Picture this: You and the generations before you—in fact your whole nation—had known nothing but awful… for thousands of years. Defeat. Captivity. Oppression and brutality of the worst kinds. Yet, somehow, the gravity of despair was constantly overpowered by the magnetism of hope. How?
Facts, Feelings and Truth
Maybe it boils down to dividing realities. There are three: Facts, feelings and truth.
The reality of our conditions, situations, circumstances, experiences. That translates to what’s happening around me, to me and in me.
Fill in the blank:
The _____________________ around me is ___________________ . I am undergoing ______________________. I have (or lack) _____________________________ . I experience __________________________ .
Facts are real. They matter. They influence. They must be acknowledged and accepted. We must treat them with respect and with care. Classifying facts as bad or good seldom is productive. Discerning good from evil is at times wise.
Feelings are reality too. We tend to discount that, or even at times deny it. That seldom brings a happy outcome. Sad, happy, angry, content, lonely, among, full, empty, helpless, powerful, frustrated, victorious, flat, enthusiastic… and the rest in the catalog are real.
Feelings matter. They influence. They must be acknowledged and accepted. We must treat them with respect and with care.
There is no such thing as a good feeling or a bad feeling. Labeling feelings as good or bad only leads to trouble. Instead, feelings are somewhere on a sliding scale between pleasant and unpleasant. At any given moment all of us feel one emotion or another. To some degree of intensity, it is either pleasant or unpleasant. Embrace that reality.
Truths are greater reality—separate and independent, beyond and higher. Truths are more real than facts and feelings. They carry much greater influence and power. Facts and feelings arise out of other things and are highly variable. Truths are existential and unchanging, and matter far more than facts and feelings.
- Fact: It’s the 25th and I don’t have enough money for food and rent.
- Feelings: I feel anxious and frustrated and I don’t know what to do. None of that translates to “I am poor. I am broken. I am lost. I am a loser.”
- Truth: “I am loved and lovable. I am worthy. I am capable. I am my future, and not my past. I am open to reaching out to my landlord and others, to exploring alternatives, to doing things differently, to learning, changing and growing.”
Those people thousands of years ago? They planted their hope in two things. Turned out both were “I am’s”. They knew in their deepest knower a Truth Moses imparted: A vast, loving “I am Who I am” God (Exodus 3:14) Who proved over and over He was Who He said he was. Their second anchor of hope was in a Messiah who all their prophets said was coming. He did.