Had a whole other door I was going to walk through with you today…and it was good. But I just thought I better let y’all in on some personal struggles I’m having during this time. Just being real.
Last night, I had an emotional breakdown. Suddenly, everything seemed to just come together as a “perfect storm”: the whole state of Colorado going on lock-down for 17 days, not even being able to go to the store because of my compromised immune system, searching for my new rhythm while staying at home constantly, needing to encourage and uplift others (yet not being able to find the words myself), missing my son and daughter-in-love, missing my parents and my sister and her family so much I ache, on the verge of tears most all the time. (I’m even crying when I hear the good things happening all around the world.) All of a sudden, everything became “too much with me” and for a while, I just couldn’t handle it.
So I let myself feel it…in all its not-glory!
David sent me an article this morning that really helped me see my emotions with new eyes. If you’ll allow me, I’ll hit the high points that spoke directly to me.
As I’ve said before, God gave us all the emotions that we have. Yes, all of them. Even the ones that aren’t so pretty. Even the ones that we’re ashamed that we’re feeling. Even the ones that don’t have names yet.
The writer of the article gave my emotion a name. And that name is grief. That underlying, discontent that I just haven’t been able to put my finger on. Maybe that’s what you’re feeling, too. And according to him, we’re actually feeling a variety of griefs during this time.
We grieve that the world will never be the same again. And it won’t. Just like after 9/11, going on a trip by air has been forever changed. This is a new “9/11” for us; a point of change.
There’s the grief of normalcy.
The grief of an unsure economic situation.
The grief of a loss of connection.
The grief of uncertainty of the future.
We’re grieving. And it’s ok.
Most of us know that there are stages of grief:
Denial (The virus won’t affect us.)
Anger (You’re making me stay at home and miss out on my life.)
Bargaining (I’ll stay home for two weeks…then everything will be alright, right?)
Sadness (I’m thinking this might never end.)
Acceptance (This is happening. So I just need to figure it out.)
Acceptance is good. Acceptance is where we find our power. “I can wash my hands. I can socially distance. I can work at home. Hold my sweet iced tea…I can do this.”
I’m at the tail end of sadness, and inching into acceptance. It’s hard for me. I’m not a huge worrier, but my creative and active imagination pulls images of the “worst case scenario” into the forefront and I can sure as heck get distracted and sidetracked and “frozen in place” when that happens.
Which stage do you find yourself in? Whatever stage, whatever emotions you’re experiencing, it’s very, very important that you don’t hold them inside. You need to let them out.
If you’re having a tough time, tell others about it. Tell trusted family members and friends about the struggle.
Cry out loud, for crying out loud! Ugly cry if you have to. It’s ok. Admit that you’re feeling these feelings deeply and let them out.
The writer of the article said, “When you name it, you feel it and it moves through you. Emotions need motion.”
One interesting point he brought up is that, as a generation that embraces “self-help,” we’re the first one to have feelings about our feelings. Isn’t that ridiculous, but so true!?
“I feel sad, but I shouldn’t feel that; other people have it worse.”
Instead of saying that, say, “I feel sad. I’m going to give myself five minutes to feel sad.”
Have you seen the TV series Lost…from ahundred years ago? The story about a plane crash on a deserted island that has a lot of secrets and supernatural happenings. (Watch it if you can…excellent show! Except my Daddy hated the final episode lol)
One of the main characters, Jack, is a surgeon. Another main character, Kate, is a scrappy criminal. During the first episode, Kate has to sew up a large gash in Jack’s back. They talk.
Kate: I might throw up on you.
Jack: You’re doing fine.
Kate: You don’t seem afraid at all. I don’t understand that.
Jack: Well fear is sort of an odd thing. When I was in residency, my first solo procedure was a spinal cord surgery on a 16-year-old kid. A girl. And at the end, after 13 hours, I was closing her up and I accidentally ripped her dural sac; shredded the base of the spine where all the nerves came together. The membrane was a thin as tissue. So…it ripped open.
…And the terror was just so…crazy. So real. And I knew I had to deal with it. So I just made a choice. I’d let the fear in. Let it take over. Let it do its thing. But only for 5 seconds. That’s all I was gonna give it. So I started to count. 1….2….3….4….5…. And it was gone. I went back to work, sewed her up and she was fine.
Kate: If that had been me, I think I would have run for the door.
Jack: No, I don’t think that’s true. You’re not running now.
Later in the show, Jack and Kate are running away from an enemy…a “monster” that they can’t see, but they hear it and “feel” it moving closer to them. Kate gets separated from Jack and is paralyzed with fear. She hides in a tight grove of island trees, panting, sweating, literally afraid for her life.
Remembering her conversation with Jack, she takes a few deep breaths, tries to steady herself, and in a panicky, shaky, breathless voice she begins counting.
And then she runs like her tail’s on fire!
That’s what we need to do. When an overwhelming emotion comes to us, we need to feel it; we need to let it take over. But only for a certain amount of time: to the count of 5, to the count of 100, for one hour or one day. Then we need to let it go and run toward what we know is right and true.
In the Bible, King David went through some rough messes, too. Many of the psalms that he wrote are cries that came out of times of big trouble. They’re unashamed cries for help. They’re not pretty. They’re during times when all seemed lost except for God’s intervention.
Psalm 69:1-3 (TPT)
God, my God, come and save me!
These floods of trouble have risen higher and higher.
The water is up to my neck!
I’m sinking into the mud with no place to stand,
and I’m about to drown in this storm.
I’m weary, exhausted with weeping.
My throat is dry, my voice is gone, my eyes are swollen with sorrow,
and I’m waiting for you, God, to come through for me.
David’s not hiding anything here. He’s literally pouring out all of his ugly, heartfelt emotions to God. He didn’t compose himself before coming to God. He didn’t go to the mirror and make sure his hair was combed and there was no spinach in his teeth and that his nose was powdered: he came to God exactly as the mess he was.
Remember what the last stage of grief is? Acceptance. That’s a good stage to get to. But an even better stage to get to is one step after acceptance: Praise!
After David had poured out all of his messy emotions, then guess what? He turned his woe and his worry into worship.
Psalm 69:30-32 (TPT)
…my song will be a burst of praise to you.
My glory-shouts will make your fame even more glorious
to all who hear my praises!
For I know, Yahweh, that my praises mean more to you
than all my gifts and sacrifices.
All who seek you will see God do this for them,
and they’ll overflow with gladness.
Let this revive your hearts, all you lovers of God!
Feel your feelings. Feel your grief, your sadness, your fear, your uncertainty, your anger, your frustration…for a time. Then stand tall and praise God! Sing! Dance, if you want to! Remember all of the good, good things that our Father has done for us already. Thank him for all the good things in your life that He has given you. Because He is a good, good Father. Yes He is.
Source: Scott Berinato