I’m at the end of my third trimester of my first pregnancy. It’s a grave understatement to say my emotions are all over the place.
I’ve never been one to experience a lot of anxiety in life. Sure I have the occasional bout of stress, usually related to performance or achievement, but I haven’t had a lot of trouble ruling out thoughts regarding things that are highly unlikely or improbable…until around 9 months ago that is.
For example, my dog didn’t want to eat his food last week and wasn’t acting himself. After this continued for a few days, I was convinced he was going to die. I could see the headline (don’t ask me why, since it wouldn’t make national news anyway) now – “She came home one day and found her dog dead.” On a very logical level, this seems absurd and totally unlike me – but thoughts and emotions like this have persisted in my heart.
There are many times when we’re vulnerable – maybe because of sin, maybe because of a legitimate influx in hormones during pregnancy, or possibly because Satan is coming at us hard – but our response should ultimately be the same… to cling to truth in the midst of our swirling emotions and fears.
Truth is freedom. It’s hard to feel that way when you don’t feel that way, but the great thing about truth is that it isn’t at all based on feelings, otherwise it wouldn’t be true. Using our feelings as a gauge for truth is dangerous spiritually and emotionally. It can lead us into dark places or it can mislead us into placing our trust in relationships which will prevent us from knowing God more deeply.
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “if you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
John 8: 31 – 32
Clinging to truth, rather than emotions, brings freedom. You may not experience the “feeling” of freedom right away, but that’s where perseverance and endurance come in. In the same way you choose the joy of Christ you have to choose the truth of the Gospel, even when it feels so counterintuitive.
If you’re like me, sometimes you may just come before Jesus saying “Lord, I don’t feel this way and I want to feel this way. Humble me Lord and help my heart align with what you say is true.” It doesn’t always change my heart right away, however slowly and surely I continue to seek him more until my heart is renewed and freed by his truth.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.Philippians 4:8
Place your mind one what is eternal and unseen. I know, from personal experience, that I most often give into my emotions, and then spiral downward from there, when I am focused on what I can see, or at least my interpretation of it.
Meditate on the holiness of the Lord. Recite scripture to yourself. Fill your free time with worship and praise to Jesus. Focus on the basics of the Gospel and let them renew your joy because Christ came for you and delights in you and wants to know you. These things should get our mind off of our feelings, a lot of which can be very self-focused, and onto His unchanging character.
So the next time you’re tempted to continue down the path of letting your thoughts and emotions run your mind, ask the Holy Spirit to help you stop and focus on what’s eternal and true. I pray that this gives your heart rest as you continue to seek Jesus to help you truly cling to what’s “honorable…lovely…and worthy of praise.”