Message: “GET OUT YOUR FEELINGS” - Pastor Austin Parkhurst
Sunday, May 19th, 2019
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and
thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything
we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. 8
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and
honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent
and worthy of praise. 9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from
me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.
I recently read Hans Rosling's book, Factfulness, and it has challenged what I thought to be true about the state of the world. My perception is way off.
I'm not far enough in to give a full review, but I will share this story. When Rosling was a medical intern at a hospital in Sweden in 1975, he had just started his fifth day at work when a nurse burst into the room. There had been a plane crash, and victims were on the way. Senior doctors were occupied, so Rosling was on his own. Moments later, a man in a military uniform was wheeled into the ER, shaking violently. Rosling immediately thought "epileptic seizure," and at the same time noticed there was blood all over the floor. Knowing the man could bleed out at any moment and frustrated because he couldn't figure out how to unzip the complicated flight suit, Rosling began to panic. The man was speaking what sounded like Russian, so Rosling assumed that a Russian pilot had crashed and World War III had just kicked off. At that point, the nurse came back into the room and said, "Stop! That uniform costs 10,000 Swedish kronor! (about $1000 U.S. dollars) Also, please step off his life jacket. You're standing on the color cartridge, and it's making the whole floor red." The nurse then calmly told the pilot, "Your plane crashed, you were in the water for 23 minutes, that's why you're jerking and shivering, and that's why we can't understand you."
Rosling's complete misjudgment of the situation meant he had gotten everything wrong. The Russian was Swedish, the war was peace, the seizures were shivering, and the blood was a color ampule from the life jacket. Fear made Rosling forget his training and sent his emotions spiraling into the worst case scenario. He'd been afraid of war since he was a child, and catastrophizing the situation meant he didn't see what he should have seen. He saw what he was afraid of seeing. "Critical thinking is always difficult," he says, "but it's almost impossible when we are scared. There's no room for facts when we are occupied by fear."
It's not just fear that warps our perception of reality. Any negative emotion, like worry, anger, or depression, can throw us off balance. On the other hand, positive emotions balance out the negative, and they affect our brains in ways that increase our awareness and attention.
That's why Paul writes in Philippians 4, "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you."
Feelings are liars, and the man or woman who lives a life based on emotion is unstable in every way.
2 Corinthians 5:7 challenges us to "walk by faith, not by sight." Remember, Rosling was sure World War III had kicked off, but his fear clouded his vision and deceived him. Who knows what could have happened to the soldier if that nurse had not intervened and taken charge of the situation?
Ultimately, God and His Word must determine your feelings, not the other way around. When your feelings are overwhelming, stop, and hold them to the light of Scripture. God's Word is your source of truth and your foundation. Let that be your guide, not your feelings.
Get out your feelings.
Get out OF your feelings.
Break the cycle.
Refocus your mind and refresh your spirit.
It’s been said that feelings are a gauge, not a guide. What does that mean?
Which emotions do you struggle to express? Why is that difficult for you?
How do you deal with the people in your life who live by feelings, not facts? How can you help them overcome this toxic habit?
How do you deal with negative emotions like fear, depression, or anxiety?
How would being honest about your emotions with God help you?