So often, we get to this break down point. When feeling or not feeling isn’t an option anymore, and it’s just a tidal wave of emotion.
I’ve been there, you’ve been there, and we’ll all get there again. That moment when we finally succumb to feeling and tears and frustration, that we’ve been pushing off and pushing through for days, weeks, months in the name of strength.
And that place? It’s not bad.
But I don’t think that it’s necessary.
This break down place? It comes from not acknowledging our hearts.
We approach our feelings with fear. We’re afraid that if we feel, we’ll be unraveled. We’ll be swept up by irrationality and seen as too much– mostly, by ourselves and God. We don’t want to be Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh, we want to be Rapunzel from Tangled.
Strength has become a test of how long you can suppress before you break.
Honestly, I’ve been afraid to acknowledge any sort of discomfort in my heart, in response to people, situations, or myself, because what if it’s not true? I want the safety of logic to protect my “right to feel,” and if it’s not clear, then I won’t feel.
I don’t want to feel what I do not understand. Whether that’s sadness, anger, fear, anxiety, whatever. If it doesn’t fit the conditions, then I won’t let it infect my heart.
Except it does anyway. And, if you’re like me, sometimes it’s this thing of “Oh, I can’t acknowledge that I’m anxious because I shouldn’t be anxious if I’m really close with Jesus.”
Sure, anxiety doesn’t get to exist in the love of Jesus, because He vanquishes fear. I wasn’t made for anxiety, fear, etc. But if it’s there, and if I don’t bring it to Him, it’ll eat away at my heart. By closing my eyes to it, I actually give it more power; I give that dysfunctional feeling permission to grow by not bringing it to Jesus.
You’re allowed to be overwhelmed by what you do not understand. You’re allowed to just feel before you understand why.
God isn’t standing there, demanding that you justify your emotions. That’s not what a good Father does– He doesn’t yell at you and tell you to stop crying, that you’re being irrational.
He walks with you through the process. He gives perspective and shows His reality.
He’s already entering into our process; we have to give ourselves permission to enter into our own process and know that we will not be broken by emotion. You will not be broken by emotion that you choose to process in the Presence of the Prince of Peace.
We don’t have to get to the break down moment if we choose to listen to our hearts every single day. If we choose to take time and seriously just acknowledge what’s going on inside of us. The comments that have unsettled us, the situations that have us anxious.
There’s this space that sometimes I go to in prayer: it’s in the middle of the woods, and I look up, and there’s leaves that come between me and the sky, and the sun shines through. It’s dark, but there’s light.
Sometimes, I feel myself go to that place and curl up in a ball and am just overwhelmed.
And I used to go to that place, and then go back and apologize to God for not being strong enough to be unaffected by life.
How absolutely ridiculous that sentence is. That belief is. That lie is. That I need to apologize for what I need healing from, for the place that I need love in.
I’ve believed the lie that this image of myself as just breathing and sitting in stillness doesn’t fit with my “brand” or “image” or whatever. I like to be this strong women that has this great faith and speaks truth that breaks chains.
But here’s the thing: by going to that secret, simple place to process, does not oppose the reality that the Lord has given me power and authority and I can act in it.
Sometimes, we get to absorbed in the super of the supernatural that we forget the natural part. We forget the humanity part. And we almost apologize to Jesus for being human: for listening to fear, listening to anxiety, being overwhelmed.
We forget that Jesus dignified humanity. He took on humanity. Therefore, we can come to know Him by embracing our humanity. We don’t need to apologize for it.
We don’t need to apologize for being overwhelmed. For being afraid. He’s not condemning us for feeling anxiety; He’s reaching His arms out and entering into our process.
He comes to the places in the forest where we hide, because we’re unsure of how to deal.
We’re allowed to admit emotion before we understand.
We’re allowed to hurt before we understand.
We’re allowed to cry before we understand.
We’re allowed to be overwhelmed before we understand.
He’s not standing there and telling us why we shouldn’t feel all of these things. He comes and sits by us and lets us be.
We’re called to ponder in our hearts, right, like Mary. How can we ponder in a place that we do know? How can we come to know a place which walls we have not touched, whose patterns we are not familiar with? How could we possibly feel peace when it comes, when we’ve disabled feeling as a whole out of fear of being undone by uncomfortable emotions?
We can’t selectively feel.
I’m not making the argument here that we need to move completely dictated by emotion. What I’m advocating for is awareness of heart. I’m not saying that we need to just be sad all the time. That’s a lie we believe, I think: to be fully in tune with emotion is to be sad all of the time. To be emotionally honest is to be too much.
The truth is that to be fully in tune with emotion can give us control over our emotions. Because they’re going to come out one way or another, so wouldn’t it be better to acknowledge and process with Jesus? To tell Him how we feel and ask for His truth, and just breathe, instead of pushing through, forcing through, and suppressing for the sake of “holiness”?
Guess what? He wants to be God in your life. He wants to save, He wants to heal. He wants to walk with you, He wants to be near to you. He wants you to know your own heart, even as He knows your heart.
Go to the secret place, where you don’t have to justify. Take five minutes today and just hear the Father asking you: how are you?
You’re not made for fear, for anxiety, for any of it. You’re not made to be overwhelmed. So when those things have taken over your heart, when you’re believing the lies that they’re whispering– you are stronger, because you’re the child of the One who has defeated these things.
And you can acknowledge them without becoming them.
He’s in control and you’re not too much. He wants to know how you are, He wants you to be real about where you’re at on a daily basis. He wants all of your heart. So we don’t need to selectively receive ourselves, when He’s not selectively receiving the “not messy” parts of our hearts.
This post isn’t me trying to force you into heaviness; it’s a declaration over your life, over my life that we’re allowed to feel, wherever you’re at. Because He’s here; greater than emotion, greater than feeling. He comes to dignify our emotion and the raise the dead; to show us the reality that He’s in control, without shutting down our hearts.
We have to process outward, not inward; looking up at His gaze, knowing that He sees and knows. We don’t need to shove down, because He actually wants it.
He wants you.
So come away. You, your friends, this world cannot afford for you to not know your own beautiful heart. You won’t be able to move in the fullness of strength if you do not acknowledge your heart.
Perhaps this week, go into prayer every day honest about where you’re at. And then listen for His truth, for His response. Know that His presence is there, and feel without restraint. He can handle it.