How to Find Truth in the Midst of Turbulent Feelings
- Whitney Hopler Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2014 3 Mar
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.
Find rest in the midst of regret. Pray about the various types of regret that may be haunting you, such as regret about things you’ve done, things you’ve failed to do, things others have done to you, and things others didn’t do for you. Remember that God will redeem any situation that has caused you to feel regret, if you invite him to do so, which means that nothing will be wasted in your life. So confess your regrets in prayer, grieve your losses, forgive yourself and those who have played a part in your past regrets, and ask God to give you the courage you need to engage in life fully again.
Find joy in the midst of fear. Fear robs you of the joy that God wants you to have, because you can’t fully appreciate what God has given you now if you’re afraid of what might happen later. Whenever you feel afraid, pray about your fears, asking Jesus to give you his peace and the Holy Spirit to renew your mind so you can see whatever concerns you from an eternal perspective. Remind yourself often that God is much more powerful than anyone who, or anything that, scares you.
Find confidence in the midst of insecurity. Choose to place your confidence in God and trust what he says about you rather than believing the feelings of insecurity that you experience. Keep in mind that God’s love for you has nothing to do with your performance. Read and meditate on Bible verses that describe how much God loves you, unconditionally and completely.
Find courage in the midst of insignificance. Whenever you feel insignificant, remind yourself that your life matters to God, and he has significant purposes for you to accomplish. Invite God to reveal those purposes to you, and choose to boldly pursue them. As you do, you’ll become more courageous.
Find faith in the midst of despair. Recognize that emotions of despair are only temporary, while the hope that God offers you will last forever. Don’t base any of your decisions on feelings of despair, because feelings are unreliable. Instead, ask God to give you the faith you need to overcome despair, and wait to make important decisions until your despair disappears and you can sense God guiding you.
Find restoration in the midst of anger. The key to mastering anger is submitting yourself to the Holy Spirit, who will empower you to see everything that makes you feel angry from an accurate perspective. Then you can experience the peace of knowing that God is greater than any circumstances that anger you, and trust God to help you make the best decisions about how to handle those circumstances.
Adapted from The Storm Inside: Trade the Chaos of How You Feel for the Truth of Who You Are, copyright 2014 by Sheila Walsh. Published by Thomas Nelson, a division of HarperCollins Publishers, Nashville, Tn., www.thomasnelson.com.
Sheila Walsh, a Women of Faith® speaker, is the author of the award-winning Gigi, God's Little Princess® series, God Loves Broken People, The Shelter of God's Promises, and a new fiction novel, Sweet Sanctuary. Sheila lives in Texas with her husband, Barry, and son, Christian.
Whitney Hopler, who has served as a Crosswalk.com contributing writer for many years, is author of the Christian novel Dream Factory, which is set during Hollywood's golden age. Her Twitter handle is @WhitneyHopler.
Publication date: March 31, 2014