Should We Follow Feeling?
Do you follow your feelings? What is the relationship between action and feeling? How can understanding the relationship help us in purposeful living?
As we travel purposefully upon our personal pathways, we often encounter areas of necessary growth…and, therefore, necessary change. Change can be difficult, particularly when we heed our feelings more closely than we do God’s Word.
It is natural to act according to feelings, and in doing so we live according to the flesh. We may justify our actions with intellectualization. Yet, when we live according to feelings, we follow an uncertain (and often unpleasant) course indeed. We know that feelings are capricious, ever-changing and often not stemming from Truth. After all, “the heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)
So what is the basis for purposeful decisions? And how do we factor in feelings? A purposeful course follows decisions based on God’s Word – His eternal, unchanging Truth – no matter one’s feelings at the time. We embrace and give thanks for the feelings that God provides, the feelings that make us human. That being said, we do not honor these feelings above His Word. When feelings trigger actions, we discover unnecessary twists and turns and delays in purposeful progress. We remain stuck in old and often unfruitful patterns.
When we place Biblical action before feeling, however, we experience liberation from chains of past and alignment with God’s Will. God then blesses us with changed feelings…but we must first take the obedient action. In doing so, our feelings begin to align with His feelings, our distastes with His distates, our delights with His delights. “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)
Is following God’s Word in spite of countering feelings always easy? I can say from experience “no.” Is it worthwhile, transformative and freeing? I can also say from experience “absolutely!” This principle, like many, takes practice. The more often we experience a replacement of one set of feelings with a new set of feelings, the more confidence we have in making decisions in spite of feelings – for we trust that those painful, contrary feelings will not last forever. We know that God will replace them with joy and with peace.
Truly miraculous is the way that God transforms our minds, yet we must obediently act in order for transformation to happen. “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)
What patterns are holding you back from bearing more fruit? What feelings are keeping you tied to these patterns? I encourage you to trust God fully that the “the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32b) Embrace His Word, embrace His Love, embrace the transformation that He promises. When you act according to His Word, He will not abandon you in old feelings. He will liberate and uplift you…but you must reach your hand to Him and sweetly surrender to His lead.
Today and every day I encourage you to leave the shackles of the world behind…and allow instead God’s Spirit to transform your mind.
© 2011 Caroline Gavin
In what ways do you allow your feelings to follow your actions?