Chapter 17: Don’t Trust Your Feelings
Don’t Trust Your Feelings
I woke early. I prayed, wrote, read, thought. In a different town on a different time zone, in a nice hotel on a nice morning, I decided to take a long walk through the city’s scenery before my speaking event later that day.
I ate breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant. My table beside the window offered a view toward water and shops, a sun rising and a few people already walking.
I ate slowly. Relaxing. Staring outside the place I had never been before, the place I did not know if I would see again. Looking down at the list of places I should see when I walked in San Antonio.
I finished the meal and started the walk. It was peaceful, calming, just as I often talk about and write about. Just as I needed.
How did I feel? Great.
What did I feel like doing? Walking.
Just walking and looking at places of interest. Being a tourist for a few hours.
But we should not always go by our feelings. Our feelings can be affected, influenced, triggered by more than what is best for us. It is good to know how we feel and why we feel that way, though neither of those are simple. They take time. And work.
Equilibrium suggests responding correctly to emotions. Not living in denial of them and not being controlled by them. A healthy balance. An awareness of how we feel. An effort toward understanding why we feel that way. Emotional tendencies, extremes, and uncertainty. Talking through our feelings. Writing about our feelings.
More thoughts and stories about that are waiting.
Here, though, we want to emphasize not being controlled by them. Our feelings should not rule our decisions. Not feeling in love anymore, not feeling like working anymore, not feeling like a fit in that church or team or town or family anymore.
We all eventually feel that way.
We all should be aware of those feeling, talk about them, and work through them.
But no major decisions should be made based only on those feelings. Emotions are tricky. They try hard to overprotect us, to overcompensate, to overreact, to overlook. Logic and discernment and wisdom from unbiased friends bring balance. Prayer and Scripture and confirmation bring balance.
Not just how we feel.
Not just what brings a thrill.
Pleasures are temporary. They fade. Our equilibrium can’t be based on emotional stability.
Pain can be the same. A temporary response isn’t best when we should approach a bigger issue. Our equilibrium can’t be determined only on what feels pleasant.
Now back to my morning described by these two words: nothing serious. I wanted my walk in Texas to be explained by this word: tourist.
- Do you normally hold your feelings in or release them?
- Have you always been that way?
- What part of your tendencies would you like to change?
- How can you develop a deeper relationship with Jesus, so He can transform that?
- Who are you talking to about your feelings?