Joyce Meyer - Fickle Feelings
Well, thank you for joining us today on, "Enjoying everyday life". You know, the Word of God can help you enjoy your everyday life because it teaches you principles that will help you do that. And so, today, I wanna talk to you about emotions. And I'm calling it, "Fickle feelings", because emotions are fickle and what I mean by that, is they're ever-changing and you never know exactly when they're gonna change. And I say sometimes they're there when you don't want 'em, wrong ones. And then, when you do want 'em the good ones, they disappear, you don't know where they went. You can go to bed feeling one way and wake up the next morning feeling a completely different way and you don't have any idea why.
And so, one of the things that's been extremely helpful to me in my walk with God is learning, and it takes a good while to do this, that feelings are never gonna go away. You know, so often we pray for God, "Well, help me not to feel this way. Help me not to feel this way". And what he wants us to do is learn to walk by the spirit, not by the flesh. And that means that we have to recognize feelings that are wrong and let them do what they're gonna do, but learn to go beyond them. We have to learn how to manage our emotions instead of letting them manage us. Or, the last book that I wrote on feelings is, "Living Beyond Your Feelings".
More than anything else, when people talk to me, they tell me how they feel. And if you listen even to people that talk to you, "I feel this. I don't feel that. I feel. I feel. I don't feel. I feel. I don't feel". And we have to learn how to compare how we feel with what God's word says. And if our feelings don't agree with the Word of God, then we have to learn to basically say, "You know, I wish I didn't feel this way, but I do. However, my feelings are lying to me and I'm gonna believe the truth of God's word". I like to say that there are facts and then there's truth. And in God's economy, truth is greater than facts.
The fact might be that I do or don't feel this certain way, but the truth is I can live on the other side of those feelings. Here's a real revelation for you. You can do what's right whether you feel like it or not. That's not hard to understand, but that's the main thing that people don't do. We think we have to feel like it to do it. You can get up early and spend time with God before you go to work whether you feel like it or not. You can be diligent and take care of everything that you own, as a way to say, "Thank you", to God for giving it to you, whether you feel like it or not.
And so, you know, when you think about the subject of forgiveness, so many people think, "Well, I've tried to forgive but I still feel". And the point is, is forgiveness is not about a feeling it's about how you treat people. It's a decision you make that even though somebody treated you unjustly you're going to treat them the way God tells you to treat them. And so, between praying for people and treating them right, your feelings will eventually, catch up with your decision. Let me say that again. Feelings will eventually, catch up with our decision. But if we wait for our feelings to be right, we may never end up doing what's right.
So, emotions and the danger of following them. Well, the devil is our true enemy. But because we are so emotionally driven, he uses our emotions to deceive and derail us. The word fickle means, "Deceitful, erratically changeable, subject to whim, and unpredictable". And as I said, we need to learn to live beyond our emotions. We're always gonna have them, but we don't need to let them be in control of our actions. Now, how many of you in here think that you understand this so far? And how many of you think although it might be challenging that it would be possible to do that? See, you don't have to eat the whole bag of chocolate chip cookies just because you feel like... And people say, "If I eat one cookie, I have to eat the whole bag full". No, you don't. You do not. You can eat one if you want to, close the bag up and put it away.
You know, we, who believe that we have authority over evil and authority over the devil, who's our enemy, sometimes, we wanna have authority over the devil and I'd say, "We don't even have authority over a sink full of dirty dishes, yet or a cookie". So, we need to start taking some authority over some basic things in life before we get around to trying to do the big stuff. It's vital for victory and for character-building to learn to do what is right, no matter how you feel. See, our character is supposed to eventually, emulate the character of Christ.
I love Isaiah 54:17, in the Amplified Bible it says, "No weapon formed against you shall prosper but every tongue that rises against you in judgement you shall show to be in the wrong. This peace, righteousness, security, and triumph over opposition is the heritage of the Lord". But then, the amplified says, "Those who become like the ideal servant of the Lord". So, a servant of the Lord is not just someone who goes to church on Sunday morning, or someone who is a greeter at church and so they're serving God. But to be a servant of God, we are to learn to be Christ-like in all of our ways.
And that's obviously, one of the biggest things that we're missing in our Christian society. People are not impressed because we have bumper stickers and go to church, but they are impressed by how we make them feel. I heard, one time, that people don't always remember what you say to them, but they always remember how you made them feel when they were around you. And so, one of the things that I've learned is to do what's right... I want you to listen to this carefully, because it's really helped me a lot. If I do what's right when it doesn't feel right that means I'm growing spiritually. If I do what's right because it feels right that's still a very good thing, but that means that I have already grown in that area.
See, there are some things now, that used to be really hard for me that just aren't hard at all. But there's other things that are still difficult for me to do, so I know when I'm faced with one of those things and I do it no matter how I feel, if it's painful to me, I can just say, "Well, I'm growing spiritually".
See, we think that we can grow spiritually without having any discomfort. Good morning? And that's not gonna happen. And I wanna make sure that everybody watching television understands that. Growing spiritually is not always or even usually, going to be comfortable. It means that you're gonna have to choose to do what's right even though you don't feel like doing it. You know, I used to think if I felt like telling somebody off then that's just what I had to do. But I learned that I could smile at somebody when inside everything in me was going, "I would love to just slap you in the face". But I could go ahead and still do what I knew God wanted me to do.
And let me tell you something. When you do that, the Lord appreciates that. He honors that. So, remember, you don't have to live according to your feelings. We must be careful not to confuse feelings with the will of God. Just because I feel strongly that I do or do not want to do a thing, does not necessarily mean that it is or is not God's will. I'll give you an example. One time, I got this idea, this feeling that I wanted to build a new house. You know, sometimes you just get tired of what you got. And even though it's serving your purpose fine, you really don't need something else. You can get it in your head that you want something else.
And so, I decided I wanted to live closer to one of my daughters. And so, got this idea, "I want it so I think that's what God wants us to do". And Dave wasn't for it at first, but I talked him into it. You know, women have power to talk men into things. That's where men need to be strong. You know, eve talked Adam into taking a bite of the apple. And we blame everything on eve but Adam was the head of the house. So, he should have stood a little more firmly and said, "God told us not to do that". And, "No, we're not gonna do that". But Dave loves me. He wants to make me happy, and so, a lot of times he'll just say, you know, "Well, whatever makes you happy, honey. If that's what you want. You know, it's fine with me. I can be happy anywhere".
So, we even went so far as to get somebody to start doing the plans, which we laid out a fair amount of money just for that. We spent time at the architects. We had the plans. We had the piece of property. And then, all of a sudden, I started losing my peace about it. Then all of a sudden, I started thinking realistically, like, how much work it was going to be. And how much more it was gonna cost now, because building costs are higher than they were when we built our house. How much more it was gonna cost, even if I wanted to build the same house.
Well then, I felt foolish because I'd made this commitment and I knew that I didn't want to do what I once thought I wanted to do. One of the things that a well-known worship leader said to me, one time, it was helpful, I said, "How do you know which speaking engagements to take and which one's to turn down"?
You know, when you're in a position where you're asked to do a lot of things, you can't do it all. And so, you have to learn when it's right to say, "No", and when is right to say, "Yes". And she gave me the best answer. She said, "I never say, 'yes,' without thinking about everything it's gonna take for me to do it". "How far am I gonna have to travel"? "How long am I gonna be gone away from my family"? "How many different hotels am I gonna have to stay in"? "Is what I'm going to do actually, gonna bear more fruit for the kingdom than it would if I just stayed right here"?
And see, a lot of times, when we get a whim, we wanna do something... See, the dangerous thing about emotions is new things always come with excitement. We're just so excited, so excited. Whoo. "New house, so excited. I can fix everything that's wrong with the one I've got now. And boy, that's gonna be exciting". But then, if you, actually, take time to think about the other side of it, I mean, just to move. Everything that you have in a house after living in it for 13-14 years, that's like, overwhelming in itself.
And then, am I really gonna be any happier in the next house than I am with this one? It's kinda like getting a new car. You keep it sparkling clean the first couple months. Then, all the sudden, it's full of soda cans and fast food wrappers and just like the other one was. And so, there's a statement that I say that I think is good, "Let emotions subside and then decide". Make sure, when you're making your decision, that it's not just being made on excitement. But it's actually, being made by wisdom. I started working on a Book on Proverbs. And to me, wisdom is doing now, what you'll be happy with later on in life. And see, that's really the same as what it means to walk by the Spirit.
It says in Hebrews 12, "No discipline for the present seems joyous, but grievous. Nevertheless, later on", and I think we need to have more people that care more about later on, because later on always comes. And you can make an emotional decision right now that will make you temporarily happy, but later on, lasts a long, long time. See, you may be out driving around, having no intentions at all to buy a new car, and decide to drive through the car lot. And before you know it, you've signed on the dotted line and gone home with a shiny, red, new convertible.
And then, all of a sudden, you realize you're gonna have to make payments on it for seven years and then it's gonna cost you four times more than what the car actually was worth by the time you're done and then you wish you wouldn't have done it. Come on, but then, you can't go back to the car dealer and say, "You know what? I've decided I don't want this after all. Can you take it back"? Well, they might even buy it back from you, but it's already depreciated several thousand dollars just because you drove it off of the lot.
So, wisdom really is how we're supposed to live. And I've been very interested in this study I've been doing in Proverbs. It basically, says that wisdom stands at every crossroads in our life crying out, "Listen to me". How many times do we tell our kids, "You need to listen to me". Why? Because you've lived a little longer, you've got a little more experience. But at that time in their life, they already think they know everything and they're pretty sure you don't know anything. And besides that, sometimes, they just have to make their own mistakes to ever really find out what they wanna do. So, just because I have a desire for something doesn't necessarily mean that it's God.
Now, you know, somebody wrote-in and said, "Well, the Bible says, 'God will give us the desires of our heart.' But I'm a widow and I desire to get married again and God's never given me anybody". And I had to tell her, well just, you know, "Yes, God will put desires in our heart. But if those desires are truly godly desires", 'cause see, we can have fleshly desires too. If it's truly God then it will come to pass, and it won't be something you'll have to work at and struggle with and try to make happen. I told her, I said, "You don't have to go searching all over the place for a man. You don't have to sit in church, and you know, look around for who the right guy is and try to make sure that you put yourself in his path all the time. You just pray and let God bring the right person to you at the right time".
So, I did back out on the house. Had to be a little embarrassed. Had to call the architect and say, "We've just changed our mind". Had to tell my daughter, "I've changed my mind". Had to tell all the people that I'd told excitedly, how I was gonna build a new house that I thought I was hearing from God, but I wasn't. You know, that's hard to tell somebody, isn't it? I thought I was hearing from God, but I wasn't. I think it would help us a lot if we would just get over the fear of saying, "I was wrong".
I hate to hear people say they heard from God and then when it's obvious they didn't, try to make excuses for it. I respect them a lot more if they just simply say, "You know what? I thought it was God, but the more I got into it, the more I realize that it wasn't". Now, we can feel 30 different ways in 30 days about the same thing. Somebody can make an emotional plea on Sunday morning for people to work in the nursery. They can bring out the cutest baby in the church and show it to you, and tell you how you can change that child's life. And you can be moved emotionally, if you're a person given to emotions, and you can sign up.
Well, so you go the next Sunday, you're still excited. They give you a cute little baby, but the cute little baby has diarrhea that day. And as it so happens, mom didn't put the diaper on really nice and tight, and you have cute little baby on your lap, and you wore your white dress to church that day. Now, I'm pretty sure the following Sunday, you're not gonna feel like working in the nursery.
Here's the problem we have today, many people would just stop showing up, and that's a lack of integrity. A person who really knows what the Word of God says, "Swears to their own hurt and changes not". They fulfill their commitment, and they learn by fulfilling that commitment not to make commitments so quick. Are you with me, you're tracking with me? I don't know, maybe, there's somebody listening that you're just about to back out of a commitment you made for no reason other than you just don't feel like doing it anymore.
Well, commitments don't have to last forever. But before you just decide to back out, you need to ask yourself, "How long did I commit for"? You need to go about it the right way. And if you did find out that it's simply you just missed God then at least have the Christian courage to go and say, "You know what? I just did this emotionally. I didn't think it through. And I really wasn't hearing from God. Could you release me from it"? At least, we don't just not show up. Feelings are not evil. Neither are they holy. They're not sanctified. They must be assessed for what they are. Sometimes, they're helpful, other times they're hurtful. They're always changing, and for no apparent reason.
Is it interesting? You can go to bed happy and wake up feeling just like you wanna slap somebody. You can go to bed just wanting to talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk and wake up the next morning and if anybody says anything to you, you're like, I don't feel like talking. What happens?
Feelings have a lot to do with our physical health, how we feel physically, even how you slept the night before. I have a recurring dream that I've had for a lot of years where I'm trying to get ready for one of my meetings and I can't find my makeup, I can't find my clothes, I can't find my comb, I can't, nothing's working. I ripped my dress. I gotta find a new dress. And it just like, it is the most frustrating dream. And the worship's playin' and I send somebody out to say, "Tell 'em to sing one more song and I'll try to get there. Tell 'em to do one more song". And when I wake up, I am so frustrated.
Well, I had that dream last week. And they say if you have a recurring dream like that, that you have an unresolved issue. Well, I don't know what it is. I've probably got many that I'm not aware of, be happy if God would show me but I keep having that issue. My trainer, who is my exercise trainer, he said he has a recurring dream where he's locked in a room and can't get out of it. And he said the same thing I do. He always wakes up and feels very frustrated when he has that dream. Well, I realized the other day because I felt frustrated when I woke up, my tendency was to be grouchy. And it was nothing other than the fact that I didn't really have a peaceful night's sleep.
That's why we have to be so careful about just doing what we feel like and moving on our emotions because they can change for a lot of different reasons. It's interesting sometimes, just to stop and ask God, "Why do I feel the way I do"? And sometimes, he'll tell you. "Well, you ate too many sweets this week". You say, "Oh, come on. Eating sweets won't make me grouchy". Yes, they can. Come on. So, not wanting them doesn't make 'em stop and wanting 'em doesn't make 'em come.
Watchman Nee, who I think was a great teacher and writer said that emotions have been nominated the believers' number one enemy. And I think that's probably true. Things emotions may do. They may behave better when circumstances are good. They act up during periods of waiting and periods of change. Especially, if you were not the one who initiated the change. What if somebody else makes a change that affects you and you don't like the change? Well, emotions are gonna act up. They frequently change overnight while we sleep. They seem to be closely connected to how we feel physically. We're more likely to feel depressed or discouraged. Or we may get easily angered if we don't feel good physically.
They're also connected to our will. If we don't want to do something, our emotions will side with our will and say, "I agree with you. I don't feel like doing it anyway". And your mind'll get in with it saying, "I don't think it's a good idea". And all of a sudden, we're walking in the flesh, instead of walking in the spirit. Now, believe it or not, God will actually, let us get into situations that are nothing more than tests for us.
In Psalm 7:9, in the Amplified Bible says, "Oh, let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end, but establish the uncompromisingly righteous those upright and in harmony with you: for you, o' God try the hearts and emotions and thinking powers and you are a righteous God".
And then, one last Scripture, Psalm 94:12-13, "Blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied) is the man whom you discipline and instruct, o Lord, and teach out of your law, that you may give him power to keep himself calm in the days of adversity, until the inevitable pit... Is dug for the wicked". So, God disciplines us and we get into situations that cause emotional flare-ups until we learn to stay calm in those situations or to manage our emotions, instead of letting them manage us. Amen?
Alright, well, we're offering today, a book that I've written called, "Living Beyond Your Feelings". And hearing this little tiny bit of it surely, makes you hungry to have a book where you can just study it, and study it, and study it. And we're offering it to you, today, for your gift to the ministry of any amount and that money will be used to help people all around the world. It'll be used to feed the hungry, and to help people that are in trouble, to help human trafficking victims and all kinds of things like that. And it's one of the best things that you can do is invest money into the Kingdom of God. Thank you for being with us today. God bless you. And I hope that you put these principles to work in your life today, and live beyond your feelings.