Learning to ignore our feelings (Guest post by Deidra Manning)

I used to live life based on my feelings. We all do that at times, and it is one of the biggest mistakes we make.

It’s nothing new – Satan has used our emotions and feelings to try to separate us from the truth of God since the beginning of time.

Think back to the garden. Eve was tempted by the serpent to eat the fruit God told them not to. She was tempted by her feelings. She was the only woman on the face of the whole earth – no one else to compare herself to, no one else to tell her something was wrong with her – it was already a part of her, the way God made her that Satan used against her.

He told her God lied. Satan told her God didn’t want her to eat the fruit because it would make her like God – she would know good from evil. He played on her emotions, got her to doubt, made her question.

Maybe I’m not good enough the way I am – the way God created me. I need to eat that fruit to make me better, wiser.

And of course, we all know the choice she made. Rather than taking God at His word, trusting His plan, believing that He wanted what was best for her, she took the bait. She, for whatever reason feeling she wasn’t good enough the way God made her, chose to eat the fruit so she could be better.

And that same old trick still works on all of us today, thousands of years later because we still struggle with our feelings. And in the world we live in it is easier than ever.

We have millions of people to compare ourselves to, a society that tells us we must look and be a certain way if we want to be successful and happy. We let our feelings drown out God’s truth – what He says about us. And then we wonder why we’re not happy, why nothing is ever good enough, why we have unsuccessful relationships, bad habits, why we live in the same old cycles and patterns.

It’s because we are still making the wrong choice. I’ve done it all my life – listened to my feelings rather than His fact. I never felt good enough about anything, ever – that me, the way I was, the way He made me just wasn’t good enough. Just like he did with Eve, Satan pointed out an area of inadequacy. And like Eve, I had to come up with a way to be better.

I didn’t talk to God first. I didn’t ask Him what He thought, I didn’t read His word, or believe His truth over my feelings. I made the choice to trust my feelings – to believe the lies. As a result I began the hardest struggle of my life. Over a period of months I became bulimic.

I had been a Christian since childhood and knew God’s word, but I never really, truly believed it. That’s why it was so easy for me to fall victim to Satan’s schemes. I believed my feelings more than I believed God’s facts.

But thin never led to fulfillment, exercise never brought me peace, a smaller pants size never gave me joy. Those things only came when I truly believed in Jesus’ love for me, when I treated the spiritual problem the right way – spiritually.

We have to choose how to treat our problems and issues – with society’s standards and pop culture values or with God’s word. We have to stop making physical issues out of the things that are spiritual. We are left empty every time we seek to fulfill internal needs with external resources. Feelings are based on perception, circumstances, current location, and situation. Facts are based on truth and proven history. Feelings are fickle and temporary – they constantly change. Fact is permanent, cannot be changed, is solid and stable.

Living by feelings leads to fear, fighting, fluctuation, frustration, falsehood, famine, failure, and flesh. Living by God’s facts leads to faith, freedom, fortification, fulfillment, focus, forgiveness, fertility, favor, and finish. We have to choose. The decisions we make show where our belief lies. Everything about us shows our faith, indicating what we believe and how we make our choices – by feeling or fact. Choosing to live by feelings tells God we don’t need Him. It says that we trust ourselves more than we trust Him.

Scripture is filled with facts. God cannot lie and is only capable of truth. His fact tells us that He loved us so much He sent His son to die for us, that whoever calls on Him will be saved, that Satan is a liar and is defeated, that He will never leave us or forsake us, that He has cast out every fear, that we can have salvation, forgiveness, provision, strength, peace, hope, power, love, a sound mind, that He has good plans for us – to prosper us and to give us a future and a hope.

You choose what you will believe and how you will act. You are in charge. You don’t have to be ruled by feelings. Read His word and find out what He says about you, write down His promises, fill your head and heart with His words. Then when Satan comes at you using your feelings against you, you can quote Scripture – that’s what Jesus did to defeat him – he has no come back for that – God always has the last word.

It takes commitment and vigilance. You can’t fight if you’re not prepared. It takes daily practice. We have somehow come to believe that struggling means we’re failing, but struggle doesn’t indicate failure – it indicates fight. It shows you’re not giving up or giving in. It reveals your determination and character. It proves that you are willing to war against those forces against you. Choose to live in His fact over your feelings. Don’t fight alone – fight with His armor. He works only for your good when you are committed and fully trust in Him.

(please visit Deidra at her blog, The Middle)

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5 thoughts on “Learning to ignore our feelings (Guest post by Deidra Manning)

  1. i don’t want to hurt anyone with sharing my heart. picture me whispering with red cheeks and tears in my eyes, but i can’t not say something, so if i can whisper? i whisper this humbly because who am i? i have much to learn myself but God is the creator of our feelings…He wants to be our Source in all things, and yes we must seek truth, but the answer is to seek healing of our feelings and emotions, because they too can be redeemed, not ignored and endlessly fought. i could say more but will keep it simple. i believe christianity has distorted the truth of our God given feelings and emotions. eating disorders, abuse (self or inflicted by others), sin and many things lead to not being able to always trust our feelings…but also, not always able to trust our thoughts, our minds, nor can we always trust what others say…which is why we must always seek the Lord for wisdom in ALL things… but to single out feelings and emotions in this way is to be just as imbalanced and to distort the truth. please forgive me if this seems negative i have just known so many women who continue to be tormented with teachings such as this … i write this with humility and grace in my heart and much, much love…and may our beloved Creator heal us, our minds, feelings, and make us whole.
    xoxo

  2. hi rain, thank you for sharing your heart here. i understand where you’re coming from, but i also get what deidra is saying, and i think you’re both right. i think you’re both desiring to seek God for truth, and that there are TRUE feelings and FALSE feelings. i don’t think it’s as easy as disregarding our emotions altogether, but i also think deidra is right in that emotions can definitely be used for evil. i think we need to seek God in everything, and to ask HIM to propel our emotions as a rudder propels a boat… love you girls. you’re both on the same team, you really are, deep down 🙂 love e.

  3. Thank you, Rain and Emily, for your thoughtful responses. I would like to clarify a point that perhaps was misunderstood. I am not of the opinion that feelings are to be disregarded and not worked through. The point I was trying to make is that too often we allow our feelings to control how we act and the choices we make. When we act on feelings alone, we are more susceptible to making the wrong types of choices.

  4. i saw this post last week, but just now commenting. this was a wonderful post, Deidra. its so good to be reminded of God’s truth–that we are mere human, and his ways are higher than our ways, His thoughts higher than our throughts. His ways beautiful, our’s in error. i agree with all of you. feelings are real, and there is a reason why we are feeling them–sometimes they come from deep pain or abuse to be worked through–and sometimes our feelings are just our nature that goes against God. either way, i want God’s truth, i desperately *need* God’s truth in my life to keep me on the right path or i will falter and i will be hopeless on my own. and as Rain says, i want my feelings to not just be fought, but to be healed and redeemed. not my works, but a work of grace only God can do. thank you, ladies, for adding to the conversation. thank you, Deidra, for reminding us of what’s most important. blessings.

  5. i agree with rain that too many teachings in chirstianity teach women to ignore their feelings and it’s really taught us to fully disengage with our womanhood and with our abiility to really know ourselves. and how can we love others if we really don’t love & know ourselves. i don’t think the answer is ignoring our feelings or living completely led by truth/fact. i’ve personally found deep deep healing from God in my feelings in my emotions. i think ppl are afraid of feeling their feelings. when our feelings are coming from a source of healing a place where God has touched of love, then we will find where truth and our feelings/emotions cannot be seperated and feeling our feelings is healthy good and godly.

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