In Faith Moments, Odalis Turincio shares her thoughts on living out her faith and how we can grow closer to God. Take a moment to join other members of our community every 1st and 3rd Thursday at 8:30A.
Good morning. Welcome to Faith Moments. Faith Moments is a space for us to talk, listen to God, explore faith, and try to hear what the Lord might be saying now or already be speaking in our lives. My name is Odalis. I’m part of the pastoral team at Cornerstone. I’m so grateful to have you here. For today’s Faith Moments, we’re going to take a few minutes together to talk about feelings. We all have them. Some of us feel feelings a lot, and some feel them more gently. But we have them and this is a year for them. So bear with me as we talk, explore, and try to listen for the Lord together. Before we do anything else, I would love to pray, then we’ll get started.
Jesus, we thank You for this day. God, it’s a day that You have made. It’s a day like every other day. You are in control. You are good. You are loving, and that You are inviting us into a life of transformation, hope, and a fullness of joy. We ask for Your joy to be with us, God. We ask for Your love to meet us, Lord. We just lay ourselves before You and invite You to be the one to speak to our hearts at this time. We love You, Jesus, and we pray these things in Your name. Amen.
Faith and feelings. If I had to guess, we have had a lot of feelings in this ridiculous year and certainly this week. There is a lot going on. There’s a lot we’re waiting for that we have no control over. It is affecting a lot of us in a lot of different ways. I’ve watched people close to me wrestle a lot and to process. Well, I’ve had sort of an inside look at how others have been walking through this. I have my own feelings and processing about life, about everything. I’m not sure what your social media feeds have looked like, but they have also been an inside scoop as people share their concerns, fears, and hopes. I know on my feeds, I’ve seen it from all sides and perspectives.
Here’s the deal. I’m not here to talk about politics. I would not presume to be educated enough to talk about that on a platform, nor honestly, do I aspire to be. More importantly, that’s not what this space is for. It’s not a political space, but I do know that I want to talk about how we’re feeling in the middle of some of this. I want to talk about how our faith might interact in some of those feelings. I do so with the humility of understanding that I don’t know where you’re coming from. I don’t know everything that you’re wrestling with. I don’t know the specifics of how this climate, this tension in our culture is affecting you and your family. I don’t know the hopes and concerns, the dreams and the fears that you have.
I do know that God is very, very, very good. I do know that the Lord is always speaking to us. I know that there are principles that are true, no matter the background or perspective, no matter the hopes, dreams, fears, or concerns. That’s where I want to sit.
The other thing I do want to clarify as we’re talking about feelings, experiences, and pains is that what I’m not talking about are those seasons or moments where we need to get some help. Mental and emotional well-being are really important. I am not trained for some of the extremities of what we walked through as a part of life. There is no shame in getting help when we need it. If you are in that place where you need some help, please get it. Okay?
All that being offered and laid before you, I was on the phone yesterday with someone close to me. She’s been experiencing a ton in COVID, shelter in place, and the shutdown lockdown of life as we knew it back in February. Who even remembers what that was like now? It has completely disrupted her lifestyle more than almost anybody else I know. To top it off, the timing of shelter in place coincided with some longer-term health things, new health stuff that’s come up, and chronic things that she’s been dealing with for a long time.
At the same time, she has in last year and at any other time, there would be family things that she would be able to be physically present for her family. She’s not able to do that this year. It’s been a tumultuous year. At the same time, things that she’s put on the back burner, she’s had more time to engage and catch up in certain ways. There’s this duality to her life. It has been thrown upside down, in the middle of the room, and it’s scattered. She’s feeling and experiencing a lot of things. In the middle of all of this, she was sharing with me how just overwhelmed she’s feeling. At a certain point towards the end of our conversation, she apologized as if she had been venting or something like that. Our conversation shifted.
So to state the obvious, we all have feelings, right? We all feel them differently. Some of you are probably more adept at this than I am, but feelings need to be understood. They need to be processed. They need to be felt, managed. The scriptures are full of feelings. The songs are. If you’re looking for a place to see the spectrum of emotions displayed in the scriptures, just read the Psalms. There’s anguish. There’s loneliness, rejection, and deep life-threatening fear. There’s joy, gratitude, celebration, and hope. The whole spectrum of human emotions is displayed in the Psalms in a way that’s grounded in a hope in the Lord. Jesus himself felt all the feelings. He wept. He celebrated. He felt everything.
The reality is that feelings are not inherently bad. This might be obvious for some of you. So bear with me as we get through a little bit. Feelings are not inherently bad, especially if we’ve been blessed with a family that modeled them well. But the scriptures also give us some warnings about not allowing our feelings to have too much power over us. If we read from Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick. Who can understand it?” It’s this pausing and going. Our heart has such a depth, such complexity to it that we don’t always register the depth of the things we’re feeling and why we do. Apart from an objective, help the Lord. How can we fully understand our hearts?
Proverbs 28:26, “Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.” So this idea of our own mind, it’s the insight we ourselves can produce. How the conclusions we can come to without outside perspective. This idea of being a fool, being one who has led astray towards a negative path. Wisdom is our objective source of truth. Wisdom found in the spirit of God is that strength, that foundation that keeps us in the right way.
As I was on this call yesterday, as this person was sort of apologizing for feeling things deeply and being open about it, we paused and acknowledged together, yes, these feelings are real. These things that we walk through are true. They need to be felt and processed. But as she phrased it so beautifully, she said, “These feelings are a moment.” I loved that. I felt so calmed and inspired by that. That feelings are a moment. A moment that we are present in. A moment we engage and acknowledge, but that we move through and past. We don’t stay stuck, right? We don’t want to stay stuck in the past. We don’t want to relive the same moment over and over. These feelings, these things that we experienced, are a moment to move through.
The things that we’re feeling right now, the fears, the anxieties, these things that can grip us, hold us, and make us feel shaken. They don’t define us or our circumstances. They may characterize some aspects of it, but they are not what define us. Our feelings do not define reality. As hard as it can be to separate the two, how we’re feeling from what we’re walking through, they are not the same thing. Humbly, I would offer that feelings as real as they are and as powerful as they can be, do not have power over us in the Lord. There is this space in between the two that with a lot of trust in God, with a lot of hope, and with a lot of patients, we can carve out the space between.
We don’t want to be insensitive brushing off. That is not what I’m proposing. But instead, acknowledging, registering, and processing. Bringing all of those things we feel before God and saying, “Well, God, how do You feel about these things? Do you feel the same as I do? Or are you inviting me to look at things slightly differently?” We are not powerless no matter what we’re facing.
2 Timothy 1:7. I think I’ve shared this one before. It has been a verse for my season of life. “For God gave us not a spirit of fear, not a spirit of anxiety, of loneliness, of pain, of a struggle. He gave us a spirit of power, of love, and of self-control.” I think the older version says, “of soundness of mind.”
Proverbs 4:23, “Keep your heart with all vigilance for from it flow the springs of life.” Keep your heart with all vigilance. Be careful what you intake. Be careful how you let your thoughts drift. Be careful who your influences are. All of the things that we take in, all of the things that we sit and we stew over, and I am a colossal over-thinker so believe me, I’m speaking to myself, all of those things affect our hearts. How our heart is, where your treasure is there your heart will be also, right? Those things that we value and pour our attention over. Those are the things that affect our hearts and determine how our life goes. If our treasure is hidden with the Lord, if the Lord is the one that we trust to inform more than anything else, the state of our hearts, we can walk through any season with a sense of peace and joy. It’s not happiness, which is determined by circumstance, but it’s joy, which is a characteristic of life. It’s a character that we built.
At the end of the day, we know that Jesus came to give us life and that we may have it abundantly. That’s John 10:10. That we would not have a life that is characterized by fear or weakness or angst, but one, in which, regardless of the disagreements we face, we have unity, joy, and peace. I know this is an intense season. Genuinely, none of the things I have said are meant to minimize the reality of what we’re walking through. If anything, I want to affirm that this is real, to be acknowledged and walked through intentionally with seriousness and wisdom.
We’re not pretending that it’s in our head or just our feelings to be brushed off. But, the difference about a life lived in trust and dependence on God is that we’re not controlled, defined, or overwhelmed by all of those things that we feel. “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and don’t lean on your own understanding, but in all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight.” Proverbs 3:4,5. Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and don’t lean on your own understanding. Take all of the things you think, feel, and invite Him to be the one that determines our understanding.
I would love to pray. God, in whatever days, weeks, or months that remain in the season of tension, God, we place our trust in You. We admit our weakness and vulnerability in getting swept up in our emotions and our difficulties as real as they are, God. But we pause to take solace in You, the one who is greater still. Give us Your spirit of power, love, and soundness of mind. Give us steady hearts, minds, and hands. Give us peace, Your peace, that surpasses all understanding. We pray these things, Jesus, in Your name. Amen.
If you would like to ever pray over the things you are walking through, prayer is our strongest, most practical, most tangible tool in every season of life. I would encourage you to reach out. We have a team of folks at the church ready to pray. You can pray one-on-one or drop in a request. Cornerstonesf.org/prayer. You are loved, deeply valued, and seen by a God who paid every price for you and your heart. God bless you. Thank you for tuning in. See you next time.