Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Musings on Navigating Life as the Biggest, Deepest, Most Emphatic Feeler Ever

Sometimes, I hurt. You know, little things, such as an off-the-cuff remark that I've misunderstood, embarrassment because I said the wrong thing, feeling left out, misunderstood, and generally feeling like a failure as a mom/wife/sister/friend. I'm not writing this looking for sympathy. I'm writing this to provide hope for all you other feely feelers out there.

What do I do when I feel these things? I get sad, mad, maybe a little depressed. Typically, I figure out that I need to sit down and journal my thoughts, also known as hugging it out with God. I try to process my feelings with loving, healthy individuals who understand me. I read my Bible. I listen to Nancy Leigh DeMoss (we're best friends actually, but she doesn't know it).

But sometimes I just want to run away and hide from all relationships, except mothering and wife-ing. I think that if I can avoid relationships, things won't get messy. If I didn't desire community or deep relationships, my life would be so much easier. If I could just stop FEELING so much then maybe I could get some peace. Maybe I could be okay.

About a month ago, I actually Googled the phrase, "how to change your personality" and then read Wikipedia's suggestions and considered applying the knowledge I'd acquired. But God made me who I am. I'm wired to love people. I'm wired to be loyal almost to a fault. I'm wired to desire more than surface relationships. I'm wired to want friends in my life, to have deep conversations, to feed all my people, and to open the door of my house to any non-dangerous humans. I'm also wired to feel another's pain so deeply. I'm wired to feel other's joys almost as if they are my own.

I remember the day my friend, Julie, found out she was expecting her little girl and called to tell me her news. I was so happy that I sat there, phone to my ear, speechless, with tears streaming down my face. I vividly remember seeing someone I've loved my whole life suffering under a great amount of hurt and I remember crying right alongside. And then crying for several nights afterward whenever this situation came to my mind.
It's good that I feel. For years, I've been so frustrated with this part of myself. But, I'm finally seeing that it's a good thing to feel deeply. The world needs feelers and lots of them. I often get hurt, but I know the Healer. He made me and He understands me.

The Lord has taught me so much through my deepest hurts. For the past two years, give or take a few months, I have consistently felt more hurt than I ever thought I would feel, from situations that I never dreamed would cause such pain. All this hurting has lead me straight past the self-loathing to Jesus. The path to self-loathing is so tempting. Sometimes, I wander down that path and have a moment of, "What the heck is wrong with me!?" But that path leads nowhere. I don't want my kids to ever see me on that path. (I feel the need to insert this truth here: There's a huge difference between taking responsibility for my actions and seeking to make things right if needed versus beating myself up over and over again for making mistakes.) But God continues to meet me right there, when I'm overwhelmed by guilt and shame. Right when I'm feeling like I do everything wrong and I am so messed up He ministers peace to me. He reminds me of His love for me. He reminds me that though my sins are as scarlet, He has made them white as snow. He reminds me that He has compassion for me. He reminds me that He loves me deeply. And, He reminds me that Jesus was a man of sorrows. He has felt pain far worse than I and there was nothing wrong with Him.

So, all you feelers out there, you are not alone. You are dearly loved. You are lovely. Feeling hurt does not mean you are, in some way, defective. We were made to feel.

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