You may have heard someone say, “I’m going with my gut feeling.” The person may go on to explain that he feels a deep conviction that he should make a certain decision. Sometimes this decision may turn out to be beneficial, at other times it may not. So, should you trust your feelings?
What is a feeling?
The dictionary defines feelings as “a belief, especially a vague or irrational one.” It gives the example, “he had the feeling that he was being watched.” The word irrational in the definition is the operative word. Is your feeling reality-based or is it a vague hunch, suspicion or even apprehension? If it’s just a hunch, have you had this feeling in this situation before? For example, if you are in a crowded restaurant and feel you are being watched, you may turn around and find that you are indeed being watched. Hopefully, it would result in a pleasant encounter, but if you are in a lonely place and suspect you are being watched, you would do well to get out of that place as quickly as you can.
Feeling dictates behavior
In both instances, your feeling dictated your behavior, and you reacted rationally. If, on the other hand, you snatched up your purse and fled from the restaurant, your action would be irrational- unless you had good reason to believe that someone was following you to harm you.
Purpose can control your feelings
Let’s look at feelings from another angle. You wake up one morning not feeling to exercise, or worse yet, not feeling like going to work. Should you give in to either of those feelings? For the first example you may say, “Maybe,” but for the second, you would say, “Of course not.” Why would you choose to obey the feeling to not exercise but ignore the feeling to not go to work? The answer lies in purpose. You set your mind on purpose ahead of time and keep it set. If you set your mind the night before to get up and exercise the next morning then most likely that is what you would do.
Focus on God’s word
Some days can be difficult. The weather, our moods, our circumstances, our health can all affect our feelings and our behavior. We need strength that only God can give us. By focusing on His word, we can face and overcome the challenges that surface from time to time. One of my favorite verses for dealing with negative feelings is Philippians 4 : 13 – “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
In conclusion, God has given us feelings to help guide our behavior. From the above, we can see that our feelings can be rational or irrational, depending on how we perceive the situation. By having a sense of purpose and focusing on God’s word, we can control those negative feelings and not have them control us.