My feelings are not God. God is God. My feelings do not define truth. My feelings are echoes and response to what my mind perceives. And sometimes -many times- my feelings are out of sync with the truth.
When that happens- and it happens every day in some measures- I try not to bend the truth to justify my imperfect feelings, but rather I plead with God: Purify my perceptions of your truth and transform my feelings so they are in sync with the truth -John Piper.
Over time, I am learning that one of the fastest ways to live a peaceful life is the ability to control our emotions in response to wrongdoing- perceived or real.
The manner we perceive things determines how we would feel about them and our behaviour towards it. We can also be miserable or happy depending on what we choose to perceive. In many cases, we don’t see things as they are. We see them as we are.
We feel based on our perception, misconceptions, assumptions, presumptions, mind conditioning that we accumulated from our childhood and environment and the knowledge available to us. As a result, Our feelings do not necessarily mean it is a fact and set in stone.
Note- this differs from instinct/gut feeling that guides us.
We may be angry due to the action of another but perhaps, they are ignorant of the hurt their activities have caused you and even if they are in the know, it might have been unintentional.
There are days you worry your spouse, children, do not love you, the world is against you or that God is not with you because you don’t feel it.
But this may not necessarily be true as your brain might just be playing mind tricks on you. And if you are not vigilant, you begin to react negatively towards them.
As a result, it is necessary to break down every single sentiment you feel, pause and process before you react.
For example, if I am feeling unloved, I would have to analyze my previous conversations and activities in order to uncover what may have triggered that impression in me.
For one, I have a family who loves me unconditionally, a couple of friends and above all God who lives in me. so my feelings at this time are not my reality.
If you feel jealous, then maybe there is a lack of self-confidence or inadequacy lurking in your subconscious.
Are you angry? Find out Why. Most of the time, anger is a secondary emotion masking a deeper issue below the surface. is your anger justified? and even if it is, is it absolutely necessary you act on it? and if you must, are you cruel in registering your disapproval?
Feelings are a significant part of our makeup as humans. But some times, it can mislead us if we permit it.
Moreover, the way we think about issues contributes to how we feel about it. If you are always on the lookout for that person who manages to get on your nerves, all you will feel whenever you meet them is irritability.
If you believe you are being attacked all the time, you would always feel the need to defend yourself through arguments or anger.
Generally, our brain reacts to what we feed it. If we have a perception about a situation, our brain seeks out evidence just to confirm that what we assume is true. So you might be seeing all the negative traits and probabilities because you are looking in the wrong place.
For example, a person who loves to complain will only see what others are not doing right as it would give them room to complain.
Someone with a judgemental heart will be quick to point out the mistakes of others.
Invariably, our action is an overflow from our hearts. Just as the scripture says. Out of the heart flows all issues of life. The value of what you are inside impacts your perception and understanding of the world outside and people you interact with.
To a good person, everything is good but to a skewed mind, nothing should be trusted
The good news is awareness of how and why we feel the way we do can break the cycle. It is possible to control your emotional response to situations if you can figure out why you feel that way and devise a means to fill the void that created the emotion in the first instance. In some cases, there is an evident source of provocation but most of the time, our reaction to the provocation is overblown.
How is this useful to us as Christians?
Simple, one factor that distinguishes us from unbelievers is in the way we conduct ourselves, the manner we react to external annoyances and how we handle situations. What if we decide to amass the right knowledge and drop misconceptions so we can feel the right things and act the right way?
It is so crucial to feed our mind with good stuff which ultimately affects our behaviour and quality of life. Then again, We should also learn to live above offence both perceived or real.
“For God is pleased when conscious of his will, you patiently endure unjust treatment.”
1 Peter 2:19 NLT
To be unoffendable is to be uncontrollable in a good way. Not to be a puppet that moves anytime their string is pulled. We are not responsible for the actions of others but we are accountable for our reaction to it.
Offences must come. So learning to ignore the biggest offences usually begins with learning to overlook the smallest. Enduring aspersion begins with enduring a sarcastic comment. Withstanding persecution begins with withstanding a cold shoulder. Enduring disrespect begins with enduring a slight. To be mindful of what God thinks in day to day offences trains us to be mindful of him when faced with greater misconduct.
In Him we live, move and have our being. Our entire existence is fostered by the Almighty God therefore, mere opinion cannot shake our being.
So, we focus on God’s mind about us in the face of a perceived offence. We exchange retaliation for compassion. and bitterness for forgiveness.
Delayed reaction is future gratification. The negative spur might not matter in the nearest future and you would be glad you didn’t listen to your raging hormones.
Dear Friends, today, make a decision to pause before you act and to let go of anyone who might have offended you. Leave the offence on the table and walk away.
No offence is as big as the one Christ died on the cross for. Forgive people even before they hurt you. Give allowances for the mistakes of others. Let it go. Give it to God. Let Him be the righteous Judge.
Search your heart, are you holding on to any offence?
I end with this,
“Sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs.”Proverbs 19:11 NLT
“Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.”Ephesians 4:2 NLT
Until next time,
You are loved.