I walked up the stairs to my friend’s house. I tried to hold in the tears. As I entered her house, she asked how I was doing. How was I going to answer? Would I keep shoving down my feelings of discouragement, shame and sadness? Instead, I thought: “No, I’m tired of shoving! And if I can’t cry here where can I cry?” I burst into tears and said: What’s the point?
Do you ever feel this way? Do you ever wonder what is the point? Do you ever raise your hands to God and ask “why do I keep going?” “Why do I keep living and trying to love others and please God when it all seems so hopeless?”
I suspect that everyone has asked themselves this question, or will ask it at some point in their lives. When these questions arise, I sometimes feel this deep pervasive feeling that they will never go away. It may be tempting to dismiss them, minimize them, or outright ignore them, but feelings of discouragement and despair are very real, and you shouldn’t be ashamed to have them. Jesus felt discouraged. And Jesus wept! The shortest verse in the bible reminds us of that. For some reason our culture encourages us to convince others that we have life together. Let me dispel that lie for you. Nobody has it all figured out.
So what’s the next step when you’ve figured out that nobody has it all figured out? I wish I could tell you, but I can’t because I haven’t figured it out… and I’m left with these same questions. How do I navigate all the relationships in my life? How do I cope with the disappointments and unmet hopes? Where and to whom do I cling?
There’s always the Sunday school bible verse answer. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.” (prov 3:5) Or “do not be anxious about anything” (Phil 4:6) or “set your hope on things above, not on earthly things” (Col 3:2). Take your pick. I’m sure you can find a verse that rightly applies.
However, even if it rightly applies, my experience has been one of a disconnect between my emotional, spiritual, intellectual and physical self. I feel like I tend to encourage more of the productive intellectual and spiritual side. I tend to want to speed up the process and just get to the truth or the “right” way that I should think and feel.
Remember that part in “Inside out” when Joy tells sadness to just stay in the circle of sadness and not come out and leave the rest of the emotions to do the work? Joy thought sadness wasn’t needed. She judged harshly the emotion of sadness. I tend to do the same. I just want to be my happy sunny self all the time!
We need help to navigate our emotions, past hurts and relationships. That help could come in the form of a professional counselor, a pastor, or even just being part of a community that cares. The worst thing we can do is repress them, pretend they’re not there, or believe that “Christians shouldn’t feel this way.”
That’s why at P2C PLUS we’ve included a new set of workshops that are specifically focused on “emotional and relational health.”
We have some amazing workshops to help empower you with empathy, education and tools. Some examples of these workshops are Celebrate Recovery (dealing with hurts, habits and hangups), Dealing with addiction (Sexual or digital), dealing with your family baggage, and learning how to have difficult conversations.
I personally need to rewire some of the beliefs I have on emotions and relational health, and I’m excited to learn from these different workshops.
Friends, join me in not shoving down or judging your emotions. You are made in his image and God wants to see you, all of you. Emotions, relational struggle, brokenness and all!
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