Recently I had my last class with a group of teenagers I’ve taught for the past several years. After class teens gathered in groups, laughing and talking with friends. Really, that’s what teenagers do.
Putting my coat on, I felt the awkward absence of any recognition that I would no longer be with them.
One girl came over and gave me a hug, “I’ll miss you.” Hugging her back, I thanked her with a smile.
Are you going to believe
what your feelings are telling you?
I walked out of the room and took a deep breath, praying, “Lord, don’t let me go there. Don’t let feelings start pushing me around.”
You see, it was easy to feel that silence means they don’t care.
A lack of appreciation or recognition feels like my teaching failed. “If you’d made an impact, they’d be sad to see you go. They’d at least say thanks.” Emotions can open the door to false accusations.
It is a slippery slope, when feelings take control.
They don’t care. My teaching wasn’t good enough, these are thoughts that gain emotional momentum. This day, I’m going to shut the door to the voices in my head.
Emotions don’t pipe down on command. They keep trying to get a word in to spoil the day. Lies expand and accelerate…And your writing isn’t effective either. No one cares what you write. You’re a failure.
So quick. Quick as a breath or the blink of an eye, and I can be on my way to an emotional mess.
Maybe you don’t struggle with this, but for me this has been a major battle of the soul.
We respond to our world through the amazing gift of our emotions. In the moment, truth can seem as close as the latest feeling barging into our thoughts.
Feelings are powerful. Convincing. Enticing.
But they are not truth.
Feelings sometimes shout and sometimes whisper, as they bully and badger, making us believe they carry truth. It all feels so real.
Feelings are responses.
Feelings are responders and messengers. They hold no power to dictate truth unless we allow them to speak false belief to our souls.
We are so tempted to respond to our merry-go-round of feelings as truth. If I feel it, it must be true.
Feelings feel true.
My kids would fall on the floor laughing at this Mom-ism that sounds so stupid…but is so true.
And we fall for it, way too often and all too easily.
I feel rejected–I think I am rejected–I begin to believe I am rejected. I feel discouraged–I am discouraged. I feel loved–I am loved.
The convincing power of our feelings sway our thoughts and we can believe the messages our feelings shout loud and long.
In reality, feelings just are. I feel good, I feel mad, happy, sad, hopeful, disappointed….and on and on they go.
Here’s the thing that matters.
Feelings are not true or false. They are responders and messengers.
What we feel is what we feel. Sometimes we need to give ourselves permission to feel what we feel without judging it. Without lecturing it. Without discounting or stuffing it. (I’m pretty good at that one.) But woohoo we also have a choice in what we believe!
I’m learning to recognize the dangerous slope of negative emotions. I’m learning to pray and trust God to keep me above the fray. I’m learning to hang onto to truth, again and again, until the emotions begin to settle.
So about that day…
This particular day, I was able to hold firm to truth. There are other times when I fall smack down into the muck. But this day, I was able to walk down the hall confident I have given my best.
And this I know–they appreciate the gift I’ve given. I know they value me. And I recognize they are teenagers, consumed with their world. And it’s okay.
I also know that I give my time to honor God and serve others –the responses and results are really His territory, not mine.
I can walk down the hall with a smile and let the feelings just be there until they pass. Which they do, and I am free to love without feelings dredging up thoughts that just aren’t true.
What is the message of your feelings? What is hidden beneath the emotion? This is an area that can have tremendous influence and impact on our relationships.
Discipleship of the heart.
Discipleship goes far beyond how to study the Bible, pray diligently, and share the gospel. On a very practical level, God is teaching us to live in the freedom of truth, not driven or misled by emotions. For me, this has been a practical journey I call discipleship of my heart.
You see, knowledge is just information until we can live it out in the choices we make. This is when feelings lose the power to drive truth and we are free to love others well.
What are your feelings telling you? Are they impacting your ability to love others well?
Learn more about processing your feelings in faith in Chapter 10 of Holy in the Moment.
This is so good. I’ve been allowing myself to be ruled by my feelings lately. But I think we do need to give ourselves permission to feel what we feel. They are real. Thank you for sharing this.
Yes! We do need to let ourselves feel what we feel. I’m learning to bring them to Christ and to not let emotions take control. Balance is sometimes hard to find. That’s something I’ve been pondering lately! Thanks for visiting today my sweet friend.
I have caused great messes because I allowed my feelings to be my gospel. Perfect timing for this. Thanks, Ginger.
Oh Friend, haven’t we all! Oh my, I don’t even what to try to count. I am becoming much more aware of the role my emotions play in what I’m thinking and believing. When they rise up, I try to find a balance between expressing the emotion for what it is, and shutting the door to the temptation to interpret truth based on those feelings. I’m so glad you found encouragement here today. I miss seeing you since you’ve moved!
Ginger! I haven’t been here ina while…but I need that. I need THIS. What a grace I have been given today in this blog. Thank you for your beautiful honestu, your encouragement, and your heart! Xoxoxo
Welcome back! I’ve missed you. Hope all is well in your corner of the world. I’m so very glad you found this post to be encouraging. Realizing how much my emotions have been running the show has been an eye-opening experience that has been very freeing.
Great post, Ginger! I’m glad to have met you today through Faith n Friends. God’s truth is such a powerful weapon we have in our arsenal. 🙂 I am finding that so many times, fear sends us messages in the form of our feelings. Fear projects a false reality. If we choose to embrace it, we empower the lies. God’s powerful love is the lens through which Christ helps us to see the truth. His love reveals our true reality. 🙂 Blessings to you today!
Your comments are so insightful and add to this post. I love it when we can work together to deepen a subject we’re engaging with. Your comment that “fear projects a false reality” is dead on! Welcome to the Corner today!
Hi Ginger! Just wanted to let you know I left this post open until I could come back to read it, and I’m sure glad I did. Such an encouraging sharing of your heart! Recognizing that our feelings just are and that we have a choice in what we believe can really free us… free us to love others well. So powerful. Thank you.
I’m so glad this was helpful for you. This has been a very freeing concept for me, and I hope it will be for you as well. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. Blessings!