Day 9 of Anxiety // Faith Not Feelings

Wiregrass Hope Group's Christian counselors have written these posts on anxiety based on their own experiences and the book Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow. Our hope is for you to live free from anxiety.

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I grew up in a generation with the motto, “If it feels good, do it.” That motto has carried on into our present generation. We tend to live by our feelings and what we can see. Living by how we feel is actually in direct opposition to how God instructs us to live.

Since I have counseled many years at Wiregrass Hope Group, I see women come in allowing what other people say about them, or even what they think about themselves to rule how they see themselves. It takes a measure of faith to begin to choose to believe what God says about them as being true. Many women say that they FEEL worthless because other people have told them, or demonstrated to them that they don’t measure up. I have the privilege to encourage them, that as believers, God has told us how He sees us. And how God sees us is the truest thing about us. It is not condition-based. We are His precious children, daughters of the King, the apple of His eye, a chosen one, made holy and blameless through Christ.

But, you may say, but I don’t FEEL those things. Well, does that make it not true simply because you aren’t choosing to believe it or FEEL it? Then this is where faith comes in. As we choose to believe what is true, we are taking a step of faith, away from how we feel. However, I might add that sometimes we may feel bad for a reason. Perhaps we have some sin that hasn’t been confessed, or a person we need to go to for forgiveness. But what I am addressing here speaks to our positional status in Christ that doesn’t change as believers.

Linda Dillow says in her book, “Faith is based on God’s Word, not on our feelings.” Sometimes we might FEEL that God doesn’t love us. We might even FEEL that God has abandoned us. But what does His Word say? Jeremiah 31:3 says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “The Lord will never leave you nor forsake you.” We might indeed FEEL unloved or abandoned, but if we choose to believe what God says, we can stand on that.

Once an itinerant pastor from Wales that I had come to admire was traveling through Dothan and my husband and I went to hear him speak. He was in his 90’s, in poor health, and had recently lost his wife. After an inspiring sermon, I went up to him and said, “Arthur, how are you FEELING?” He replied in that somewhat British accent, “I don’t consult them.” Wow. He didn’t consult his feelings, but rather lived out of what he had determined God wanted him to do. What an example!

Now I don’t want you to think we should behave like robots and have no feelings. But in this culture where how we feel seems to rule, let me encourage you to major in faith. If we live by how we feel, anxiety is the result. Faith looks to God, but feelings look on what is going on around us. So we need to major on what God says, and He does give us many promises.

Are our eyes on Jesus and what He says in His Word, or on how we feel? My dear mother was such a wonderful example of trusting God during her four-year bout with ovarian cancer. She comforted me by reminding me that God was in control, and she had peace in the midst of pain. She felt bad, but her faith was strong. Indeed, she demonstrated that “God is the blessed controller of all things” from 1 Timothy 6:15 (Phillips). Another time when my oldest son was going through some struggles, he put a daily reminder on his cell phone that said, “God is for me” every time he flipped it open. What are some truths that you could put in the forefront to remind you to walk by faith? Read Hebrews 11:1 and ask God to show you how you can shift from being feelings-based to being faith-based.

Prayer: Pray and ask God to remind you of His truths that apply to your situation. Read Hebrews 11:1 and ask Him to show you how you can shift from being feelings-based to being faith-based.

Further Study: Read Chapter 9 of Calm My Anxious Heart.

Small Group Questions: Questions 4, 7, 8, and 10 of Week 9 in the back of Calm My Anxious Heart.           

Comment: Do your feelings take over or do you turn to God in faith when things go wrong?

Please share your answer either in the comments section below or join the conversation with our Facebook Community Group. #undividedwomen.

// Yvonne


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Yvonne Reid has counseled at Wiregrass Hope for 21 years. Before that, she counseled at First Presbyterian Church for 13 years. She graduated from the University of Alabama, then got her masters degree in counseling from UAB. Yvonne has worked as a counselor for 34 years, counseling adult women. Yvonne is married to Calvin Reid, a physician at Flowers Hospital with the Internal Medicine Associates. They are members at First Presbyterian Church. She has three grown children and three grandchildren. She enjoys reading and photography.