Yep! It’s a really bad drawing of a dog! But hang in there with me. I’m going to make a point.
FEELINGS are indicators that something is going on inside you; you are responding. They give you strong information. Either something is very good or appropriate, something is amiss or wrong, something is confusing or nebulous, etc. Feelings tell you, “Listen up. I’m trying to tell you what is going on inside you.” And it’s a good idea to do that. Feelings add a whole dimension to celebrating, hoping, waiting, grieving, seeking, loving, exploring, developing, etc. They can be stuffed, ignored, denied, imprisoned, suppressed, or over-indulged. Feelings can also help you live with more fullness. However, to live by them is a mistake. Feelings are like your tail. Your tail is important! It is not cool to cut off your tail, but it is foolish to let your tail lead you through life.
Here is a good list to remember about feelings:
- It’s OK to have them.
- It’s normal to have them.
- It’s important to “name them” – identify them.
- It helps to pay attention to issues causing them (new things, hard things, bad things, good things, challenging things, sad things, even uplifting things like happiness. When is the last time you were intentional about being happy?).
- It’s critical to properly manage feelings and not let them run your life.
- It’s important to God that you talk to Him about your feelings. Be honest. He cares. He will help.
You also have a head – a place of logic, thinking, and calculating that contains data. This thinking center was created by God to function from a platform of FAITH. You may disagree, and I’m OK with that. But to realistically “play out” every fact you employ in your brain, it may surprise you how much every one of those facts is based on faith. Some examples: You trust gravity will hold you to the earth. You trust your car will take you to work and not blow up if you maintain it properly. You trust your body will digest the food you eat. You trust your chair will hold you when you sit down. Your life is filled with thousands of simple examples of your head functioning in the world of faith. You are actually oozing with faith, and all your thinking capacity sits squarely on top of faith. In fact, all your decisions flow from this process. So, to include data points about God is really not out of the normal, appropriate, or healthy human thing to do. In fact, if you don’t include God in your thinking capacity, you are missing a critical piece. God is the only central Being who will help you make sense of everything as you apply your mind to the principles of His Word. Your Faith Head is also where you need to manage your “tail” and the strong information it continually gives you.
The action portion of your life (the body of your life that joins your head and your tail) is your FOLLOW-THROUGH. Everything you think, feel, observe, or process doesn’t mean a thing unless you also put a follow-through plan into place. You need to “act” on the data you keep in your head. As already mentioned, you need to manage your tail that keeps wagging back and forth. You need to make decisions and choices that help you become a mature and intellectually/emotionally/relationally healthy person. Follow-through gives you the opportunity to choose what is most pleasing to God, what matters most in life, what is most loving and kind, what brings the best solutions to the problems that might be present.
So, how is your dog? Faith – Follow through – Feelings. All are important to have a healthy dog. If you prefer cats, add whiskers and a purrrr to the drawing above!
* Material from my book, Reach Back, wk. 8, pg. 69:
** Available also as Kindle book.
*** Art work: Ummm, well, . . . . me?! Sorry!
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