All the Feels
Picture an 80 degree day, spent with your family at the pool, grilling dinner and making s'mores by the fire pit as a warm Summer breeze hits your face. Then as the sun goes down you show your kids certain constellations in the clear sky and tell stories way past bedtime as giggles and a certain peace fills the air.
Those days that are too few and far between give me "all the feels".
I love using that term when I am feeling sentimental or ecstatic about life. I can admit that I get “all the feels” more than my husband. I constantly remind him that I am a woman and some part of my being that God created and designed is driven by feeling and it takes discipline to not be controlled by that part of my being. I tear up when I tell a story on how proud I am of my kids, I cry when I see someone close to me cry, I tear up when I see God’s faithfulness coming to fruition in the lives of those around me and when prayers are being answered. There is something very sweet about how God has designed us to “feel” for others we are in relationship with, we are designed to “rejoice when others rejoice, and mourn when others mourn” (Romans 12:15). What a gift to be able to share with others and relate to those emotions we go through in life!
But what happens when we do not have “all the feels”?
Just as hard as it is to turn off the “feelings” portion of my brain, it can be equally hard at times to turn it on. Sometimes, I do not feel like doing another day of homeschooling. Sometimes I do not feel like disciplining my kids for the 15th time in one day. Sometimes I do not feel like cleaning my house or cooking another meal. Sometimes I do not feel like bathing my kids for the second time in a day because they have a hard time staying out of dirt and mud. Sometimes I do not feel like rushing around and getting everyone ready to make it to the 9 o’clock church service. Sometimes I don’t feel like driving to another practice, and sometimes I do not feel like I can take it one more day on a cleanse or special diet plan. Sometimes, I do not feel like forgiving my husband and I just want to feel justified in being mad. Sometimes, I do not "feel" God's presence.
Mmm. Getting real with you all here.
Charles Spurgeon once said:
"There is nothing so deluded as feelings. Christians can not live by feelings. Let me further tell you that feelings are the work of Satan, for they are not right feelings. What right have you to set up your feelings against the Word of Christ?"
Surely, I am not the only one who fights the feels right?
So what do you do when you simply have a hard time mustering up the feelings to drive the motivation to keep doing the things you know need to be done to fill in those gaps of not having all the right "feels"?
You fight. You push through. You know that these feelings are not forever and you reason with the moment. You take it one day at a time, and you stand your ground in Christ because you know that the enemy is on your heels. He comes to steal, kill and destroy the moment you give him an inch.
If I could suggest 3 ways to fight for "all the feels" it would be as follows:
1. Make a choice. Do not camp out in the area of exhaustion and defeat. Choose to change your perspective because your perspective will change how you feel.
2. Surrender. Call out to God and let him know exactly where you stand. It may feel awkward and cheesy, but when you understand that you are a child of the living God, that he cares deeply about you and wants you to have a life that is full of abundant joy, sometimes it only takes the surrender of our self to confess that we are not able to fight through life on our own.
3. Trust. Trust that God will help you love others when you do not feel like you have the strength. Trust that God will help you to forgive when it does not feel like an option, trust that God is always with you even when you do not feel His presence. Trust that even when you feel like you have no idea what you are doing on this homeschool journey that He does! Trust, because greater is He that is in you that than he that is in the world.
I have been (very slowly) making my way through Psalms this summer. I read that if you truly want to know the heart and character of God, read Psalms. After all, if you ever need clarity on why someone would do something, and you do not seem to have the answers, when you know the character of someone, that is often all you need to know.
All that to say, the resounding theme has been about the Lord's steadfast and faithful love. I am sure I have underlined that phrase at least 50 times now and I am only on Psalms 65. I need to share some of these verses with you because it is powerful and will hopefully encourage you.
"My faithful God will come to meet me" —Psalms 59:10
"I will sing of Your strength and will joyfully proclaim Your faithful love in the morning. For You have been a stronghold for me, a refuge in my day of trouble. To You, my strength, I sing praises, because God is my stronghold— my faithful God." —Psalms 59:16-17
"Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before Him." —Psalms 62:8
"...in a land that is dry, desolate, and without water. So I gaze on You in the sanctuary to see Your strength and Your glory." —Psalms 63:1-2 (italics added by me)
I love the boldness and heart of David in the Psalms. Trust in Him at all times you people! Ha. It is hard to stay in the place of keeping a good perspective and keeping heart when you feel as though you are in a dry place. Not only does the enemy sneak in when we choose to stay in that place of no feel land, but he also sneaks in during busy schedules and a lack of commitment to growing spiritually. I don't say this to offend anyone, I am saying this from experience, as in recent experience.
As much as I hope you are encouraged I truly needed this encouragement myself today. I hope you have a wonderful week and I pray you feel encouraged by the presence of God as you go through your days. Not only do I hope you feel encouraged, but I hope you have "all the feels". ;)