“Feelings never lie.” This line stood out to me in Shrek the Musical when I recently saw it. The musical was fun overall, but this one line bothered me. I think it was because it was just another one of numerous messages that I’ve been hearing about feelings lately—all along the theme that we are to trust our feelings more than anything else.
However, is that accurate? Now, I do believe that people need to feel their feelings instead of stuffing them. Obviously, stuffing your feelings creates other problems. However, that is not the issue associated with the “feelings never lie” line. The issue is this: How accurate are our feelings? Are they the truth by which we should live our lives?
I really don’t believe they are. Just looking at life in general, I disagree that feelings are the most accurate judge of what the truth is in a situation. They don’t always tell us everything we need to know. If we live just by our feelings, we will not be getting the whole perspective. Feelings give us only one small part of what is going on around us. While they are important, they shouldn’t run our lives. We need to examine both our thoughts and our feelings to see why we feel the way we do. Ask yourself some questions: Does this current situation remind me of one where I was hurt a long time ago? Is there a wound that needs to be healed?
Another reason I don’t believe feelings never lie comes from watching children. Have you ever watched toddlers throwing temper tantrums because they didn’t get something they wanted? The parents of those toddlers know that what they need is different from what they want. Like toddlers, when we are tired or stressed or hungry, our feelings are more intense and more likely to be inaccurate. If our feelings never lie, then why do we feel different when we’re tired than when we are well rested?
What about when our feelings tell us that we are unworthy? I remember a time when I walked into a room full of women for a meeting and felt completely unqualified even to be in that room. It was how I felt, but I know a few of the people who were in there would have strongly disagreed. They didn’t believe that I was unqualified. I don’t think any of them believed that they were better than I was, either. What my feelings were saying at that point was inaccurate. We could even say they weren’t telling the truth, that they were lying to me.
The Bible says that the heart is deceptive (Jeremiah 17:9). If the Bible tells us our hearts are deceptive, then how can we trust our feelings? I believe that my feelings lie to me at times. The truth of God’s Word and who He says I am is better than my feelings. Look at what God has to say about it:
I feel unloved, yet God loves me (2 Corinthians 13:14).
I feel insignificant, but God took time to create and form me (Psalm 139:13–16).
I feel unworthy, yet Christ died and purchased me with his blood (1 Peter 1:18–19).
I feel disliked, but God rejoices over me with singing (Zephaniah 3:17).
I feel forgotten, yet God doesn’t forget me (Isaiah 49:15).
I feel rejected, but God chose me (Ephesians 1:4-5).
I feel alone, yet Jesus promised to never leave me (Matthew 28:20).
I feel unseen, but regardless of my circumstances or feelings God sees me (Genesis 16:13).
Feelings, while important, aren’t what we should trust above all else. God’s Word is truth and it’s more trustworthy than our feelings. The next time I feel unqualified or unworthy in some way, I’ll remind myself of what God says about me—and I hope you will too.
Rachel Roen enjoys learning, traveling, and spending time with friends. She recently completed her master’s degree in strategic leadership and is looking forward to the next adventure God has in store.
Thank you, Rachel! Agree, those amazing feelings can lie to us. They are the caboose of life, not the engine. When we make them the engine, life goes way off track. Good thing scripture never lies to us. It can be hard in our face, but it always tells us the Truth.
Thanks, Orleen. I like how you describe feelings as the caboose. It’s still important, but isn’t what leads.