Truer Than I Feel

Posted on Wednesday 13 May 2009

The importance of how I feel – on any given day, about any given subject – is highly overrated.

There. I’ve said it. I’m a feeling person, yes, but the truest thing about me is not how I feel. Never has been – never will be. There is something truer than my emotions.

Years ago, a good friend and I had just begun to understand that our feelings might be lying to us, frequently and with abandon. So we began a joint exercise that has stood the test of time. We started with a blank sheet of paper, folded once vertically down the middle. At the head of the first column, we wrote “This is how I feel.” At the head of the second column, we wrote “This is what is true.”

The source of column one? Our own emotions. The half truths Satan frequently whispers to our fears and insecurities. The source of column two? God’s inspired, written word. The premise? What God says about me and my circumstances trumps what I’m feeling when there is a discrepancy between the two. Every time. I don’t deny my feelings. I air them like dirty laundry. It’s funny how even writing out what my mind has been insisting causes me to question its veracity. Somehow lies look even faultier in my own handwriting than they sound reverberating in my soul.

So, an entry on the left of “my list” might read “forgotten.” And the corresponding entry on the right would say “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget,¬†I will not forget you.” (Isaiah 45:19)

Or, the left column might read “I feel fearful of the future,” and the right column would remind me “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11), or “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38)

See how it works?

Mike Mason once wrote in a beautiful book called¬†The Mystery of Marriage “Love is an earthquake that relocates the center of the universe.” Because of the great love by which God has loved me, I am able to “relocate” the center of the universe from my unreliable emotions to God’s utter reliable truth. It just takes a pencil, time, a little honesty, and the nearest Bible.

Someone asked me the other day if my list has changed over time. It has certainly grown longer – and the way I feel – the left hand column – changes with the wind. But that right hand column – well, steady she goes. Because no matter how I feel, “I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws” (Psalm 119:30), and “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)

Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. (Philippians 4:8)

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