What do I do with These Powerful Feelings?

This is a complex topic, but I’ll share a few thoughts for you to chew on – if you feel like it.

So, we all have feelings. But are these feelings always true or truthful? Should we express our feelings or repress them? How can we deal with negative feelings? Should our feelings direct our lives? Should we “follow our hearts” as so many say? Should we do something if we’re “just not feeling it”?

 

All of us can experience many feelings in a single day.

We can feel depressed or sad or angry or lonely. We can feel happy and hopeful. We can be cheerful one moment then suddenly annoyed at that old guy driving way too slow in front of us. We can feel like we love someone one moment, then frustrated at them a moment later. We can feel optimistic or hopeless.

Some of us wear our feelings on our sleeve. Some of us, like me, don’t want others to know when we’re feeling down or discouraged. Sometimes our feelings seem uncontrollable – “I couldn’t help getting angry with that idiot!”

Most of us would like to be able to better control our feelings.

One of my favorite movies is “What About Bob?” (I know, I know, I’m an old guy. In case you don’t know that movie it was a comedy from the early 90’s. Yikes – close to 30 years ago! Man, I’m getting old. That makes me depressed. Ooops – I revealed a feeling.)

Anyway, the main character in the movie, Bob Wiley, wakes up every morning, rubs his temples, and says, “I feel good, I feel great, I feel wonderful” over and over in an effort to control his feelings. I try that sometimes. I say, “I love dogs, I love dogs, I love dogs.” Doesn’t seem to help too much.

So, we all have feelings. But are these feelings always true or truthful? Should we express our feelings or repress them? How can we deal with negative feelings? Should our feelings direct our lives? Should we “follow our hearts” as so many say? Should we do something if we’re “just not feeling it”?

This is a complex topic, but I’ll share a few thoughts for you to chew on – if you feel like it.

First, our feelings are true, but not necessarily the truth.

What do I mean by this? First of all they are true, in the sense that they are real. We really do feel things. For example you may feel like a total failure. But are you a TOTAL failure. You may have genuinely believed in Jesus Christ and called on him to save you but you don’t FEEL saved. You may feel like you are a total loser. Or that your marriage has nothing good about it. These feelings are true feelings, but are they necessarily the truth.

“I feel like I’m going crazy in this house.” True feeling. But not necessarily the truth.

Our feelings are not necessarily right or wrong.

“I feel like quitting Christianity.” “I feel like I don’t love my children today.” “I feel like getting drunk.” Is it a sin to feel these things? No.

It is not a sin to be tempted to sin. It’s not a sin to be tempted to lust. To feel the desire to lust after a woman.

Because feelings are not necessarily the truth, and not necessarily right or wrong, we must be careful about jumping to conclusions too quickly about them. We need to discover what is causing the feelings and what is the truth or reality of the situation.

This takes time, asking questions, listening (when others express their feelings), and thinking

We must learn to appropriately express our feelings (in the right setting to people who will listen).

It is releasing to have the other person know how you feel and to think they understand you. For example, “I felt hurt when you said that…” or “I felt like you were treating me as a child.”

Even after forgiveness there may be a need to express feelings.

In fact, sometimes forgiveness asked for too quickly can leave the person frustrated.

Often if we feel like the other person REALLY HEARD US and is aware of our feelings, that helps solve the problem.

Some of us must learn to verbalize our feelings.

Sometimes this is not easy and it’s often easier to suppress our feelings. When I’m discouraged or feeling down about something and my wife asks me, I often don’t want to tell her. Not sure why. I may have gotten this from my dad, a WW2 vet who never talked about being down or depressed. Sometimes I don’t want to share my feelings of discouragement or sadness because I feel weak when I do. And I’m supposed to be strong all the time. But my wife wants to share my life, and wants to know how I’m doing. So I try to verbalize my feelings when she asks how I’m doing.

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