(Photo by Selma Komisky)
More Than a Feeling
By Amber Johnson
Our feelings can be fickle. They can rise up at the strangest times, catch us off guard, and send us into a tailspin of regret if we act on them inappropriately. At the same time, feelings are important. They help us to recognize personal boundaries, empathize and care for others, and have a better sense of our surroundings.
This past Sunday, I decided to stay home from church because I was feeling ill.
Immediately, I began feeling guilty. I didn’t want to feel guilty, but the feeling was just there.
I then felt myself getting angry as various thoughts passed through my mind, “You’re missing out on in-person worship”, “Your kids aren’t growing in their faith”, “You’ve already missed church enough this year”. As I began going about my morning, I felt a bit silly, stuck, and upset with myself for letting this one decision get to me.
What I decided to do with those feelings mattered. Would I turn my feelings and circumstances over to the Lord? Or, would I continue to talk down to myself for not going to church and lash out in anger at my family because of my conflicted feelings?
Seeking God that morning, He reminded me that He loves me whether or not I’m able to attend in-person worship. I didn’t feel like surrendering my feelings of guilt and anger to the Lord, but I did anyway. As silly as it sounds, I had made a big deal out of something that wasn’t a big deal (but I’m not alone, right?). While gathering for in-person worship is important, it doesn’t make me more or less valuable to the King.
That Sunday, our family worshiped. My kids and I were able to spend time reading through a Bible story, we listened to worship music, and the kids pretended to serve me lunch from their home restaurant. It was a slower day that had me in awe of how God can work in any circumstance despite my feelings.
We can never let our feelings get in the way of standing in awe of Who God is.
While feelings are important (they were created by God), certain responses are needed and necessary despite our feelings. When we consider how much God has given us in love through His Son Jesus, it draws a response from us that is more than a feeling. Through submission to the Holy Spirit, we obey and worship God out of love.And we only know how to love because God first loved us (1 John 4:19).
That doesn’t mean we should ignore our feelings or push them aside. Sharing our hearts with the Lord is part of worship, as it honors Him as Lord. If God is truly the King of our hearts, we are to surrender our hearts to Him no matter what shape they are in. King David is the perfect example of a man who poured out his heart to the Lord time and time again despite his feelings or circumstances in the book of Psalms.
Feelings and circumstances come and go, but our God never changes. His goodness is constant and His love is eternal. His commitment to us does not waver. And His gift of salvation and eternal life through Jesus is completely undeserved. He has pulled us from darkness and chosen us to be a part of His Kingdom. That is a reason to worship Him every day and always!
In this moment, will you pray with me?
God, help us all to worship You right now because of Who You are. You are good, and You have cleansed me of my sins because of Jesus. May I not forget Your goodness and worship You in thankfulness, always. Guide me to share my feelings and circumstances with You, as You are Lord of my life. Thank you for listening to me and loving me, always. In Jesus’ name, Amen.