Can I just say, right from the get go- hormones suck! – blog finished…I’m kidding!
Seriously though, first we hit puberty and experience a lovely surge of hormones! From mood swings to acne, spots to periods and a growth spurt at a totally imbalanced rate- we get it all! Freederm becomes your new favourite skin lotion and the sarcastic joke ‘who’s your friend’ soon gets pretty old as the girl/boy with the perfect skin and clearly hasn’t been blessed with the hormone surge, sarcastically points out the large spot that’s so clearly visible on your face!- rant over!
Then there’s the hormones produced in pregnancy. In the beginning I thought I was actually doing really well not to have turned into pregzilla! But as the pregnancy has progressed I’ve felt a surge of emotions I can’t even explain. One minute I’m elated and happy beyond belief, the next I’m so frustrated and cross that I could throw the nearest object at anyone- mostly my husband- sorry babe! And last but not least- the crying! What is that all about?! The unexplainable weeping, crying, getting upset over the smallest of things or being so sensitive that people feel they can’t say anything around you- they’re walking on egg shells. The worst of all is that I can’t even explain why I feel this way- there is usually no rational reason which only frustrates me more- or again, I just cry!
It’s as I’ve experienced these surge of emotions- usually explained away and justified as pregnancy hormones (at least I have an excuse I guess!) that I’ve come to realise these are all just feelings and are not a true reflection of what I’m actually feeling or what I actually know to be true- does that make sense?
You see, what I know to be true is that I’ve been blessed and entrusted by my Heavenly Father to carry our precious gift of a baby. I know that her Dad and I love her unconditionally and that I would do anything to protect our baby girl. I know how thankful I am that we have been blessed with a healthy, almost full term pregnancy after losing our baby Hope. I know that God has knitted our daughter together in my womb, that he made her on purpose, that he has a plan for her life and that he too loves her unconditionally. All this I know to be true- yet my feelings or my hormones will sometimes tell me otherwise.
There have been many a times where I’ve let my feelings rule my heart and have allowed my feelings to totally take over.
I’m not gonna live by what I feel are lyrics from a song we sing in church that always resonates with me. Particularly in winter I can let the weather outside affect my feelings and that’s me set for the day! The weather is dark and gloomy, so I feel dark and gloomy- and that’s how I sometimes end up living out my day. If someone has upset me that day or Carl and I have had a disagreement, I can walk around feeling low, sometimes cross and almost feel a surge of unhealthy emotions building up ready to overspill- and you know what, it spoils my day!
My feelings have held me back from doing things like giving things a go. I have been writing for well over a year now but it’s my feelings of fear, lack of self confidence and doubt that has held me back from sharing with others.
I have felt so low on days and felt so unhappy that I’ve been robbed of the joy in many a day.
When our marriage was at breaking point, I didn’t feel like I loved my husband anymore. I didn’t feel like we could make it work and I didn’t feel like I had the strength or determination to want to even try anymore. There were many a times I would say ‘I just don’t feel I can do this anymore! I don’t feel like going counselling today- it’s just too painful.’
When we suffered our miscarriage, I felt mad at God, I felt like I couldn’t cope, I felt like I never wanted to have children again, I didn’t feel like celebrating with anyone else in their good news and didn’t feel I could ever celebrate anyone’s pregnancy with them again.
My point is and something that I’ve learned over time, but only now feel prompted to write about is that we are not ruled by our feelings or emotions! I believe we should live by faith; by what we know is true- not by what how we feel.
John 14:6 (NCV)
Jesus answered, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. The only way to the Father is through me.
Proverbs 30:5 (NCV)
“Every word of God is true. He guards those who come to him for safety.”
God is the way, the truth and the life! He is not a God who rules by his feelings- can you imagines if he did! Cheryl I don’t feel like I love you today after what you did earlier, I don’t feel like helping you out today- you’re on your own!
He doesn’t live by emotions and His love, favour and grace isn’t subject to how he’s feeling on any particular day or moment! He’s a solid rock, not swayed by feelings. This is the truth and He is who we should look to when we are unsure of how we feel- look to what we know is true regardless of how our circumstances are making us feel.
In the midst of suffering a miscarriage, I had godly people telling me that God has a plan, he will use our pain, our baby is in heaven, God loves me, He will give me strength, He cares for me, he has good plans for my future- agreed, I didn’t want to hear any of it! But I had the truth being spoken over me, daily, so that my heart and my spirit wouldn’t be ruled by my feelings. That I would live by faith, not by sight or by how I felt.
During our marriage difficulties, we had godly people telling us that we could make our marriage work, God had a plan for us, He cared about our marriage, He can give us the strength and the tools to make it work, He could heal our broken hearts, He will use our experiences to help others, He loves us and cares about our marriage- again all truth- but all things we didn’t want to hear because we definitely didn’t feel like God cared or that we could make it work- all feelings!
Today we are constantly asked; how do you feel? How does that make you feel? I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that question- it’s important to consider people’s feelings and often by asking that question, we can identify just where that person is at. We can try to understand why they are behaving or reacting the way they are because of how they’re feeling.
During our marriage counselling both Carl and I had to listen and understand how the ways in which we’d been treating one another had made us feel- consequently causing us to react in different behaviours. Doctors can use a description of feelings to help them identify and diagnose an illness/condition- but it’s not all dependant on feelings- they look for the facts, things they can see, observations and the truth they know from their training.
So please don’t hear me wrong, I don’t believe there is anything wrong with feeling a certain way. We all have feelings, we’re not puppets or robots- we are real people and life and circumstances constantly cause us to feel different emotions. I get that- I have feelings just like anyone else.
What I’m saying is that I have learned that these are just that- feelings. They are not a true depiction of what you may actually believe, think or even feel at the time- even if you think you do!
I felt so angry that’s why I punched him. I was so jealous and cross that’s why I spread lies about my friend and gossiped. I felt so guilty that’s why I didn’t feel I deserved that promotion/new relationship/another chance. I felt so insecure and inadequate that’s why I never achieved my dream. I felt so embarrassed and angry that’s why I said those hurtful things I didn’t mean…any of those sound familiar? Our feelings can trick us into doing things we wouldn’t normally do and often regret at a later stage.
|Joyce Meyer talks about how to live for God, not your feelings…
‘People live by their feelings more than anything else much of the time. If you listen, you’ll hear people talk about how they feel more than just about anything else.
For example, someone says, “I don’t feel God loves me.” Well, He does. Or “I don’t feel I have a future.” Well, you can. The Bible clearly says God loves us and that He has good plans for us. But when we believe the lies the enemy puts in our mind over the Word of God, we will feel like the lies are true and then live like it.
The Danger of Emotional Living
Emotional people make big mistakes when they base decisions on how they feel rather than obeying God and what they know is the right thing to do. We have to learn how to live beyond our feelings and do what’s right even when we feel wrong.’
2 Timothy 3:16 (NCV)
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for showing people what is wrong in their lives, for correcting faults, and for teaching how to live right.
When I’ve been in the midst of a storm, I’ve always been encouraged to worship and praise God. To lift my hands and praise his name, to pray and pour out my heart- even when what I felt like doing the most was to turn away, bury my head under the pillow, to keep my arms firmly placed by my side and refuse to worship in church- because why at a time like this would I want to be singing my heart out and raising my arms?! But I’ve learned that there is something so powerful in surrendering all to our Heavenly Father- even when we don’t feel like it. The enemy is knocked back for one and is reminded that despite what trial your facing- you’re still giving your father all the praise, you have faith that he’s working this out for your good!
So I encourage you, and as a daily reminder to myself- to not live by your feelings. Stand on what you know is true. God is your anchor, your rock, your solid foundation. The bible, His word, is full of truths, promises and instructions which are just as true for you as for me. Just as true today as they were 2000 years ago. Listen to the voice of God, not the gentle whisper of the enemy who will remind you of how something made you feel and justify acting accordingly in response to it.
Psalm 33:4 (NIV)
For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.
2 Timothy 2:19
But God’s truth stands firm like a foundation stone with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and “All who belong to the Lord must turn away from evil.”
Perhaps you know someone who is hurting today or confused. I’m not saying to disregard how they’re feeling, but perhaps you need to remind them of the truth- something they can hold onto that won’t be circumstantial or waver according to how something does or doesn’t turn out. Perhaps they need to know that they can have a hope so sure, an anchor for their soul- truth- not feelings based on circumstances. Don’t lose your compassion, but help them to know that feelings pass- the truth is everlasting and is something tangible they can hold onto no matter what.
Hebrews 6:17-19 (NCV)
God wanted to prove that his promise was true to those who would get what he promised. And he wanted them to understand clearly that his purposes never change, so he made an oath. These two things cannot change: God cannot lie when he makes a promise, and he cannot lie when he makes an oath. These things encourage us who came to God for safety. They give us strength to hold on to the hope we have been given. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, sure and strong.
Rick Warren also explains this topic really well.
Faith, not feelings pleases God.
‘Yes, he wants you to sense his presence, but he’s more concerned that you trust him than that you feel him. Faith, not feelings, pleases God.
The situations that will stretch your faith most will be those times when life falls apart and God is nowhere to be found. This happened to Job. On a single day he lost everything—his family, his business, his health, and everything he owned. Most discouraging—for thirty-seven chapters, God said nothing!
How do you praise God when you don’t understand what’s happening in your life and God is silent? How do you stay connected in a crisis without communication? How do you keep your eyes on Jesus when they’re full of tears? You do what Job did: “Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.'” (Job 1:20-21, NIV)
Tell God exactly how you feel. Pour out your heart to God. Unload every emotion that you’re feeling. Job did this when he said, “I can’t be quiet! I’m angry and bitter. I have to speak!” (Job 7:11, TEV)
He cried out when God seemed distant: “Oh, for the days when I was in my prime, when God’s intimate friendship blessed my house.” (Job 29:4, NIV)
God can handle your doubt, anger, fear, grief, confusion, and questions.