“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful.
Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. — 1 Peter 5:6-11
“Above all else, guard you heart, for everything you do flows from it.” — Proverbs 4:23
Feelings can be so real, so tangible, so telling. With our culture, we’re constantly encouraged to follow our heart, let go of our spinning thoughts, and to just “feel things out.”
Moreover, we know that what pulls on our heart is not inherently negative. God created us in His image, He is the one that crafted emotions. Feelings bring life into the world and set us a part from other creatures. They often allow us to feel empathy, to live more boldly, and to take time for what is important.
Yet we’ve all experienced how easily our feelings sway. We can be completely caught up in one all-consuming feeling. We feel it so whole-heartedly we’re totally convinced by it. Then we wake up the next day and the feeling has faded. And everything is okay again.
It’s a terrifying thought: we can’t always trust our feelings.
The catch is that emotions were created for good, just like this world was. However, sin entered the world and emotions got just as infested as anything.
So we can’t live with em, we can’t live without em. We can’t neglect our emotions, but we can’t let them control our every move.
“The key here is refusing to be passive and making a conscious decision to do what’s right. Being passive means you wait for an outside force to move you or to feel like doing something. Use your will to choose what’s right. And pray for God’s grace to give you the ability to do it.” — Joyce Meyer
Ultimately, I want to seek to listen to my emotions, but to know when to have God take over. When a feeling is holding me back from doing good (feelings of fear, anxiety, hate) I pray God will enter in and alleviate it. When my feelings are pushing me towards good (hope, passion, love) I pray God will clarify which direction to take my steps. When it’s not so black and white and I don’t recognize my feelings, I pray God pulls me to His way.
We should trust that our feelings can tell us something, but we should balance that with the knowledge that the Devil likes to come in there and misconstrue that something. Work to give God the upper hand on your heart.