Well Being

When Are Feelings OK?

I remember as a child waiting for swim class to start. The smell of chlorine filling my nostrils and that tight suit digging into my sides. I probably fiddled with my goggles reminding myself that “yes, I did bring a towel.” I also could not wait to get into the pool and swim. My stomach would be all balled up in knots from the excitement. Feelings. In this situation they are so memorable!

Up until the age of 7 I did not know how to swim. I was afraid to even put my head under water, yet I still loved being near the water. One summer I decided to finally tackle this fear of putting my head under the surface. I remember clutching the metal edge of the pool in the shallow end while crowds of kids were swimming about. I think I was with my brother or friend, trying to get up the courage to let my head submerge under the cold depths. As a kid this was a big deal. But what about as an adult? Is it any different?

I certainly do believe that God made us to experience feelings. Like joy, happiness, comfort, triumph, and peace. We were made to love, ya know? At the same time we have this sin issue. We experience failure, disappointment, hurt, and loneliness. All of these things stir up the sinful part of our lives. Things become distorted and we begin to trust these other feelings in ourselves instead of relying on God for inspiration and guidance. Feelings of doubt, fear, anxiety, and hatred.

Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered. – Proverbs 28:26

For a long time I let distorted thoughts govern my decisions and it prevented me from doing anything new or really learning. I would want to start a new project or photograph an event but would be so consumed with fears that I wouldn’t do them. Instead I would be left to dream and feel cramped in my sad state. I had to finally realize that in order to really do something exciting or learn something new I had to overcome my fears and just plunge in. Just like in the water.

When I finally took that plunge at age 7 and let my face touch the water, the rush of water passing my ears was exhilarating. I was only under for a split second, but I tried again and again until finally I was able to stay under for a length of time while holding my nose. My mom signed me up for swim classes and within 2 summers I was on the swim team because there weren’t any more classes for me to go through. I no longer fear the water and actually find that swimming is quite natural for me compared to running or playing other sports.

I have found that when it comes to the spiritual and emotional parts of my life, I really need to rely on God for discernment. Noticing the difference between these feelings and which ones we should trust, comes from the wisdom He gives to us when we ask. It takes simple faith to take the wisdom that God gives us and then plunge into positive adventures! If at first you think that it is impossible to plunge right in, think of this promise…

When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. – Psalm 34:17

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