Weekly Blog: Why You Feel Like You Do
Jan 13, 2020 3063
Do you struggle with your emotions? Who do you feel like you do? This can be one of the greatest hindrances in the lives of so many people: their inability to control their emotions.
It can take many forms. You over-react. You lose your temper. You know that there is nothing to be afraid of, but your days are swallowed up in anxiety. I know. I struggle too.
Here is the secret. You can’t control your emotions. But you can control what causes them.
This is the key to understanding your emotions: What you love shapes what you feel. Here are some examples:
- If you love the outdoors will feel renewed when you are out in nature;
- If you love your partner you will feel happy spending time with him/her;
- If you love attention from others you will feel anxious when you don’t get it;
- If you love money you will feel stressed when you want more.
Sometimes, it’s easy to connect the feeling back to the thing you love, like when being outdoors makes you feel refreshed. But very often, the things you love are deep in your subconscious, and it’s hard to know why you feel as we do. It can be really confusing!
Your feelings will always follow what you love
So, when you’re feeling happy and content, take a moment to think of where those feelings are coming from. What need, based on what you love, is being fulfilled by what you are experiencing right now.
And similarly, when you are feeling stressed, fearful, or angry, just take a moment to reflect. What is it that you love, that is causing these feelings?
Let me give you an example from my own life to make this personal and real for you. I often feel stressed and anxiousabout different aspects of my life. Over many years of asking the Spirit of the Lord to show my own heart, I have understood that, in my case, my anxiety stems from my need to control my life and it’s circumstances, which I can trace back to my love of self. The more that I shift my love away from myself and to the Lord Jesus, the more that my anxiety disappears.
Weekly Blog: Why You Feel Like You Do
This principle that what we love determines our feelings is strongly taught in the Bible. Jesus said,
…where your treasure is, there your heart will be also(Matt 6:21, NIV).
He was saying that your feelings will always follow what you love. Then Christ gives us the solution. He said,
…do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’… 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well (Matt 6:31-33).
You have to search deep within your heart and get your priorities right. When you give Christ’s kingdom and his righteousness first place in what you love, everything else will fall into place. Then the feelings that will more and more dominate your life will be the good ones, like love, peace, and joy (Gal 5:22).
I want to specifically mention depression and mental health issues here, and I don’t mean just feeling down or anxious from time to time: we all experience that from time to time. I mean real clinical depression. I’ve heard people say that this is a spiritual issue. That all you need to fix it is to have more faith in God. That’s a cruel and cynical response to people who suffer with depression. You would never say to someone suffering from cancer that all they needed to do was to have more faith and all will be well, would you?
Depression and other mental health issues are a clinical illnesses which has a physiological basis in the brain. As a result, people who suffer from depression need to be treated with proper clinical counselling, and if necessary, medication.
I would encourage anyone suffering from depression of other mental health issues to have the courage to reach out to family, friends, and the proper counselling and medical help, as difficult as that might be. And of course, hanging in there and trusting in God is also vital!