Tag Archives: emotions

Bruises and Healing

My heart is bruised today.  Like a physical bruise, I can go about my daily life, and most people don’t even notice – I can act normal.  But the minute someone gets me talking, (presses against the bruise), tears flow.  It’s not like a deep, bleeding wound where anyone and everyone can tell something’s wrong just by looking at my face (okay, for me and my face, it only has to be a paper cut on my heart for the world to know, I’m apparently pretty transparent, but still).  For whatever reason, this is a bruise, and so I go about my day with a dull ache that can be ignored for a few hours at a time, but never for more than that.

See, I received some exciting, wonderful, scary heartbreaking news yesterday…and I’m hurt and thrilled and full of all sorts of conflicting, messy emotions.  Sometimes life can be that way – chaotic and confusing.  Right now, after spending all morning with teenagers, I want to curl up on my bed, lose myself under my thick blankets, tuck my knees to my chest, and cry into my pillow.  Yesterday, when I received the wonderful news (and thus, the bruise), all I wanted to do was laugh and hug someone, because the news was that amazing and breath-taking.  Seriously, I can’t wait to see how God works through this up-coming change!  Wonders and miracles and (even cooler) such stories are going to come of this.

But now, a day later and having thought about the news a bit, I realize there is a bruise on my heart from it.  Because it’s wonderful news, but it also means big scary change, and some pretty major loss in my life.  I suppose, because it’s a bruise, I could go about my days and ignore the pain; after all, that is what I’ve been taught is “strong”.  And we’re always supposed to be “strong”.  And bruises are easy to ignore – until the bruised part of your body bumps into something (and that ALWAYS happens with bruises or stubbed toes, isn’t it?).

But I learned a long time ago that trying to always be strong – especially when it comes to my emotions – is not always a good idea.  In fact, often, it is downright harmful.  So I journal, and then call my best friend and soak the shoulder of her shirt with my tears.

Because, as painful as this is – I want to feel this.  I want to embrace everything going on inside me.  I want to know the joy, but that means also knowing the pain.  And this is too wonderful of a moment to ignore the upheaval just to look “strong” or like I have it all together.

Besides, nowhere in the Bible does it say we’re supposed to have it all together.  In fact, if you look at the characters throughout the story, not one of them (except for Jesus, of course) had everything all together.  Jesus didn’t hold those who were pretending to have it all together.  He touched and healed those who admitted to their physical pain.

And really, God gave us emotions.  They are wonderful things.  You CAN get lost in them, but so long as you use them healthfully, than you’re better off with them than without. God wanted us to experience joy and happiness – but those emotions are only truly sweet when you’ve experienced their opposites – disappointment and sadness.  Think of it this way – you wouldn’t appreciate the sun if we never had night time, or a cloudy day.  You need both.  And to ignore only the “bad” or “negative” emotions – the ones we try to suppress and not experience – only deadens your ability to enjoy the good ones.

So embrace both – the joy and the pain, health and the ache of a bruise, the light and the dark, that you might understand the value and beauty of both.  And yes, this sounds very “ying-yang” ish, but don’t take it that way.  The good is stronger (and does win) over evil.  Joy always has the last word.  But you need a dash of the pain, you need the bruise, to appreciate the rest.  I know, it sounds twisted, and if I wasn’t bruised right now, I’d probably be a whole lot more eloquent on the subject.  But I’m not.  This is me, raw, because I can’t think past the bruise at the moment.  I’m sure I will in a day, because that’s what I do.  Just not right now.  And that’s okay.

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Music Notes

I have made a discovery.  This is going to blow your mind.  Really.  Are you listening?  Okay, pay attention now.

Girls dig boys who make music.

WHAT!?!

I know, right?  Whether he sings heart-throbbing lyrics, strums a guitar, hammers on a drum, knows how to make a banjo dance, or simply can really buzz a harmonica, boys who make music tend to cause women to swoon (definition of swoon as I understand it is along the lines of instant crush).

True statement.

And if a boy writes his own music – oh man!  Better watch out!  He’s very likely to have mobs of girls running after him.  Or screaming his name.  Or wearing his name on homemade t-shirts.  And have posters of him in their rooms.  And know all his songs by heart.  They might even randomly burst into those songs in the middle of a mall, or a hall, or a classroom.  They might even dance to those songs.

I bet you had no idea.

Music is powerful.   It can turn a stiff board of a person into a ball of spinning energy.   It can open doors.  It can alter a person’s mood quicker than a puppy, a caramel frappaccino, a great workout, or a cute new outfit.  It also has the power to keep a person in a mood, or even heighten an emotion.

When we break up with boys, we play depressing and angry songs over and over again.  When we’re in love, or really, really, really want to be in love, we listen to any and every love song that is on our ipod.  Over and over and over again.

Music is the quickest, purest way to our soul.  Really and truly.  I’m not kidding.  Hence the reason if a boy REALLY wants you, he’ll write you a song.  Or struggle through it on his newly-bought guitar.  Or, at the very least, he’ll make you a playlist.

So, it makes sense that a chunk of our time in fellowship with other Christians be spent singing, worshiping our God.  I know it probably feels weird.  I mean, where else does that ever happen, except at concerts, where a group of people just sing together?  Nowhere.  Weird.

But…but for me, it’s been during times of worship when God most often talks to me.  Or when I can finally express to Him what’s been bothering my heart.  It’s during times of worship that I have literally felt God cleanse me of all the gunk life threw at me that had been clinging to my heart. I have felt refreshed, convicted, comforted, and encouraged.  And I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that worship is the key to all of that.

When we take the time to tell God how much we love Him; when we take the time to remind ourselves in song of His goodness, of His power, of His grace; miracles happen.  Chains are broken.  Lives are changed.  God’s glory is displayed.

 

So, two things –

Be careful what music you listen to.  I’m not saying only listen to Christian music (NO WAY am I saying that), but do be careful.   Remember, what you listen to is a reflection of where your heart is.  Music has the power to put your heart in a good place, or in a down-right rotten one.

And, take some time this week, all on your own, separate from church or youth group, and tell God how much you love Him – in song.  You know how awesome it is when someone sings to you; I’m pretty sure God feels the same way.  I’m pretty sure your belting your favorite worship song in the shower (because who DOESN’T sound amazing in the shower?) puts a huge, little boy grin on His face.  And it’s a wonderful thing when God smiles.

 

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Eagles and Emotions

I was standing in church, one of a handful of white faces amidst a sea of darker.  It was praise and worship time, my main reason for ever attending any church service.  (First is worship, second is community, third for the stories the pastor tells, fourth for the occasional doughnut, and fifth is for the actual sermon – sorry.  It’s not that God doesn’t speak to me through the sermon, because He does.  It’s just that normally, if I want to hear from God, I close the door to my bedroom, find my journal, turn on some worship music and then start praying.  Sometimes I pull out my Bible.  After that, I call (or, usually, grab coffee with) some of my wiser friends.  Wisdom and advice is always more easily swallowed with a cup of coffee (or, in my case a cambrick) in hand. )

So, anyway, I was one sweaty (it wasn’t fall yet, and temperatures were still above the 100’s) white face in a sea of non-sun-burning faces in church. And we were singing, thanking God that, like the wind beneath an eagle’s wings, He lifts us up above the storm.  I don’t remember the exact song actually – just that image.  And I remember praying, “God, just walk with me through the storm.  I want to feel everything.  I don’t want to escape life’s bumps and bruises.  Just walk with me.”

Silly me!  That was at the start of the hardest year of my life to date.

Why on earth would anyone pray that silly prayer?  “Don’t lift me above the storm God, I want to experience it, I want to be bumped and bruised and broken and tossed about.”  Sounds painful.  It IS painful.

But by that point in my life I knew enough to know that God often does His best work in the smack middle of our pain.  And I desired God to do His best work in me.

I also knew that I wanted to experience life  – all of it.  Including the pain of the storms the song was talking about.  I didn’t want to just glide above them, I wanted to be down in them, feeling the roller coaster waves beneath my feet.  Thrilling in the ride and risks and healing that would be taking place.  I didn’t want God to protect me from this life.  I wanted to KNOW all of it, that I might know Him better, that I might share Him better with others.

But, you know what?  I don’t think I needed to pray that prayer.  I mean, yes, I did.  My heart needed to tell God where I was with Him; that I trusted Him to take care of me no matter what.

But I didn’t need to pray that prayer because God doesn’t do that – lift us up above a storm.  I was right – God walks with us, side-by-side through the storm.  Sometimes He stops us and surrounds us with His body, protecting us from some airborne shrapnel, but for the most part, we get to feel everything.  That’s kinda part of the point of this life – to experience it.  Somewhere along the line of growing up in a very Christian environment, I picked up the idea that God’s protection means that He’ll keep you from feeling too much pain.  That you’ll never get depressed because of Him.  Yeah, that’s not how God works.  Him walking beside you does NOT mean He keeps those emotions away.  Him walking beside you means He’ll help you manage those emotions, that you don’t have to be overcome or ruled by them. But He still wants you to feel the emotions He placed inside us, that respond to the situations we are in, that we might get to know Him better.

The more you live life with someone, the better you get to know them.  So, live life with God.  Get to know Him.   Don’t be afraid of the storms that come, He’s with you.  Don’t get bored during the gentle, quiet times of calm, He’s still with you.

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