When feelings are overblown or painful or out of control, we would rather not feel at all. We go to great lengths to squash our feelings; drown with alcohol, food, business, TV,movies, parties, work, shopping, etc.
Do you recall the three fold self- reminder and prayer that I suggest you use always throughout each day? Reminder: I can’t, He can, so try Prayer: Help, Thanks, Show me.
Well, these apply to painful feelings. We will have the right attitued towards them if we remember to look to God for the strength to benifit from feelings and if we thank Him for them and ask Him to show us what they are for.
Purpose of feelings: To identify needs, problems, dangers, opportunities that need to be dealt with and to motivate us to take action and to pay attention.
If you step on a nail, it hurts a lot and keeps hurting. Why is this good? What if you couldn’t feel the nail? What if it felt good to step on nails?
People with leprosy lose the ability to feel pain whether hot or cold or pressure or sharp. They lose their fingers from playing the guitar too long, or their nose tips to cold weather. The government once designed gloves for people without feeling to wear. These gloves measured the strength and length of pressure that they were subjected to, and warned them when they were playing too long. The gloves were useless, the guitar players just ignored the gloves and promised themselves that they would play less the next day. They didn’t and eventually lost their fingers despite the gloves.
It has to hurt to work!
To respond well to painful feelings we need to note them say Thanks, Help, Show me the “nail” and what I am to do about it. It helps to be clear on the feeling. Lots of people identify all pain as ” I feel bad” and it is hard for God to guide them as to how to proceed. Of course they just want it gone.
Purpose of different feeling:
- Sad=there has been a loss, try to repair, replace, and prevent further loss.
- Lonely=there are not enough, and often none, people in our life with whom we can be real and share our heart with and still be accepted and loved.
- Anxious=there is a danger of loss and we need to see if there is something we can do to prevent or prapare for it.
- Angry=someone has done something that hurts us or others and brought themselves danger from God’s anger at sin. We need to restore, not only the victims, but seek to restore the perpetrator.
- Bored= we are living life without asking God what He wants us to do, or we are having trouble seeing the value of repeated behavior such as the dishes and laundry.
- Tired=maybe we just need some sleep, or a break, or maybe we are coming at our current tasks in our own strength and are taking responsibilities for God’s part such as the results.
- Frustrated=(The godly persons “excusable” indulgence in anger?) We are running into the fact that nothing in this world goes as planned and see this as a bad thing rather than as adding to the challange and adventure.
- Rejected=We have failed to have our uniquenes accepted and our contributions to the group and others wanted. We need to rest in God’s acceptance of us and His design of us, then try to be all things to all people if by any means we might win some and bless others.
Well, you get the idea, painful feelings are useful blessings if we notice them and respond and do not cling to them or blow them out of proportion.
“Dear Lord, thank you for all my feelings and the way you have made me. Help me to cast my cares on you and respond according to the guidance or your Holy Spirit.”