Posted By Aaron Marcelli on June 13, 2012
I grew up in atmospheres that had mostly negative views of feelings. As a matter of fact, I remember individuals I knew and respected preaching against feelings or condemning them as though they were the root of all evil and could in no way be of use. I grew to assume a similar position and being male made it rather easy to downplay my feelings and view as weak anyone who seemed to be controlled by theirs.
This is one of the many things I’ve had to re-evaluate. Perhaps you could say my feelings about feelings are changing. Being driven by our emotions can certainly lead to a frustrating and careless life. As my pastor says, “Feelings make horrible leaders.” But does that mean there is no value in feelings? Did God really give us emotions for no (or only negative) reason?
I don’t think so.
Our feelings are very valuable to us. Whether we choose to express them or hold them in, it is still very important that we have an understanding of our feelings. It helps us be more self-aware when we realize what is going on internally. This is especially true in time of extreme feelings or emotions or perhaps the presence of feelings that contradict or oppose our current situation (meaning depression in times of prosperity or anxiety when life is calm).
What we feel is not always true. But what is true is that we feel the way we feel. And understanding those feelings (and acknowledging they are present) is key in understanding ourselves. Some churches, psychologists, and individuals may have declared a war on feelings, but I believe the reality of feelings is strong. Feelings are the starting point in determining what is true. It is where we are.
Rob Bell said that maturity is having your beliefs and convictions drive the bus and telling your thoughts and feelings, ‘you sit here.’ Perceiving all our feelings as reality could be disastrous. But that does not mean all feelings are useless and that having them is bad.
Our feelings tell us a lot about who we are. They reveal to us the present state of our emotions. Embracing them allows us to understand ourselves and simply say to ourselves, this is how I feel. Now what do I do with this feeling?
Feelings tell you how you feel. It doesn’t mean you stay there.
What has been your understanding of the place feelings should have in our lives?