Do any of you remember that song of…was it the 70s?? I guess you would have to be older than 40 to remember that song. I don’t even know the rest of the song. But that first line…Feelings/Nothing more than feelings…is critical for me to remember today. Maybe for you, too?
I came off of the busiest week of my year (it is like this every year…you’d think I would get used to it!). It is full of preparation and activity and not much housework. When it is finally over and I wake up on Monday morning, I find myself feeling exhausted after all of the activity…feeling discouraged about the housework that is screaming at me to be done….feeling grumpy because I am so tired and discouraged. The question is: will I allow myself to obey those feelings? Or will I obey God’s Word? Will I be short-tempered, impatient, unloving, and selfish? Or will I be long-suffering, kind, and unselfish?
I think all of us are susceptible to giving in to our feelings. They scream inside our heads. Sometimes so loudly that we can’t hear anything else. But if we don’t heed them, it gets easier and easier to ignore them.
It makes me think of Paul and Silas in Acts 16. They were beaten with rods until they had “many stripes” and then they were thrown in prison in an inner cell with their feet in stocks. I can’t help but wonder if…had they given in to their feelings…they would have laid there plagued by discouragement and blaming God for allowing this to happen. I could just see it. “God, how could you have allowed this? We were doing YOUR work and you allowed us to get beaten, thrown in prison? What will become of us? What now? Are we going to die? Are we going to endure more beatings?” They (like I often do) could have stewed about what is to come. They could have (as I often do) dwelled on all the horrible things they had endured and were continuing to endure. They could have blamed God.
But if you read on, you see in verse 25 that they prayed and sang hymns. Prayed and sang hymns. Yes, I wrote that twice on purpose. For my own good. I don’t know about you, but when I am giving in to feelings of discouragement or depression or selfishness or anger, the last thing on my mind is praying or singing hymns (or worship songs!)
I wonder if Paul and Silas sang because they FELT like it…or if they felt like it after they started singing?
And so, today, I hope- instead of focusing on my discouragement and exhaustion…instead of complaining- I hope that I can work above my feelings and be a blessing to my family and friends. I hope you can do the same! Because, after all, they are only feelings. Nothing more than feelings.