I was young when Morris Albert shared his song, “Feelings” with the world. I am sure I had feelings before that, but perhaps this was the first time I became aware that people really felt something. If this guy felt the pain of breaking up with his girl at the level of “wo,wo, wo feelings”; this feeling thing must be powerful stuff. Speed ahead to 2015, Maroon 5 is sharing their Feelings. Their feelings are so strong they just can’t help it and they just can’t fight them any longer.
Feelings are certainly an important part of human life and experience. They are part of God’s masterful creating of humans in His own image. Feelings can be a barometer of danger, warning, pause, or intensity; but I wonder if the messages of our society on feelings is helpful. Albert suggests feelings are all encompassing, “feelings, nothing more than feelings.” Maroon 5 suggests that feelings cannot be controlled or conquered, that they in essence control us; we are slaves to our feelings with no choice in how we respond. I see people everyday living out these messages about feelings. The goal of life each day is to feel good or at least feel something at the end of the day and the practice of life is to express my feelings whatever they may be. It doesn’t matter who gets in the way of the flow of my expression, my authentic self is only lived out when I have “let it all out.”
I wonder if we need to rethink the role we give to our feelings. I do not suggest we ignore or undervalue them, but rather that we give them a proper place in our life rather than an exaggerated one. One of the main differences we find between the God of the Bible and the gods of the ancient world, is that God is not a slave to the whims of emotion. God commits to humanity and bears with them at their best and at their worst. Emotion does not rule God’s life, character, and actions toward people. It seems that Jesus and the early church valued self-control, as one of the fruits of the Spirit. So much of Christian character is developed as we learn to control our feelings and emotions, even if it means that doing the right thing right now doesn’t make me feel good at the moment. Think of Jesus, who for the joy set before him, endured the cross… (Hebrews 12:2).
I find myself amazed sometimes, how much I expect to just feel good all the time and how that desire affects my behavior and my interactions with others. What if I let me feelings play the proper role in my life, rather than letting them control my life and actions? What if feelings play a part in the larger conversation of my thinking, my will, my decisions, that are reflected by my actions. What do you think about feelings?