Don’t you hate it when your feelings boss you and they are so convincing that you are sucked into every word they shout at you. Before you know it, you’ve travelled down a road that you would never intentionally put one of your freshly pedicured and painted toes on! I hate it when I open the Pandora’s box of unsubstantiated, yet seemingly believable truth. My new favorite quote is “Don’t let your feelings boss you.” from Ruth Chou Simons. But somehow, while I like the truth in those six words, I don’t always hold fast to this mantra.
Even after I lay awake last night, listening to the thoughts in my head, slowly being sucked into the pit of melancholy that loomed before me, I struggled to get free from the cloud that hung over me. Why was I here, yet again. I’ve learned in the past that I cannot believe the truths I formulate because I let hurt feelings, or negative thoughts about myself grow bigger and bigger in my mind, and yet here I was again.
Before you judge me, or roll your eyes at my being a bit dramatic, let me ask you this question: Have you ever felt that twinge in your stomach, or constricting in your throat over someone’s words, or possibly a Facebook or Instagram post? Maybe you are struggling with the place you are in your life right now. Perhaps, you have a dream unrealized. Any of these things can cause you to have thoughts that cause you emotional pain. And then you find yourself listening to the lies of the enemy take advantage of your vulnerability.
Then I did what I usually do….I cried out….loudly….to Jesus. Asking Him to stop the noise in my head and lead me to the real truth. And He did.
5 For those who live according to the flesh have their outlook shaped by the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit have their outlook shaped by the things of the Spirit. 6 For the outlook of the flesh is death, but the outlook of the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:5-6
I could go on and on about the piercing truth in these words. It powerfully points out the very thing that clouds our minds and causes us to not see clearly, to not hear His voice, to get so wrapped up in our own heads that we cannot experience His presence or His truth! Even when we think we are not living according to the flesh, we are. When we wrap our hands tightly around our phones and fill our eyes, our minds, our flesh with videos, pictures, memes, posts as we scroll for hours. Or maybe we take those words we heard in a conversation, or manipulate situations in our lives, or allow our thoughts about ourselves to go south because the world tells us there is no good thing about who we are. All of these are part of this world trying to shape our outlook. But if we……if I am who I say I am….when this path unfolds before me as I lie in bed replaying thoughts over and over, I need to STOP, remember who I am, remember who saved me, remember who has been faithful to me everyday since I surrendered to His calling me, and mostly remember who is shaping my outlook. Because I am a child of God, I have His Spirit living inside me, which means I have the power to step away from these thoughts and allow His Spirit to shape my outlook, not this world. The outlook of the Spirit is life and it is peace. And that is what I want….peace. That is what I want more than anything, that even at this time of my life, I am still being shaped by the Spirit of God.
So sweet friends, if you have stuck with me this far, take a deep breath and face those hurt feelings, those negative thoughts, those flesh shaped outlooks and let God shape your outlook and fill you with life and peace.