Recently a friend and I were catching up over FaceTime. Sharing what was happening in our lives. Both of us had some pretty big changes just happen or that were about to begin.
With changing seasons and fresh paths most likely comes a roller coaster of potential emotions so how do we move forward and be fully present when the “past” is only a half-step behind us with it’s dirt still clinging to our boots?
How can live in the present with vision for our future and the next generation in a healthy way? How can we transition well or even brace ourselves for upcoming changes when we’re still in the trenches of our current seasons of life?
As we were discussing the future and challenges and emotions my friend encouraged me to “feel all the feels.”
Translation: Don’t stifle and stuff.
Grieve as you go.
Live fully in the moments and take nothing for granted. Bawl your eyes out when you’re feeling sad. Pause and take in the scenery and soak up all the warm fuzzies when they come.
Embrace the pain.
That’s the really icky part, but when you realize that you cannot selectively shut down your emotions, then you’ll learn not to numb the painful ones. As excruciating as it is, we must allow ourselves to grieve and to feel the pain of loss and transition. I believe that to the depth that we experience pain we will also be able to experience joy and peace. We cannot selectively numb and be whole and present simultaneously.
We need to “feel all the feels” no matter how uncomfortable some of them may be.
Sure, we may temporarily feel better about not being a mess at the time, but we know that when we look back we’ll be disappointed that we shut down, disengaged and removed ourselves from the present in order to self-protect and avoid.
It may seem silly to cry over a spatula, but I’ve done it. You can read about that one here.
And the thing is, if we’re ever going to live abundantly and fully in our lives then we’re going to need to deal with our demons and face off with our emotions and the deep corners of our hearts that we want to pretend aren’t there. Sooner or later as most of you know, they will find us.
Someone will rip off that bandaid to reveal a gaping wound that you never attended to. That inflatable beach ball will pop up out of nowhere and blast you unexpectedly. You’ll end up being in a new season or a fresh relationship with so much of that old undealt with stuff that you’ll miss out on the joy of the moment and being fully invested right where you are.
It’s not easy and there’s no magic recipe for soul tending and transitioning well. I think the main thing is to pay attention to our hearts, be kind to ourselves and to live a courageously intentional life. We shouldn’t compare or set a bar for how we should be feeling. We must allow ourselves to grieve. We must admit when we’re afraid. We shouldn’t try to gloss over those sad feelings. We mustn’t take the joy of the moment for granted. I believe we should pause and feel and be right where we’re at.
A big part of this for me has been to start being more honest with God and shift the way that I pray. I’ve been uncertain if it’s okay to tell God what I actually want, afraid that somehow this means that I’m being disobedient or believing that I’ll taint the grand plan and miss the mark because of my desires. That has left me with abandoned pieces of my soul that for the longest time felt like a graveyard instead of a garden.
I didn’t want to touch those place because it felt too painful and dry and revealed areas of hopelessness that were messy and easier left unattended to. I didn’t want to “feel all the feels.” But I’m come to the point where I want to be whole. I want to be fully alive. And that means embracing all of who I am and trusting God with all of me.
The Father, my Father, doesn’t want a canned prayer of submission without an ounce of faith in it. I’m coming to believe that He actually cares about the desires of my heart and wants me to share them with Him. Not in a “genie in a bottle” sort of way, but in a Father/daughter type of way. Where I’m real and raw and honest. Where I’m cracking my fragile heart open and trusting Him to handle it with the utmost care.
Sure, it’s way easier to live an ankle deep life instead of diving into unknown depths. But after wading around in the shallows for too long, life gets boring and predictable and down right unfulfilling because in our gut we know that we’re made for more. That gnawing feeling (the Holy Spirit, perhaps) is trying to tell us something.
We must embrace all of who we are and who He is.
Do you ever think about that verse, “For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
There is a joy set before us. We must endure the hard things. We can’t skip them. Jesus didn’t skip the cross and go straight to the right hand of the Father. He felt those nails in his hands. He looked Peter in the eyes and felt the stabbing pain of denial.
Jesus could filter all of these emotions through the truth that was rooted and grounded in Him and by the security of His relationship with the Father. He also had long-term vision. In the midst of the physical pain and rejection and mockery and being misunderstood by the masses He knew who He was and the greater plan far outweighed His current circumstances.
If you’re in transition or a changing of seasons, don’t let the waves of emotions drown you or callouses to cover your heart.
Be in your life. All day every day.
Let the dry bones come to life and let faith replace fear and doubt.
Let’s have vision for eternity now.
“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him,” Philippians 3:8
“do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7