Take Your Temperature

temperatureFeeling unloved doesn’t mean you’re not loved.

Feeling lonely doesn’t mean we’re alone.

Feeling rejected doesn’t mean we’re being rejected.

Feeling jealous doesn’t mean there’s reason for jealousy.

Feeling a myriad of tumultuous emotions doesn’t mean you’re life is a torrent.

Before you send me angry messages of “How dare you tell me my feelings are unjustified!,” let me assure you that’s not my intent. I’m not saying your feelings aren’t what you’re experiencing. I’m not invalidating your feelings. You feel what you feel. What I’m suggesting is this: Consider that feelings might not reflect the reality of a situation. That’s why we’re studying emotions in the context of who God is and who he created us to be. Emotions are intended to enhance life. Sometimes they’re positive and sometimes they’re negative. We’re not going to get rid of all negative emotions, because life isn’t always going to go smoothly. But our emotions can be godly, which means our emotions will accurately reflect the reality of the situation and help us respond in healthy ways. (excerpted from Pure Emotion Bible Study)

I was standing outside on a hot day, a very hot day, and I felt hot. I could feel sweat dripping down my back as my body tried to cool itself down. I found some shade for relief.

I’ve also been outside on cold days, bundled in layers, rubbing my hands together, trying to shift my weight to keep my body moving to generate warmth.

In both extremes, regardless of how hot or cold I felt, I’d venture to guess my actual body temperature was a fairly consistent 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. God created the body to regulate temperature, and it does a really good job at it.

Regardless of how I feel, I need to trust God to filter the reality of a situation, including my emotional response, through the truthfulness of the Holy Spirit. I can feel angry, but the reality of the situation doesn’t call for godly anger. I can feel frustrated, but the truth of the situation may not warrant a frustrated response. The list goes on and on. And with each emotional response, instead of asking, “How do I feel?” and responding out of that feeling with a justification of my behavior, I need to immediately follow the “How do I feel?” question with “Does my emotional response accurately reflect the truthfulness of the situation?” Only God can tell me that, because only God has a sovereign perspective.

We can’t just skip over how we feel. We are emotional. God gave us emotions, and he gave them to us to enhance experiences, not distort them. If we rationalized all of our responses based on how we feel, we’d live in chaos. However, if we don’t recognize our emotions at all, we’d live in denial of who God created us to be.

Our physical bodies feel excessively hot or cold, but our internal temperatures are usually consistent. Our emotions might feel excessive, but God’s truth reveals the reality of each situation, so we can respond with accuracy.

Are you trusting your own assessment of your emotions more than you’re trusting God’s assessment of them? Are you responding with accuracy?

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