Emotions are a tricky thing. Not black and white, but a million different shades of gray. I could make any neutral-lover jealous with all the grays I’ve been creating as of late.
Up and down. Back and forth. Here and there. Maybe this … no that.
This tilt-a-whirl of emotion I’ve experienced lately could be attributed to the state of transition I’m coming out of—newly established routines attempting to find their foothold, it might be unknowingly mourning a time in my life that’s now essentially over, anticipating the new and exciting opportunities ahead, seeing friends moving on to other places in life, or just the fact that I haven’t hung out with my dog enough recently (he’s pretty cute, ok?).
Whatever it is, I’ve probably cried more times in the last two months than I care to admit, but I’ve also smiled a whole lot too. Weird, huh?
We’re emotional beings, all of us (at least I hope it’s not just me). And even if we don’t like to admit it, at times our emotions can get out of hand. Feelings can rule us, taking hold of our lives in ways that are not only harmful, but also not true.
I feel like this person doesn’t like me, so it must be true. I feel inadequate, so I must be doing a bad job. I feel anxious. I feel scared. I feel like God doesn’t care about me.
I’m not saying those feelings aren’t real, but they’re just that: feelings. Feelings as opposed to truth.
Recently a friend was telling me about how when she feels nervous or afraid, she compares her feelings to God’s promises, His truth. This practice helps her determine if what she’s feeling is true or simply an emotion she has the power to control.
I’m feeling afraid. Ok, well, what does God say about fear? Conveniently, it’s right there in 2 Timothy 1:7: “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but of power and of love and of sound judgement and personal discipline.”
That fear may still be very present within us, but this feeling isn’t from God, it’s from us. Because of that simple fact, we have the power to control it, to combat what we’re feeling with God’s spiritual truth.
Easier said than done, right? Trust me, I’ve been there. I’m still there. But if I’ve learned anything from this overly-emotional-my-roommates-think-I’ve-gone-off-my-rocker season of life it’s this: faith isn’t a feeling.
Faith, the belief that God is sovereign, that He’s real, and that He is ultimately good isn’t something that changes at the drop of a hat, with a banged-up car, after a good day at work, or because a friend moves away. Faith is constant. Unmoving. Never-ending. Reliable. A boat to float in, not a wave to be ridden. It doesn’t change just because we’ve had a really bad day, or even a super great one. God is God, no matter how we feel.
This isn’t an easy truth to accept, not to mention put into practice. I know I still fail at not letting my emotions affect my faith every day (or hour, or minute). But I do know that we don’t have to do this alone. Luckily we have a God who will walk alongside us every step of the way. Not to mention family and friends who still accept us for each unexplained emotional breakdown (thanks guys).
So let’s rejoice in the truth that we’re more than a bunch of gray-painting emotional Picassos, and rest in the fact that we have a God, we have a faith, that’s so much more than a feeling. I know I will.
words and photo by Kaylyn Deiter