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.
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.
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.
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.
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.