I sometimes don’t value feelings
Okay! so woop! I finally got to the double digits of my confessions. That’s huge.
I read a book this weekend called Faith and Feelings that revealed whole new areas of sin in my prodigal pharisee life. Feelings are sneaky. Often, prodigals are those people who fling themselves headlong after each twinge of emotion. I pride myself on being part of the pharisee clan on this one: i hate emotions. Hate them. I avoid them at all costs, and being (of course) an emotional woman, my hatred and avoidance doesn’t work. They sneak up on me at all times of the day and I do my best to stuff them down until the day when they explode on me.
I picked up the Faith and Feelings book because – like your typical pharisee- i was looking for some new amunition. Some new theology to back up my ability to judge those crazy prodigals who love feelings. Unfortunatley, I got blown up myself.
It was painful and weirdly freeing to be reminded that we have emotions becasue we are image bearers of God, and our emotions like our words and deeds are amazing reflectors of the glory of God. It was painful and weirdly freeing to be reminded that emotions aren’t something that ‘happen to me’ they are things I am accountable for. In my case, they are generally sins. Right emotions reflect God because they revel in His provision and His promises. Ungodly emotions are sin – regardless of how they play out, because they are disobedience to His commands and rejection of His provision.
I realized – through the course of reading this book – that the pharisee in me despises emotions. I am the poster child for the phrase: ‘follow God regardless of how you feel’. While we should follow God, the Gospel is pretty clear that following God is never seperate from emotions. It’s always us pharisees who manage to make the gifts of God into martyrdom and manage to make the pleasures offered at His hand a chore or duty. God has called us to glorify Him by enjoying Him. He has commanded me to delight in Him, to experience joy in His Holy Spirit and to walk in obedience to Him out of an overflow of love and satisfaction.
Feelings matter to God. So what’s the answer? to be disobedient if we don’t ‘feel’ like obedience? No. Of course not. But to repent for our emotions the way we repent for other sins – with an authentic desire to change and a surrendering to the power of God. Step one though is to believe that my jealousy, my anger, my lack of delight in God, my frustration, even my saddness is Sin. [caveot: of course there are Godly ways to experience all these emotions. I’m talking about feeling these things out of an overflow of doubting God; His goodness; His truth.]