Guided By Feeling
Self-analysis is making our emotions and our feelings the measure of all things. We use how we feel to determine our lives and it becomes a sort of god to us—our guide and our god. Some of this comes from society. Think about how preeminent feelings are today—how people feel dictates and governs so much of life. Even offending somebody can be a criminal act in some cases. Feelings have become preeminent and have invaded all of our lives.
Wives who are going through a bad patch in their marriage may suddenly feel that, because they’re not feeling as in love as they were in the beginning, they married the wrong person.
We’re called to fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.
Or perhaps someone relocated to another part of the country and took a job, or undertook a new school program, and now they’re unhappy. So they feel like they must have made a mistake or misunderstood God’s guidance. They’re using their feelings as a barometer for how God is guiding their lives.
Is Happiness the Goal?
The mistake we’re making here is to think that happiness is the be-all, end-all and that it is always God’s will for us to be happy, so if we find ourselves in circumstances that aren’t perfectly happy, we must have missed God’s guidance, he hasn’t given it to us yet, or somehow he’s not hearing us.
We analyze ourselves too much. We analyze how we feel and what we wish we’d done. We’re always looking and taking our emotional temperature and that’s a kind of bondage. We’re stuck on ourselves and we can’t see out; we can’t see up. Life is miserable when we use our feelings—which are so fickle and change depending on our hormones, the weather, and a million other factors. They govern our lives and they’re not supposed to. It’s bondage.
Freedom from Bondage
The freedom from that comes in looking at what Scripture says. There is a kind of self-analysis we’re supposed to do. In Scripture, we’re told to consider our ways. We’re told to set our minds on particular things, not on how we feel. We’re called to set our minds on God’s Word and how that governs our lives and guides our decisions. We’re called to fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.
We’re called to look at the example of the Apostles, were called to immerse ourselves in the things of God and his ways. That is what guides and governs our lives.
So self-analysis—looking inward at our feelings, desires, and emotions—and using that as the determiner of our course, well-being, and how we're doing—is a mistake. That is not meant to be our guide. We’re meant to make our feelings servants to what our thoughts are telling us, which, in turn, are governed by God’s Word. That is how we flourish.
Like a child going to a parent, we don't have to clean up our spiritual act to pour out our hearts to God.
Self-care has become a thing. The trend got traction by appealing to necessity—you can’t care for others if you don’t first care for yourself.
Self-consciousness is really bondage to the question What do people think of me?