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Surrendering Our Feelings To God

November 19, 2021
By Leah Rabb

“Feelings are great liars. If Christians worshiped only when they felt like it, there would be precious little worship. Feelings are important in many areas but completely unreliable in matters of faith.” ~Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction

The book of Psalms often speaks of raw emotions and the expression of them in metaphor. There are cries out to God in pain, repentance, joy, and praise. The psalmist expresses a range of emotions, but at the same time describes God as steadfast and unmoving. The Psalms contrast emotions to God’s nature. Emotions are a way we are designed. We are emotional and we do have feelings, but it is with faith we assured the steadfastness of God and His love.  Our emotions should not hide the nature of God from us.

In learning to grow as a disciple there is a surrender of our entire beings to God including how we feel. A way we can help children demonstrate this is by asking them to hold out their hands with their palms up. In this exercise, I ask students to put all their feelings in their palms. “Let's put worry, fear, and anxiety in our palms.” Then I ask them to close their hands and squeeze. “Squeeze tight!” Then let them open their hands and give their emotions to God. Often there is a child that pitches his emotions better than Lance McCullers Jr!  This exercise helps visualize a release, a surrender, from strong emotions that can overwhelm a child. 

We as adults also have to surrender to the Lord’s will over our feelings. Often we think of surrendering our finances, our desires, our decisions, but often we forget to submit our feelings. Eugene Peterson describes this as an act of obedience in faith. Even when we don’t feel God, we obey. We have faith that He is there and with us. This means that our feelings don’t limit God’s promise.  Our feelings don’t override our obedience. And even when we don’t feel like worship, we obey. Even if we don’t want to love our enemies, we obey. It is a sweet surrender to our feelings, replaced with a faith that God is who He says He is. Our feelings change, but God is faithful, steadfast, everlasting….unchanging.

Leah Rabb
Elementary Principal
Logos Preparatory Academy