Updated: Nov 20, 2020
In this corner, we've got one of the biggest, baddest fighters of all time.
It can move mountains.
It pleases God.
It is the evidence of things we cannot see.
And, in this corner, we've got not one, not two, but up to twenty-seven fighters:
They are deceitful.
They change like the weather.
They're hard to control.
And, in today's blog post, we're about to find out who wins.
Because, for many of you, this fight between your faith and your feelings has been taking its place in your mind for a while now. Most days seem like a wrestling match between the two, and you're always waiting in suspense on who's going to win. Whenever you step out to try something new, whenever you're in a tough situation, whenever you're waiting for a prayer to be answered, the bell dings and the fight begins, and you're left exhausted, torn between placing your bet on either your faith or your feelings.
And, if I can be vulnerable with you on the blog today, I can tell you honestly that this has been my story for years.
I often find my feelings in contrast with my faith and my faith not agreeing with my feelings—so much so that I've gotten used to it. I'm used to letting the two fight it out whenever I'm stuck, and most days I'm too tired to referee and give power to my faith as opposed to my feelings. And, I know what the saints must be thinking: I oughta strengthen myself in the Lord and give my faith permission to overtake my feelings! That's what good Christian girls do, after all. Right?
But, that's why I'm writing this post today. Because, if I'm honest, sometimes, it's not always that easy.
It can get hard to hold onto faith when there are so many feelings eating away at me, which, being the overly emotional person I am, you could imagine the misery the battle puts me under! And, after participating and tuning into conversations like these—where people of faith talk about their feelings—one thing I've observed a little too often is that we frequently downplay our feelings in an effort to seem more spiritual. We don't evaluate our feelings too deeply because all of them come from ridiculous, irrational thoughts, after all. Right?
Let's just be real. Some feelings are as real as real can get. Some come from real-life challenges, real-life scenarios.
In other words, you might have a valid reason to feel the way you feel.
Some of you are going through a heavy battle right now, and those feelings of uncertainty, fear, and worry are valid. It might not be all in your head. It might not be your anxiety lying to you.
Granted, plenty of the emotions and feelings we feel do derive from our anxious imagination, and we can down spiral into a rush of emotions for no reason. But, that's not always the case. Sometimes, there is a good reason why you feel the way you do.
But, what about your faith? Does your situation give you a valid reason to have faith too?
Because when your faith is in Jesus Christ, you can celebrate this great news:
He wins every time.
Doesn't matter what, doesn't matter where.
If Jesus is in it, He wins!
And, as someone who grew up in a Christian home and a Christian church, I am more than aware of this. But, even with the knowledge that I have, why do my feelings still challenge my faith?
I've asked this in prayer a lot this year—especially this month! Why is it that I'm still torn between my faith and my feelings? Why is it that my faith—something that is most important to me—doesn't always overtake my feelings as fast as I want it to?
Because, it's not that I don't have faith.
I have a lot of faith.
But—I have a lot of feelings too.
And, one obvious thing about the fight between my faith and my feelings is that I only have one faith and multiple feelings, which begs the question:
Can the soldier we find in faith fight so many feelings?
How can faith stand a chance when feelings come in so many different forms and inspire so many other emotions? Which one of them can win if we have a lot of both?
I didn't know what to do with this and was inspired to write this post today for those who don't know either. However, after consistently going to God about this in prayer with lots of tears and frustration, I became most intentional about finding out my answer.
And, I've got great news, readers.
I found the answer.
I found something that's greater than my feelings, found something that's even greater than my faith. I found something that wins every time.
What that is, you may be asking?
Ladies and gentlemen,
I found love.
Better yet, the love of Jesus.
Because according to 1 Corinthians 13:13, while faith is included among those that last forever along with hope and love, the verse makes it very clear:
The greatest of all those things is love.
And, one thing you've got to know about the love of God?
His love for you is great.
There's no greater love than a friend lying down their life for their friend, and Jesus Christ did exactly that 2,000 years ago on the cross just to demonstrate His love for you.
It's not a cliche. It's not a fairytale.
Jesus Christ has insane, wild, mad, intimate love for you. And, His love can reach places in your heart that your faith and your feelings can't. It flows down to untouched places, places you forgot about, places you didn't even know were there. His love can bring the dead things in your heart back to life again. It doesn't stop at the surface. It covers down to the bottom of the iceberg and beyond, stretches far past the ends of the earth. It seeps into the regions in your heart that you can't figure out, those areas that make you react in ways you don't want to, ugly places that you've buried deep down so that He wouldn't see them. Religion pales in comparison to His love. It transforms you. It covers you, all of you—the good, the bad, and the ugly. It holds you when you're unsure. It sustains you when your faith is weak. It strengthens you when your feelings become a burden. His love visits the places in your heart that you haven't been to in a long time.
It's love that wins whether you are full of faith or full of feelings.
And, once I got a hold of this revelation, everything about my perspective changed.
When it's hard to stand strong in my faith, I let myself rest in His love.
When I'm overwhelmed with a plethora of feelings, I allow His love to overwhelm me.
His love reminds me that the ultimate battle, the final match is won, and I can depend on the stable foundation of His love to catch me when I fall.
Now, don't get me wrong—both faith and feelings are important. Did you forget that Jesus Himself said if my faith is small as a mustard seed I could move a mountain? That's pretty important! And, haven't you recognized God's feelings throughout the Scriptures—the verses that record Jesus being angry (John 11:33), grieving (Matthew 14:13), filled with compassion (Matthew 9:36), anxious (Luke 22:44), humiliated (Matthew 27:29-30)? Because feelings are a part of the human experience. God never designed for us to be religious robots. What I've recently learned is that our feelings can reveal a lot about what God is trying to say to us—good feelings and the ugly ones.
Yet, if I let my feelings win, I might do something I wouldn't usually do. And, though I only need a little faith to move a mountain, some days, it feels as if I don't have any faith at all—
which is why I celebrate the greatness of His love.
Because, when I let His love win, I don't have to force anything. I am totally myself in His love. I have identity, I'm reminded of who He is and who I am in Him. I can lead differently—more strongly. I can walk in my purpose. It doesn't matter how I feel or don't feel on certain days. It doesn't matter how much faith I have or don't have when His love for me is concerned.
My faith can fail. And, my feelings can too.
But, His love doesn't. His love wins the war.