Thursday, February 20, 2014

Love Your Feelings (by allowing them to prompt you to seek God)

(Today is the Third Thursday of the month. Time for the Hearts at Home Home Blog Hop! This month's topic: Love Your Feelings. Head over to Jill's blog to see what other women have to say on the topic.)

Feelings often lead to confusion. Or maybe confusion is what I'm feeling? Is it okay to rely on my feelings at all? Feelings come and go. Can feelings lead to positive change or are they truly just fleeting? Today's topic "Love Your Feelings" had me wanting to avoid the Hearts at Home Blog Hop all together. The truth is that I don't love my feelings. As far as my actions show, I prefer to bury them altogether.

When I am bombarded by too many feelings, I am motivated to hunt like a lioness on the prowl. However, there is great difference in our pursuits. Her mission is to find a remedy for the problem of hunger as my quest is simply to find a distraction and dull the senses. While the lioness focuses her search is in the Pride Lands, I concentrate on rummaging through my kitchen.

The countless thoughts in my head and the emotions pulsating in my soul overwhelm me. Cravings begin to dominate my decisions and I fixate on the desire for relief from my feelings. "Just this time," I tell myself as I reach into the bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips intended for future baked goods. "Next time I'll choose different."

This moment, like all those before too numerous to count, I look to temporarily quiet the noise. Sugar is only a momentary fix. I know this. And should I forget, guilt will remind me the next morning. For now, though, I listen to the roar of momentary desires over the steady voice of Truth. I seek to find rest for my soul (or what appears to be anyway) by alternating salty and sweet, aimlessly seeking to avoid my tireless thoughts and emotions.

While I know the Truth, I don't allow my feelings to stimulate positive results. I've been on a path of allowing my feelings to define my life. And currently, my life is a bit of a mess. Lysa Terkeurst, in her devotional, Craving God, says "We can't look to our feelings to determine truth. We must look to truth to rein in our feelings."

The relief I long for won't be found in the smorgasbord of choices the world offers us. It is time to quit seeking to numb our feelings by checking out in front of the television, logging in to social media, or overindulging on food. That type of false comfort comes only for the moment. When we choose to oversleep or overbook our calendars in an effort to manage our life, we put off until tomorrow what needs to be dealt with today. The little break we so desperately desire by turning to technology, sex, alcohol, drugs and partying is only a distraction for the rest we are longing for. These outlets may make us feel better momentarily but Jesus' words in Matthew 11:29 can help us reign in our feelings. "Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls."

God offers me rest as I place myself under His authority. He longs for my desires to lead me to Him. However, knowing this Truth is not enough. I must choose to embrace it in the moment. The road I've been headed down by choosing to medicate my emotions instead of seeking clarity is not God's best plan for my life. It is time that I begin to look at my feelings as a trigger to pursue what is best for me. There is a choice that must be made every time I feel unsettled in my soul.

I'm tired of choosing the temporary fix. Today when feelings overwhelm me (because they will... it's inevitable), I am going to choose to talk to God about them. When I find myself standing in front of my pantry, I am going to acknowledge that treats will not satisfy my soul. They will not bring lasting peace. Neither will Facebook... or even a nap.

Today, I'm going to love my feelings by allowing them to prompt me to seek God. My feelings can help me pursue God's best for my life if I simply say "yes" to Him. Distractions won't help me get there. Only honest conversation with the one who is worthy of our confidence will take me where I need to be. Pouring out my heart to Him and reading the Bible to seek what He has to say to me will bring me the enduring rest I am so desperately seeking. It's time to sort through what is going on inside my head and my heart and seek the Truth.

If I seek Him first, He offers peace. It may not come instantaneously and it may not even come in the package I assumed it would but I will choose to trust Him. He has good plans for my life. I'm done with temporary relief. I want the rest God offers.

"Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need." - Matthew 6:33

"...God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything." - 1 John 3:20b

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