The Truth About Feelings

If you got here from my update email, then you know that my name is Zoë and that I am in the middle of support raising in order to move to South Africa with a campus ministry.

This is a situation that I never thought and sometimes never wanted to be in, but I am truly excited for my time to come in South Africa and am enjoying support raising more and more.

Though, to no surprise, support raising has not been what I had hoped it would be.

I made the decision to go all in and to apply to join the campus ministry’s staff, no more than two weeks after I got back from a 7-week summer vision trip in South Africa.

Out of my grief for missing my friends in South Africa and deep desire to start the work that God had called me to, I decided that I wanted to launch in January after a mere two months of support raising. Although, at the time, I justified this desire because I felt that it made the most strategic sense for me to be back at the beginning of the school year, so why wouldn’t God think so too?

I thought that I knew what God specifically wanted to do with my life, I wanted God to use my life to show how great His power is, to be able to have a big story to testify that God does always provides, and He provides in big ways.

Though January has now come and gone, and I have had to face the fact that I was wrong and that I didn’t know specifically how God wanted to write my support raising story.

I still strongly believe that all those things are true, that God does always provide and that He does provide in big ways, but also in small ways.

But I can’t pretend to know what that is going to look like specifically in my life, I know that God will bring me to full support, that He knows that day that I will step foot back in South Africa.

I feel like I continue to repeat these things to myself because I know they are true, but I don’t always really believe that it is true. But luckily, even if I don’t believe the truth, it doesn’t change the fact that it is true.

But, my feelings affect my actions. When I don’t feel like the truth is accurate, then I don’t work for and towards that truth. I don’t step out because I don’t actually know if the truth is gonna catch me. That is what I have been doing these past few weeks.

After realizing that I wouldn’t get to go back to South Africa in January, I started to doubt if I would ever get to go back. I started to feel like God wasn’t going to provide and that He wasn’t going to be there to catch me. So, I started to sink into a depressive state. I didn’t want to spend time with God, I didn’t want to talk to people about support, and I didn’t think that God was actually working for my good. 

But at first, I didn’t want to find out the root of that depressive season. I didn’t want to admit that I didn’t trust that God. I didn’t trust Him with the perceived delay that He had given me. Because that didn’t seem Christian. I didn’t want to admit that I was struggling because I thought that I should be stronger, more mature than that and I shouldn’t need help to believe that truth. I was in a cycle of not trusting God and then feeling guilty about not trusting God, and then questioning why I was going through this, and then all the way around again.  

I felt stuck and I couldn’t get myself out of it.

Romans 8:39 says, “neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord”

By God’s grace, I am grateful to be in community with people who recognized my feelings and my guilt and reminded me of my identity in Christ. That I don’t earn God’s grace or His gifts, that they were a gift through Christ’s death and resurrection. His approval of me wasn’t based on my support percentage but who I am as His child.

In 2 Corinthians 12:9 Paul says, “But he (Jesus) said to me, ‘my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ “because of this Paul continues, “therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

Support raising has reminded me that I am weak, that I can do no thing a part from Him. That only God can lift me from feeling stuck and give me strength. That it is only God who will work in people’s hearts to bring me to full support. I have felt the weakest during this season, I have had to stand on the faith of others and hold fast to the truth that the Bible brings me.

That’s what makes the truth that much more important, because how I feel about truth doesn’t change the truth, but the truth can change my feelings and it can bring me strength.

Because the truth is that God is good and that He wants what is best for me, but I don’t always feel it, there is a disconnect between what my head knows to be true and what my heart is telling me.

Right now, I am weak. There are some days that I feel weaker in my faith then I ever have before. I don’t like it. I had always prided myself on being a strong independent woman who didn’t need help to get where she was going.

That’s not the case, I am in desperate need of the Lord. Everyday I need His graciousness and His comfort to get through the day. I am humbled and brought low by that idea. But above all I rejoice that He is the one who is helping me, the maker of heaven and earth guides me and strengthens me in each day.

So, though I grieve that I am not with my teammates and my friends in South Africa, I am grateful that God is mending that disconnect, in hopes that it’ll be stronger for any other battles with doubt in the future. That I am being reminded of truth from Jeremiah 29:11-13, Romans 8:28, and Psalm 139:16.

My feelings are still not fully aligned with what’s true. But faith isn’t knowing, it’s trusting. It’s stepping out onto the water, believing that He will catch my steps, just like He says He will. But that is something that I am still wrestling with.

My prayers have changed, from bring me clarity, to strengthen my faith to walk where you lead me even when I can’t see what’s in front of me. 

I have been praying more and more that I would have a strengthened faith in the God who says in Isa 42:16, “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them. I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places new. These are the things that I will do, I will not forsake them”.

I am praying that God will use these words to encourage you as His spirit and words have encouraged me.

For His Glory,