Feelings & Faith

Do you ever feel frustrated or even distressed by a lack of fervor and emotion in your worship or devotions? Do you ever leave a church service feeling flat, “un-spiritual” or even distant from the Lord? I sure have.

Along those lines, I recently found this advice from C.S. Lewis particularly encouraging:

“…don’t expect (I mean don’t count on and don’t demand) that when you are confirmed, or when you make your first Communion, you will have all the feelings you would like to have. You may, of course: but also you may not. But don’t worry if you don’t get them. They aren’t what matter. The things that are happening to you are quite real things whether you feel as you would wish or not, just as a meal will do a hungry person good even if he has a cold in the head which will rather spoil the taste. Our Lord will give us right feelings if He wishes – and then we must say Thank you. If He doesn’t, then we must say to ourselves (and Him) that He knows us best. This, by the way, is one of the very few subjects on which I feel I do know something. For years after I had become a regular communicant I can’t tell you how dull my feelings were and how my attention wandered at the most important moments. It is only in the last year or two that things have begun to come right – which just shows how important it is to keep on doing what you are told.

(written to his goddaughter, Sarah, on the occasion of her confirmation in April 1949. From “Letters to Children.”)

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2 thoughts on “Feelings & Faith

  1. while I agree with what you are saying on one level, I see an inherent danger in this as well… as a culture, we are so caught up in wanting the feeeeeeling, we start to be ruled by them and seeking the emotion over the Savior. I don’t think it is wrong to seek the feeling to match the experience of hearing truth, and wanting it to be real in our lives… but when it becomes about the experience versus the Truth, there lies danger…

  2. Agreed! I think that is at the very heart of what Lewis is communicating. Emotions only mean so much…they are reassuring at times, but not essential.

    “Do you love me, Peter?” was a question that required much more than an “emotional answer” but perhaps that too.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Emily!

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