; or am I really hearing Him at all? Every time I read your posts I take this amazing, deep breath and I feel a calming affect come over me. The Holy Spirit has always been sweet to speak to me through your posts and especially when we are together and I can hear you and see you in action. I truly believe that even in your anxiety God has used you and continues to use you Ginger. You are so real and I love that about you!!!

    • Friend, you just blessed my socks right off my feet! I have that same struggle, believing He can–no problem. Believing He will…that’s where the anxiousness can start to stir. Your encouragement has spurred me on so many times! I’m grateful for a deep friend to go share these times with. You know what I’m like when the feelings get a whirling!

  2. Thanks for your transparency. This was exactly what I needed to read this morning!

    • I am so glad that God can use my mess to encourage you today. Isn’t that what fellowship is all about–walking this life together and sharing our struggles as well as our victories?

  3. Thanks for sharing this great reminder! I am a worrier champion, too…it’s so easy to give in to feelings and forget about the godly perspective! So thanks for this reminder, may I learn to trust more and worry less…
    A fellow 31 Dayer

  4. Thank you for writing this! I worry about all sorts of things, and I tend to be very self-critical as well. I forget that God is all about Grace, and that He is sufficient for me. That He loves me in spite of my mistakes. Somehow, He always reminds me that no one can ever separate me from His love- not even myself.

  5. I so needed this today. I am in the midst of a military wife “pull it together and carry on” moment that I am not doing so well with. I desperately need to surrender it to Him, or the weight of my own worry will crush me. Thank you for the reminder.

    • Oh, my heart goes out to you and I am praying for you. Lord, grant Laura peace and strength to face the challenges. Help her to overcome worry!

  6. Feelings can certainly show what’s going on deeper in the heart. And they can show where our trust lies. But at the same time…feelings are fickle, and trusting in them alone can be a little unpredictable! God’s truth never is fickle, and is ALWAYS something to rely on!

  7. I am such an emotional person. This was a good read!

  8. I love your perspective, and the beautiful truths God’s been teaching you on your journey. Also, your blog has warmth, texture, depth…very inviting. Thank you for sharing…

  9. Pingback: 7 Holy Habits for Emotional Health | Living by Design Ministries

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