Updated: Sep 24, 2020
More often than I’d like, I find myself in my feelings. For whatever reason yet again, I allowed my circumstances to dictate how I feel. I came to a point where I got tired of repeating the cycle with some emotions I found myself constantly entangled in, but for the life of me I could not figure out what I needed to escape. Often, it feels like walking through a spider web. You don’t see it coming, but when you feel it, you are desperately and frantically trying to wipe it off of you. For about 2-5 more minutes after, you feel slightly paranoid that either there’s still some web left on you or that in the worst-case scenario, the actual spider is on you.
Soon after that, you calm down and carry on with the rest of your day. So I thought: what changed that had you frantically swatting invisible strings of grossness off of you to you being so calm? And it hit me. Faith. You had faith that you were no longer in danger. It’s time to apply that same faith over our feelings. I can see you saying, “Okay ma’am, that’s a stretch.” But actually, it’s not. Think about how you feel when you walk through a spider web. That feeling doesn’t last nearly as long as the faith you put into not having a spider or web on you anymore. Feelings are fleeting. They are temporary and sometimes, not very trustworthy. However, faith is foundational, strong and the source of trust. If I haven’t caught your attention yet, don’t worry! Let’s unpack this more.
Where are you putting your faith?
According to the dictionary, feelings are an emotional state or reaction. Interestingly, they used that word reaction. Growing up, my mom coached me to respond to my situations instead of reacting to them. Reactions imply that you lack self-control and that you are dictated by your emotions. A person solely dictated by their emotions can be unreliable because emotions can change at the drop of a hat.
However, a person who responds makes a conscious and calm decision on how to proceed with the given circumstance. How we respond to things can dictate the quality of life we have because life is 20% of what happens to you and 80% of how you respond. But what are our responses based on? Our responses are based on what we put our faith in, but what is faith? Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. You may not be able to see in the natural how this is going to work out for you, but because your hope and trust in the spiritual, you know it will work out. Example: You went home every night and completed your homework study assignments, so the next day when the teacher announced a pop quiz, you were able to respond positively, because your faith lied in your studies from the night before. You may have also noticed how others who did not study reacted by complaining and worrying. So now my question to you is where are you putting your faith? For me, my faith lies in God. Before, the haughty part of me would’ve said that my faith is in my confidence and abilities to handle everything that comes my way. Through the trials and errors of adulthood, I have learned that that will not always work. I am human and imperfect. So I failed, a lot! I found myself frustrated quite often until I realized that my faith was misplaced. I decided to put my faith in God. The only one I knew who could not fail is God so I knew I had a much better shot putting my faith in God. Now that’s easy to say when things are going well, but what about when they are not?
God has every failure and victory
When things are going well, it’s easy to rejoice and praise God. Our faith file (previous instances that increased our faith that we reference when times get hard) is full. But when things are down, and we feel like we failed, our faith diminishes. Often, I felt like God didn’t care about what I was feeling and what I was going through. There go those fleeting feelings again making me react. After careful examination, or after situations play themselves out, I realized that our failures and losses are still apart of God’s plan. Romans 8:28 says “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” It’s an all-inclusive plan with the one who cannot fail and who’s Word can’t return unto Him void. So what are we freaking out for? Where is your faith?
Need another example? I was in a relationship as a young “adult”. I thought that man was the man I wanted to be with for the rest of my life, but short story shorter, after four long years, we broke up. I was devastated. I was so frustrated with God because I felt like I held up my end of the deal. I tithed, went to church, prayed, etc. so why did this relationship that I wanted so bad fail? Much later in life, I realized that had I stayed in the situation I was in, I would not have the job, opportunities or the man I have now that have made my life exponentially better. We have to intentionally enable our trust in God when things do not go our way because it’s all a part of His ultimate plan where we come out on top. Change your “what if” based feelings and thoughts into “even if” by activating your faith in God. Instead of “what if I don’t pass this test?” try “even if I don’t pass this test, there’s still time for me to try again and do better.” Instead of “what if I’m not qualified” try “even if I am not qualified, God’s favor will follow me.” Bring your emotions into subjection as we did with our thoughts. I want to challenge you today to choose to have faith in spite of how you feel and watch things begin to shift. I always say, “if you want God to move, then move (out the way).”
I don't want to walk away from this article thinking that I'm asking you to ignore how you feel, because that is not healthy and dishonest to your true self. However, I urge you to take inventory in what you give your energy to. Do you champion for your victories (faith) or do you dedicate your energy to complaining about your situation (in your feelings)? What you focus on manifests. This week, no matter how hard it may be, intentionally focus on your faith over how you feel.