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Posts Tagged ‘respond’

I was standing in line at the grocery store the other day and was overwhelmed by all the options of things to read.  The person ahead of me had 90 items, so I had some time to take a gander at the shiney in front of me. There was every topic possible on that magazine rack. The topics ranged from superstar gossip, weight loss, newest fad, sex life solutions, body image, hair color, botox, ideal vacations to places 1% of the population will ever experience, and some latest drug to enhance or cure something.

Ninety items later, I was exhausted by the one billion messages staring at me. I was set up by that magazine rack to leave the store feeling more empty then just my stomach that night.

There are too many options that enable us to not have to feel. We can literally go through life numb. We don’t have to feel guilty, sad, lonely, angry, or emptiness at all. One day there will be a procedure we can get to remove our emotions all together!

We have lost the ability to know what sitting well even means. How do we sit well in places that are uncomfortable? How do we deal with feeling uncomfortable when we don’t “have” to?

Our culture has digressed to a place where dealing with our emotions and pain is a foreign concept. I mean what do our emotions have to do with God? Why do we even have them?

Emotions are life’s GPS to our hearts. Emotions are messages that tell us that something is going on in our hearts. The different emotions we experience aide in identifying what that something is.

It is really hard to sit in feeling uncomfortable. No one likes it. No one likes being angry or sad. No one I know loves feeling hurt or lonely. What do you do in those places? How are you either pushing through or numbing that uncomfortable place?

I hate being angry. It is the worst feeling. I hate everything about it. I can sit in sadness. I can deal with that, but anger, dang! However, I have two choices when dealing with my anger. I can go off on everyone and anyone. I can throw stuff, yell, or make bystandards pay. I also have the choice to sit in the anger. I could actually deal with my anger and think it through. When I’m angry I hit the gym or go for a run. Not a gauenteed release, but leaves less of a wake the other choice does.

Loneliness is a subtle one that causes discomfort. The response to loneliness has two choices as well. I could fill my life with everything and everyone. I could put an extra one hundred hours a week at my job to avoid loneliness. Sometimes this choice can add to the loneliness rather than “fix” it. I could also recognize my loneliness and sit in it. I could leave some of that uncomfortable space open for the Lord. Honestly there are seasons of life where God wants just you. Everyone experiences the feared loneliness at one time or another.

God promises to be in all things with us if we will sit long enough in our discomfort and let him. God desires for us to respond well in our God given emotions. It may not feel like it, but our emotions are for us not against us.

So the question I am asking myself is how do I sit well in my stuff? What do I do with loneliness, exhaustion, pain, grief, anger, sadness, discontentment, disappointment, and the emotions alike?

I will ask you the same questions. What would it mean for you to sit well in your stuff?

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I often use the phrase, “I’m working on it” when referring to my heart. I am learning that in reality I use this phrase as a shield to guard against actually having to confront my messy heart.

I used this phrase recently, and afterward I had to ask myself the question, “am I really working on it?” I can play this card as a safeguard – as if saying, “I’m working on it” lets me off the hook for responding out of my fears. By hiding behind “working on it,” I give my fears permission to take root in me.

The reality is that our mess is really hard to work on. It takes courage to confront our own hearts. My heart resembles a crater field after the dust has settled from battle. It displays the wounds of life. I have craters with other people’s names on them. I also have holes that echo the natural consequences of my unwise decisions. I get overwhelmed when staring at all the craters in my heart. I have also experienced seasons of ignoring my wounds and walking away to find comfort elsewhere.

The false advertising of life is that pursuing comfort elsewhere does not add wounds to the already broken heart.

As the wounds of my heart run deep, they manifest in different masked ways. If feels scary to confront them. Saying it out loud makes them more real.

The foundation of my crater field happened in high school when the affair of my father came out. The news shattered my world and brought on a deep level of pain I never knew could be reached. This grief sowed seeds of real fear in the core of my heart. These seeds manifest themselves in ways I am aware of as well as in ways I am still learning to identify.

I struggle with abandonment in paralyzing and infuriating ways. I guard my heart so tight that pain can’t find a way in. This fear paralyzes me from taking risks to experience real life and real intimacy.

I also fear being replaced all the time. I fear intimacy as it forces me into places that require the risk of being vulnerable and my heart exposed. I fear being a “meantime” friend as if it were only a matter of time before my friends find someone better than me. I am not using “better” in a prideful way, but voicing my deep insecurity that keeps my heart on lock down. I hate the nagging feeling of always holding my breath in waiting. I even imagine, and play out in my head, being left by the other person as a way to prepare myself for pain. By actively staying in this place of fear, I voluntarily place the shackles on my life of being enslaved to those fears.

I hate this long standing pattern of life for me. God has already done a ton of healing in me. I can honestly say that I am more whole than I used to be. It is a conscious effort to choose to trust people. I am trying to get used to sitting in a place of discomfort and lack of control. That place is terrifying for me.

There’s still the question of what if someone did decide to leave? This is a real possibility. I still grieve the loss of some really close friendships. It is even more of a possibility as our culture moves further away from commitment.

God is my redeemer. He promises that he “began a good work in me and carries it on to completion.” I have now edited my comfort phrase from “I’m working on it” to “He’s working on me.” I cannot heal my own heart. God is gentle as he waits for me to surrender my white flag to him. God has been redirecting my life out of the desert. I have spent too many weeks/months/years living life there.

Instead of adding bricks to the Great Wall of me, I desire to begin surrendering myself to him. Hillsong has a great song with lyrics that state,“rid me of myself, I belong to you…lead me to the cross.” This is my hard prayer to pray.

What are you “working on?”

How is He working on you?

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