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How to overcome your flighty and fickle feelings

iStock/Puttachat Kumkrong
iStock/Puttachat Kumkrong

Would you say that your life is rooted primarily in facts or in feelings? Do your emotions influence many of your decisions? How reliable is your worldview? You may not realize how much your worldview impacts your daily outlook, which in turn generates a variety of feelings.

Feelings can certainly be warm and comforting, but they can also be highly discouraging and depressing as well. In other words, feelings are extremely flighty and fickle. Good feelings can show up unannounced and remain in your heart for a while, but they can just as easily disappear the moment you encounter a little turbulence in your life.

Everyone wants to feel good. Some people turn to drugs or alcohol for the buzz they desire. Others pour themselves into their career or the pursuit of material possessions as they chase after that elusive dream of experiencing Heaven on earth. But no matter how hard a person strives for a personal utopia, fickle feelings remain an ongoing issue.

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You know what I mean because you have experienced it for yourself. Think about a time when your feelings overwhelmed you and prompted you to make an unwise decision. Something triggered your emotions, perhaps because of your past, or perhaps because of your internal dynamics. The pathology of negative feelings can often be difficult to trace. Let’s face it. Our minds and our bodies are broken as a result of sin, and our brokenness has a huge impact upon our feelings.

Temptation of course comes into play here as well. It is easy to fall into temptation in response to our feelings. For example, who hasn’t been guilty of venting to others verbally or in writing in response to some unpleasant feelings? Honestly expressing our concerns is one thing, but when driven by negative emotions we tend to do more harm than good. Rather than being constructive, our words become destructive.

It is no small task to keep our feelings in check. But one of the biggest mistakes we can make in this area is to treat the symptoms rather than addressing the root cause of our brokenness. The main problem we have as human beings is not fickle feelings, but a genuine disconnect from the One who created our emotions in the first place. You see, we were not created to “feel good” apart from a healthy relationship with our Creator.

The Christian Post recently ran a story titled, “Near-Record Low of Americans ‘Very Satisfied’ with Lives; Married, Regular Churchgoers Among Happiest.” I have a simple question for you. If you have no interest in gathering with other Christians to worship the Lord, what makes you think you are on a path that will produce true contentment? After all, one of the most important things you could ever do is build meaningful relationships with followers of Christ. Many believers have learned the secret of ultimate contentment, in spite of their flighty and fickle feelings.

The Apostle Paul had been a terrorist before he learned this secret for himself. It led him to write, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation” (Philippians 4:12). How much money would you be willing to pay to learn this secret for yourself? The truth is that you cannot buy true contentment. You need the Son of God to deliver it directly to your soul.

“For by Him (Christ) all things were created: things in Heaven and things on Earth… (Colossians 1:16). And God’s greatest creation was man and woman. (see Genesis 1:26-27) But when man sinned against God, it messed up our internal wiring. 

Many negative emotions flow from our sinful nature, and these feelings are extremely difficult to control. There is, however, one way to “plug the dam” so to speak. The flow of negative emotions is greatly reduced by accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. God understands why we experience particular feelings, and the Holy Spirit is able to replace our erratic feelings with peace and comfort.

Perhaps you have been told that the main reason to accept Christ is to get right with God and receive everlasting life in Heaven. If so, you were told the truth. But I would like to add something to that equation. Another benefit of receiving Christ as Savior is that He can curtail the negativity that flowed unhindered within your soul prior to being born again. 

Does this mean that Christians never become overwhelmed by annoying feelings? Of course not. We are still in this world, and we are still in these bodies. But here is the thing. We are no longer left to deal with our feelings all by ourselves. Our Creator now lives within us. I am talking about the very One who left Heaven and came to Earth to suffer and die for our sins on the cross. It was the only way our relationship with God could be repaired, and Jesus completed this much-needed repair through His death and resurrection.

And by filling our mind daily with Scripture and praying often to the Lord, our soul is flooded with contentment. Jesus can literally overwhelm our unreliable feelings by His grace and power. 

You see, you really can build your life on facts rather than feelings. And when your life is built upon the historical events of the Messiah's death and resurrection, it makes a huge difference in your ability to overcome fickle feelings.

So, will you invite Jesus into your life today? If you will receive Him by faith, He will immediately forgive your sins. And you will be on the path to peace with God today, tomorrow and forever.

Dan Delzell is the pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Papillion, Nebraska. 

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