Feelings Aren't Facts
It's not easy to navigate our feelings when we're trying to chart a direction for our life. They can both confuse us and confound us.
I've spent years fighting my feelings when I'm facing the challenges of life and work. I've denied them when they were uncomfortable to face, given in to despair when they've taken me to dark places, and been afraid to trust them when they're positive and good.
Or I've allowed myself to be influenced by others, shamed, guilt-tripped, or over-analyzed when I've shared my feelings.
We all do this to some extent, and it does us great harm when we do, no matter our motivation.
First, let me say that each one of us is entitled to our feelings. We should be allowed to feel them and not be told by others what to feel when we're feeling them.
But we need to understand something significant:
Feelings aren't facts.
While we ought to give ourselves the space to feel what we are feeling, we shouldn't let our feelings become mistaken for facts. We are not our feelings. They also shouldn't run the show when it comes to defining who we are and what we believe to be true about ourselves, others, and the world around us.
Instead, we should remain curious about what we're feeling and be willing to ask ourselves hard questions about why we feel the way we do.
Jesus was always transparent to those willing to listen to him about how we are defined as people. Not only did he teach his followers that they were loved unconditionally by God, but they were also called to live fully and wholly as human beings created in God's image.
But when it comes to our feelings, we need to be able to trust something about them. They reflect our struggle to live the abundant life Jesus spoke of, the life God intends for us to live.
They are instructive in that they can help us process how we see ourselves if we dare to be curious about them.
So let yourself feel your feelings. Refrain from trying to quash what they are trying to teach you. Allow yourself to ask hard questions about them. Talk to trusted friends or guides to help you process them wisely and well.
And know that you are always loved, cherished, and chosen, no matter what you happen to be feeling at any moment.
May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.