Fear, Worry, and Anxiety- The Feeling Level

“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. Matthew 6:34 (NLT)

Last time we learned that the feelings that result from fear, worry and anxiety feel bad.

Often, people who struggle with fear, worry and anxiety react rather than thinking. This becomes habitual and so the person falls into a habitual response and it becomes “second nature’ to become a “worrywart.” They have trained themselves to respond this way and have done it for so long they do not know how to respond differently. Feelings are a normal part of life but they ought not to control our lives.

Did you know that your feelings are actually symptoms? Feelings are indicators of what is going on inside in the heart (inner-man). Read this next sentence slowly and carefully-
Your feelings are actually by-products of your thinking.

Making a distinction between what you believe and what you feel is critical because your attitudes reflect your inner beliefs about self and your problems.

Humans tend to operate on three levels- the feeling level, the doing level, and the heart level.

Our feelings are a part of our emotional package and part of our cognitive processes (which are our ability to think, reason, and communicate). Feelings may be the first indication that there is a problem. (Matt. 6:34) When we experience distressing feelings it may be the result of sin at the doing (or did) level. (Psa. 38:3-10; Gen. 4:6-7) For example, David (often a heroic example of our sinful issues) sins with Bathsheba. In Psalm 38 we learn of David’s distress because of his sin. There is a cause-effect on his emotions.

Another example would be Cain in Gen. 4:6-7. Cain is angry at God and Abel rather than being repentant for his disobedience. His own sin is the cause of his anger.

Also on the negative side, a person can feel happy and be involved with unrighteous deeds. (Ex. 32). My co-counselor Pastor Bruce Roeder gives this example:

“In Ex. 32 while Moses was receiving the Ten Commandments the people built the golden calf and had a wild party. Apparently their sense of joy was connected with their sin! It illustrates how emotions cannot be trusted as truth.”

Do you find yourself obeying your feelings? Living by them? If so, then I would venture to guess that your life is unstable, and that you often find yourself living in a see-saw emotional upheaval, never knowing what feelings are right around the corner in the next hour of life. This is a difficult way to live and not at all what glorifies God.

You are not to be mastered by anything, including feelings and emotions. You are to be ruled by the Holy Spirit of God. Allow Him to be your guide rather then those feelings of worry, fear, and anxiety. Trust that God is completely aware of all that encompasses your life and that He is working in and through your circumstances.

Next time- The Doing Level