How to Find Truth in the Midst of Turbulent Feelings
- Monday, March 31, 2014
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Sheila Walsh’s new book The Storm Inside: Trade the Chaos of How You Feel for the Truth of Who You Are (Thomas Nelson, 2014).
When you feel turbulent emotions such as anger, fear, and disappointment, it can seem as if a chaotic storm is raging inside of your soul. No matter how stormy you might be feeling, however, the Holy Spirit is more powerful than any storm you’ll ever face. If you seek his help, the Holy Spirit will show you eternal truth that you can rely on in the midst of turbulent feelings. Here’s how:
Find strength in the midst of heartbreak. When you’re feeling heartbroken, it won’t help to hear pat answers from others who randomly throw encouraging Bible verses at you, but it will help to ask the Holy Spirit to lead you to caring people who are willing to take the time to help you carry your burdens. Keep in mind that you’re never alone in your heartbreak even when you’re not with other people, because God has promised to be near the brokenhearted. Pray honestly about your feelings, inviting Jesus into the darkest places in your soul and calling out to him for the comfort and help you need. Read and reflect on Bible verses that describe God’s strength, and choose to rely on his unlimited power to help you in every situation you face.
Find hope in the midst of disappointment. Identify the areas of your life in which you feel disappointed with yourself, other people, or God. Ask God to change disappointing circumstances in your life if he will, but no matter how God chooses to answer your prayers, continue to love and trust him. When you relinquish control of your life and trust God to do what’s best for you – even when you don’t understand it – you free yourself to pursue God himself rather than just something that you want God to do for you. In the process, you’ll discover the hope you have as one of God’s beloved children. Focus on that identity rather than any issue in your life that’s currently disappointing you. Offer your deepest disappointments to God in prayer, and keep a prayer journal where you record how God eventually answers the various prayers you bring to him. Reading through it will encourage you as you reflect on the hope God is constantly bringing into your life.
Find freedom in the midst of bitterness. Answering God’s call to forgive is the key to finding freedom from bitterness that will poison your soul if you don’t do something about it. Remind yourself of how many sins God has forgiven you for, and let your gratitude for his forgiveness motivate you to obey his command to forgive the people who have hurt you. Start by asking the Holy Spirit to bring to your mind the people you need to forgive. Then write each name down and ask the Spirit to empower you to release each person from his vengeance and give them mercy instead. If bitter feelings about the person return later, pray for God’s blessing on that person. Gradually, through the process of faithfully making the choice to forgive despite your feelings, your bitter feelings will disappear and you’ll feel peace instead.
Find love in the midst of shame. Recognize that feelings of shame reflect lies about who you really are, and that truth is what God says about who you are: someone who is loved, redeemed, chosen, beautiful, whole, healed, pure, and holy, because of your relationship with Jesus. Put your shame into words by writing it out and talking about it with a friend or counselor you trust. Turn to Jesus and focus on him rather than your shame. Spend time with Jesus to get to know him better; the more you understand his love for you, the less room your life has for shame. Come to Jesus often to confess and repent of sins that are making you feel guilty, get rid of shame, and receive the forgiveness and powerful love he wants to give you.
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