Some days are less than ideal. These are the days that I have to remind myself that life is not happening to me, but for me. I understand that there is no world as it "should" be. It just is. Disappointment creeps in. Sadness fills my heart. I hoped that certain things would turn out different. But that's just THIS day. Less than ideal. Some seasons and instances are just out of our control. But those are meant to be brief. I've learned not to run, escape my tears or stuff my uninvited emotions. I want to. But when I avoid the feeling, I delay my healing. Sad is not invited into my life. Sometimes she is just there. But she doesn't get to stay. I DECIDE. This is not a fake it until you make it word for you. I no longer believe I can simply pull myself up by my bootstraps.
This is a word to help you feel all the feels. A reminder that God is good and your circumstances don't have the final say. And your setbacks don't define you. How? How do you feel sad, but not get stuck there?
Four things that have helped me here for you:
1. Engage them.
You can embrace them, but don’t eat them. Avoid escaping them or numbing them. Our feelings have dictated our lives for way to long. They don’t get the final say. All of the tactics of not dealing with feelings gives us a false sense of security and control. We must be aware of what we are actually feeling and feel it through to completion. To truly get to the other side their must be acceptance that you do feel this way. That’s okay. Without the chaos, like sadness we would never feel joy. Psalm 126: Our present distress must not be viewed as if it would last for ever; it is not the end, by any means, but only a means to the end. Sorrow is our sowing, rejoicing will be our reaping. If there were no sowing in tears there would be no reaping in joy. Our mouth had never been filled with laughter if it had not been first filled with the bitterness of grief. We must sow: we may have to sow in the wet weather of sorrow; but we shall reap, and reap in the bright summer season of joy.”
2. Confess them.
This does not mean you tell the whole world your junk. But it does mean sharing with a close confidant. Talk to someone you know who will help you get better not just FEEL better. You are not free by simple becoming aware. You must be healed. Healing comes when you can confess. Surround yourself with people who will point you to the healer. This is gospel guys. Jesus is the only one who can fix the place of origin that our feelings are coming from. The pain, the disappointment, the doubt, the discouragement, the violation, the neglect, abandonment, betrayal. But you cannot heal until you let go of the control. Confession leads to surrender.
3. Surrender them.
After I am honest enough to say what I feel I am then challenged to let it go. If I do not, then I continue to be a prisoner to my feelings and I live in defeat. Full healing cannot come until you let Jesus have it all. This has taken me practice. And I have had to look back at where God has been faithful before so I can continue to move forward in releasing these issues to him. The emotion is just the indicator that I need to trust God.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts…You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.” Isaiah 55:8-10
4. Faith them.
I think we all know the opposite of faith is fear. Fear causes all kinds of emotions. But bottom line when we have fear without faith we have dread. UGH. Dread holds you back. When I am living in faith it is saying YES, I will trust you. It is not making decisions in a valley. It’s not coming to conclusions about my life when I am in the height of emotion. It means checking the fruit of my feelings before I freak. What emotion does this produce? If it’s not good, it’s not GOD.
I leave you with a promise that steers me through every emotion.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. Acknowledge him in all your ways and he will make your path straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6