Monday, November 11, 2013

Confessions of a Reformed Feeler: Part 2

I want to start this post by addressing some comments I received regarding “Confessions of a Reformed Feeler—Part 1”.  First, I am not writing these posts to suggest that thinkers are superior and problem-free; they’re not.  They have their own special struggles and sin issues which I could discuss by talking about what I have observed (since I live with a thinker), but, since I have so little personal knowledge of the weaknesses of the thinking crowd, I will leave that guest post for one of you thinking types. I am just writing from the perspective of someone who so idolized the guidance of my feelings that I was extremely lopsided and needed to learn some “thinker” characteristics. Here’s one thing of which I am certain though—we are all imperfect and in need of a Savior.  Praise God for Jesus.

 Secondly, I am writing from personal experience of being guided primarily by my feelings not by truth, and some of you feelers may not relate since your motivations are guided more evenly by your feelings and your mind. If you are more mature than I was or you were taught to control your emotions in childhood, you may see these posts as inaccurate.  But for those of us who are the highest on the feeler scale, I think much in these posts will ring true.

Third, another reader asked how to help a feeler if you are not supposed to tell them what they are doing wrong.  When I wrote “Feelers don’t need to be told what they are doing wrong.  They are keenly aware of their failings. To a feeler, their failings make them failures”, I guess I meant that when I am already wallowing in guilt and shame from something I have done or thought or said, I don’t need my thinking friends to continue to show me my guilt.  I do, however, need those same thinkers to ask me how I feel about my mistake and what I think I should do next.  I need them to help me come up with a plan of attack so that I don’t fall into the same pit again.  And I need them to help me do all these things when I am not in the heat of it all—when some of the emotion has abated.  And for the feeler who is unaware of their weaknesses (I think you will find this to be very rare), they may need a gentle feeler to come alongside them and ask some leading questions like, “What do you feel like you are doing well?” and “Where do you feel a little out of control?” and “What are some things you don’t like about yourself?” This kind of gentle prodding will help the feeler open up and begin to reflect upon areas of strength and areas of struggle. Always ask a feeler how you can be praying for them.  Feelers (and everyone else) need lots of prayer.  Also, if you are a thinker, make sure to befriend feelers—even if they scare you.  To be balanced and wise, feelers need thinker friends. 

And finally, one reader asked if I ever felt like I might be going crazy.  YES, I often felt psychotic. High feelers often feel like they might be going insane.  They can see what kind of person they would like to be and they know the God’s rules and boundaries, but they just can’t seem to get themselves to think and act and behave the way they are supposed to.  Their spouses and friends seem to be able to control their will and emotions, but the strong will of an extreme feeler has a life all of it’s own.  I used to say that when I got angry or felt something was unfair, it was as if a separate being took over and made me rant, rage, and go into a Tasmanian devil-like spin.  Once I started into that spin, there was no stopping the leading of my will.  Now I know that we are all capable of great wickedness and it is only by the grace of God that we have any self-control.  Once I had accepted Jesus as my Savior, and once He placed his Holy Spirit in me, I had everything I needed to control myself, I just didn’t know how to take hold of that power.  But as my understanding of my renewed mind (Romans 12:2) increased, I started implementing new ways of operating.  Basically, I told my will that Christ—not it—was in control.  In Matthew 16:24-24, Jesus tells his disciples, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will find it.”  It was only after I started denying my own will and giving up control of my own life that I really found True Life…Real Life…Freedom.  And it was only then that I realized I was not crazy—my emotions may have been, but they no longer defined me—because the Christ that was in me had the upper hand.  I think that’s what the Bible means when it says we are to hide ourselves in Him…because it’s in the shelter of the Most High where I can truly be at rest (Psalm 91:1).

I welcome your comments and questions and will try to address them in my future posts.

“Until the will and the affections are brought under the authority of Christ, we have not begun to understand, let alone accept, His Lordship” 
~Elisabeth Elliot

"Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?”            
Luke 6:46

1 comment:

  1. Tori,
    This was very clarifying. Thank You. The part about asking questions is so helpful. It's crazy to think how personally aware a feeler might be. Thinkers tend to be less that way I'd say. Its a different approach because a thinker often isn't aware at all of their short coming and would need evidence to justify that they SHOULD feel guilt. If I am in the wrong and you want to tell me, I'd like for you to come to me with reasons A, B, and C of why you decided you should talk with me. Wow. Vastly different. Yet loved and delighted in by God all the same!