Tuesday, June 2, 2015

You Aren't How You Feel

My daughter is not a bear.  In case any of you have ever been confused by some of her actions, growling, and "claw" attacks, she is not actually a bear.  Just a funny and precocious three year old with a propensity for imagination and ridiculousness.  It is quite fun to play "bear" with her, and I will sometimes even initiate it by growling at her.  The best part of being a bear is that the game usually turns into the bears going to "sleep" and snuggling together.

Even with all that fun, I have never sent her off at night to go sleep in the woods, nor have I encouraged her to climb inside of the bear exhibit at the Zoo so she can take her fun to the next level.  She is still a three year old girl who needs her mommy and daddy to remind her to NOT pick up dead squirrels off of the road(true story....).  There is a logical and reasonable approach we take to raising our children;  There are immutable and intractable facts about WHO they are.

In culture today we have accepted and promoted the idea that we ARE how we FEEL or what we DO.  

This is in direct opposition to reason, logic and reality.

It is also destructive and dangerous.

Think about this simplistically.  If how we felt was the best arbiter of what was best for us we would all eat healthy well balanced diets, exercise, never procrastinate, never act towards people with anger, purposely hurt other peoples feelings or act selfishly to the damage of others.  Virtually all of the problems in the world are a testament to people following their "feelings".

Don't get me wrong, feelings are great.  I like to get allll the feels...when appropriate.  And NOT when they are counterproductive to truth and reality.

Have you ever been mad at someone for something they did?  Like really really mad?  And that anger caused you to act towards them in a way that reflected that you were angry?  You have???  Hey, me too!  Welcome to humanity.  But what if you found out that what you thought they did to you did not really occur?  And you had been completely wrong?  What do you do?

You might say that you of course would change your ways.  But you know what is interesting...we often have become so invested in the way we are feeling that we invent, or search for, reasons to justify how we have been feeling.  We begin to process how we feel through a psychological behavior known as "confirmation bias".  In a nutshell, it simply means we seek out any justification or support for what we already have chosen to think/feel and refuse to acknowledge or address any information that is counter to our already established perspective.

So how do we counteract this?

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.--Genesis 1:27

The very foundational reality of our immutable selves is that we are created as reflections of the very nature of God.  In our unique and beautiful creation we are the most truly "US" when we seek to emulate and reflect that reality.  Everything, and anything, else is a distortion of that Truth.  And this is not some amorphous flexible concept that says, "However I feel is the way God made me so therefore that is who I am and no one can say differently".

The wonderful thing about God is that He is not some unknowable floating cloud of ephemeral smoke that is impossible to know and be known by.  He has revealed his Nature, his Character, and his good Design in Scripture and the person of Jesus Christ.  We are not left wondering, "Am I really a bear?"  We instead told in no uncertain terms that we are image bearers of the Most High.  And, that His character that we made to reflect is clearly described and we are called to live in alignment with.

Our "flesh" and feelings can be powerful.  But they are not ultimately true.  Courage and bravery is not succumbing to how you feel, but instead having the willingness to say, "Not what I feel, but what is true about God and therefore about me".

Adorable and sweet until he thinks he can do this off of a tall building......

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