Sunday, April 30, 2017

Whatever is true

When my kids were younger they had several Lego sets. Now we have several lego pieces in containers. As soon as they would get a new set, they would build whatever it was. Sometimes with help, sometimes independently. And for a few days their constructions would remain exactly as they were designed. Fully intact, no missing pieces. And then one of two things would happen. Either (a) it got knocked over and pieces would break off or (b) they would get bored with it and re-design it a new way.

Through the years pieces would go missing and their sets couldn't be put back together properly. But worse than that were the pieces you couldn't pull apart. The 'flat' pieces that had no amount of space to leverage against one another to separate them. Broken nails and scrapes from butter knives were almost always the result. And sometimes I honestly wondered if the kids could hear the colorful monologue that was happening inside my head.

Our minds are such a dangerous place to spend time. We either remember things we want to forget, we forget things we want to remember, or we replay the worst moments of our lives because we are desperately searching for the missing pieces that will make it something better than it was.

Last night at church our pastor said something interesting about what happens when we suppress our emotions - it always comes out in unhealthy ways. Unfortunately I know this to be true. He suggested that we allow ourselves to feel all the feelings so that we can deal with them properly. My question is how do you do that when you've become so good at stopping them the minute they start, you don't even have a chance.

On the sermon outline one of the bullet points was this: "It's okay to say you're not okay."

As the service closed, I saw a few people crying. The envy that rose up inside of me was probably palpable. For 6 years I haven't truly cried. Yes, I've had occasional tears slip out; but, I haven't had a truly gut-wrenching cry for what feels like an eternity. Every time I think I have a shot, I push back down every normal emotional response. It is by far the most destructive habit I have ever had. And unlike when I quit smoking, there is not a patch that can help me stop doing it.

But for the first time in years, I have started to say when I am not okay. I am finally able to share what lies are stuck in my head that are keeping me from being okay. Lies of inadequacy, lies of believing I'm not enough and too much at the same time, lies that say I have to earn love. I never knew I was believing all of these horribly untrue things until I started reading again and saw other people writing what I swore were thoughts they'd stolen from my mind. 

And so for now, I am taking most of these things directly to God, because He is the safest place to turn with extreme vulnerability. And my hope is that as I come to terms with so many of these things, I will see that not only is it possible to get better, but that at some point in time, the road I am walking will help someone else get better, too.

Lord, I can't thank You enough for listening to me when I come to You desperate to say that I'm not okay. I pray that you would continue to replace my thoughts with Your thoughts and that You would use what I am going through to help someone else. And Lord, for whoever is reading this that is dealing with the same thing, I pray that You would give them a word of encouragement that frees them to come to You with their out of sync thoughts. We love you. Amen.

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