A conversation from a long time ago prompts today’s word-of-the-week…
My friend looked at me like I’d just landed from Mars. “Of course love is a feeling. When you fall in love, it’s the greatest feeling in the world!”
“And then you fall out of love and it’s the most horrible feeling in the world, right?” She nodded.
“And you always fall out of love, because that mushy-gushy feeling doesn’t last.
“Real love, the kind of love you can count on, is a decision.”
We had a long discussion that evening. My friend never gave up; it was years later that she quietly told me, a bit sadly, “I think you were right. Love is a decision.”
I’m reminded of this old conversation because a guy told me recently that his faith didn’t feel very strong. He wondered if something was wrong.
“Nothing’s wrong,” I assured him. “Feelings come and go. They are what they are. But…
“Faith isn’t a feeling. Real faith is a decision.”
Feelings matter. A lot. It’s good to understand, talk about, and share your feelings with God. But we need to keep them in their proper place.
Jesus said, “Take courage. I AM. Don’t be afraid.”
He wasn’t telling us to deny normal, natural feelings of fear. Everyone feels afraid at times. He asked us to decide, to choose not to be controlled by those feelings. And to assist, He placed Himself, I AM, in the center.
Don’t feel like forgiving? That’s likely pretty normal, but authentic forgiveness is a conscious decision. I choose to forgive despite my feelings, and when I slide into a desire for vengeance I lean on grace and forgive again.
Most of following Jesus isn’t nice, flowery, gooey feelings. It’s simple obedience and basic daily choices and messing up and starting again.
That’s all Jesus did, except for the messing up part. It’s what He asked of his friends.
What simple choices can you reaffirm? Might be a good week to accept your feelings without allowing them to take over.