Nouwen: What We Feel Is Not Who We Are

I read this a few days ago and I felt there were many who might benefit from reading it:

Our emotional lives move up and down constantly.  Sometimes we experience great mood swings: from excitement to depression, from joy to sorrow, from inner harmony to inner chaos.  A little event, a word from someone, a disappointment in work, many things can trigger such mood swings.  Mostly we have little control over these changes.  It seems that they happen to us rather than being created by us.


Thus it is important to know that our emotional life is not the same as our spiritual life.  Our spiritual life is the life of the Spirit of God within us.  As we feel our emotions shift we must connect our spirits with the Spirit of God and remind ourselves that what we feel is not who we are.  We are and remain, whatever our moods, God’s beloved children.

Taken from Bread for the Journey, by Henri J.M. Nouwen, ©1997 HarperSanFrancisco.

3 thoughts on “Nouwen: What We Feel Is Not Who We Are

  1. Thanks, Craig for this! It can so often feel the other way — that how/what we feel is who we are. That’s why is so critical to understand moods and that they can be transitory/ disorientating/confusing. We hear so much of the ‘trust your gut’, ‘do what you feel is right’ kind of stuff that it’s hard to separate out what is true, what is really, really true.

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