I went there. I dove all in.
I let the emotion, the frustrations, the doubts, and yes, even the anger tumble right out. I told God, then I told my husband. I guess some of us need to say it twice just to make sure we are heard loud and clear.
The thoughts and emotions and questions get pressed down as we suck it up and push through life like responsible adults. Then another transition, even a small one like the kids getting out of school for the summer, can send our thoughts to all the places we were giving to God and trusting him with and being all grown up about.
It’s ok to let it out at times.
Yes, there are others dealing with much more severe situations than us. That does not negate what we have been walking through, nor how our faith is currently being stretched. Rest in that for a moment my sweet friend and stop feeling guilty for the feelings you have.
Feelings are feelings whether they are right or wrong and sometimes in order to overcome them and recognize when they are deceiving us, we have to first acknowledge them.
“We can’t change what we can’t identify.” – from Soul Detox, by Craig Groeschel.
God is BIG enough to handle you; even ALL the questions, frustrations, doubts and yes, the anger. So I vomited it all out and I still found on the other side of that God is so good! God’s goodness does not disappear when our emotions are not good.
“For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 100:5
She lost it too. Hagar ran away. She had enough. She was done. The situation she was in she did not ask for. She had obeyed Sarai and slept with Abram, and now she was pregnant with his child. Her emotions took over and she begin to treat her mistress, Sarai, with contempt. My emotions can get the best of me too. You?
The things that happen to us in life can bring out all of our limiting beliefs, insecurities, and yes, even our anger.
His faithfulness continues when you and I let out all that we have been holding in; the things we thought we were working through and overcoming and then they spring up. Even then, his faithfulness continues.
Giving voice to it all became this huge release and there I found freedom to see past “all the things” that had stacked up inside of me. And there I found that His love still endures.
We clean our homes because we know they are dirty. In fact, as we clean all the dirt gets exposed before it’s removed. Sometimes there is more there than we anticipated. And that is why every once in a while releasing “all the things” is so cathartic. It cleans us all out.
When I was pregnant with my first child and arrived at the hospital they did not believe I was that far along in labor. Every time a contraction would start revving up, I would lay my head back in the wheelchair and begin to relax every muscle in my body. I had practiced this over and over again in the birthing classes. Yes contractions are extremely painful, but they are more painful when we tense up with each one that comes.
In the past, and even now there is a temptation to brace myself, tense up, and prepare myself to survive, not thrive, when life throws unexpected things my way. Why? Why do we think that if we are stressed, tense, and basically allowing the pressures of life to control us, that that will somehow help us?
In the emergency room they took their sweet time assigning me to a hospital birthing room. I was relaxed in my appearance so they thought there was no hurry. Once I was situated in a room and the nurses checked to see how close I was to having a baby, they were in shock.
I was dilated to seven and actually about to give birth within a few minutes. Everyone in the room begin to move at the speed of light, running here and there and calling the doctor and prepping the room for the delivery of our sweet baby boy.
When we relax under pressure, others may not even realize to the extent of what is taking place. Not because we are masking anything, but because we have learned to rest in the storm. Maybe this is learning to thrive rather than survive.
When I was younger all of life’s ups and downs use to send my emotions whirling all over the place. I would talk to my husband, my mom, my friends, and get all caught up in what was going on in our life and their lives. The drama and the anxiety can become almost like a hidden addiction, as we allow our circumstances to control our emotions and our reactions.
There is a sense of urgency to figure things out, to talk about them or to hunker down in survival mode and brace ourselves to withstand the winds. Brace ourselves all we want, but the winds are going to come. There are seasons that they arrive faster and more fierce.
You and I cannot live in survival mode all of the time. We were made to thrive even through the storms of life.
One day I just stopped myself. I walked into a room even though the chaos was whirling in our lives, found a seat, closed my eyes and laid my head back just like I use to do when the contractions would come while I was pregnant.
As I rested my head I began to relax every muscle in my body and let go of the anxiety. Then I quietly begin talking to God in my mind and allowing his peace and love to quiet my heart. I found that this brought so much more relief in my life than making phone calls, getting caught up in the all of the details and repeating them over and over again – whether out loud or in my thoughts. And this sure beat reacting to my kids in a stressful way when I was not really upset with them.
There may be an adrenaline rush that comes with getting caught up in all the chaos, but when you crash, you crash and it’s not pretty and all the drama waste so much time and energy. So I learned to get quiet in His presence and for however long I have, two minutes or ten minutes, I let his love and peace speak to me.
During these moments I repeat the promises of God, NOT my problems and the unbelievable situations. It’s amazing the calmness that can come over us as we rest in him. Others may come in contact with you and not even realize the magnitude of what you are dealing with in your life, just like the nurses had no idea I was about to deliver my son within an hour of arriving at the hospital. If only I had applied these techniques to my life seventeen years ago when I gave birth to my first-born son.
Be intentional friends. Be willing to weed out and toss the defaults of your life that are not profitable for you. God graces us in ways we cannot imagine when we follow him, when we follow his ways, and when we follow his instructions.
Sarai arranged for Hagar to have a child with Abram, but later she blamed her husband for allowing it to happen and became angry. She took her anger out on Hagar and treated her harshly. Hagar ran away to escape from her problems.
I love that God didn’t leave her alone, instead he sent an angel to her. God goes with us when we run. Then the angel of the Lord said, “Return to your mistress and submit to her authority.” The angel added, “I will give you more descendants than you can count.”
The angel went on to speak to Hagar about her son that she would give birth to and what to name him. Genesis 16:13 says, “Thereafter, Hagar referred to the Lord, who had spoken to her, as “the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have seen the One who sees me!”
You and I will have those times when our strength is exhausted and those raw and unfiltered emotions from living in places we did not want or ask for, pour out of us from the deepest crevices of our soul. That’s ok as long as we do not stay there.
Let it out, then find a time to get quiet in His presence. In your mind, visualize every muscle in your body and give them permission to relax. Rest. Repeat God’s promises from his word. Listen. Listen for “the God who sees you”.
Only God can give you the needed strength to not just survive the storm, but to thrive in every situation that arises.
Only God can give you a peace and a calmness that does not make sense to others.
Only God can give you directions to follow, your “next steps”, like God gave to Hagar as he asked her to return to face her problems.
A friend recently said to me, “I do not know how you do it all Joe’l.” My answer to her was something like, “God graces each of us to do the things he has given us to do.” This is true, but . . . I feel like the rest of my answer should have been, “I don’t do it all.”
We were never meant to do it all.
We do what we can, with what we have, to the best of our ability and the rest? Well, that’s up to God. And what you and I can’t accomplish and what God does not take care of on our behalf, will have to wait for another day or maybe it’s not worth doing at all!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on thriving instead of surviving. How is God calling you to rest in the middle of chaos? Give me a shout out in the comments and let me know.
Have a great day friends!
In it with you!
P.S. If you are doing a little house cleaning in your heart, the book Soul Detox by Craig Groeschel is an awesome resource. You can purchase it here (at no extra cost to you and this helps keep Faith Caffeine up and thriving).
Oh, and my sweet Madelyn took the cover photo of this blog on a day she wanted to “just take some photos for fun” while we were out and about. Didn’t she do a great job?