There are a lot of things that are hard about being human. Life is messy. Sometimes it’s hard. And at times it just sucks. I think that the hardest thing about being human is emotions. Emotions are powerful! They can be debilitating. Sometimes they can’t be contained. Now before I go any further I will acknowledge that there are plenty of good, positive emotions that arty the same attributes as the bad ones. For example, pure joy can overflow and cause tears of happiness. But there are also plenty of “negative” emotions that are just as strong, if not stronger. One of these is anger. It can be ugly. It will control the mind and the tongue, causing thoughts and words that are not truly reflective of the person speaking them. Sadness, hurt, pain and loneliness kind of all wrap up into one big pile of messiness that can weigh down and smother ones spirit. I think that one of the hardest feelings I have dealing with is when someone I love is experiencing sadness or pain. This feeling should really have a name of its own. I have learned how to cope with (perhaps not in the best way) my own emotions…but for me to watch someone I love suffer through anger or sadness is nearly overwhelming. But the flip side is even sweeter too. The joy of watching someone you love be at peace and filled with their own joy is amazing (sorry that word is so overused). So I’m not really sure what my point is (if there is one at all) Exocet that I am truly fascinated with the ability to feel things the way we do as humans. It makes me wonder how Jesus dealt with his array of emotions while he was human. The Bible talks about his anger. And sorrow. And grief. And yet we know he never once sinned even as he dealt with those emotions. I’m fascinated by his mind and his thoughts. And it brings me comfort to know that since he did walk the earth as a human that he felt the same things I do. He understand my prayers when I ask for help dealing with my human emotions.
I love vacation. I love the anticipation of a new adventure. This may sound crazy, but I love packing for vacation! There’s something about neatly tucking stuff away in a suitcase in preparation for an exciting journey. But as exciting as it is to load all that stuff into the suitcase, it is just as awful to unpack it. The journey is over…the time has come to do some unpacking. It’s tempting to just leave it all in the suitcase, and I will admit that I have done that after a vacation for a few days…trying to put off the dreadful task.
Recently I’ve faced the reality that emotions have to be unpacked to. They are pretty easy to pack away, but they can’t stay in the suitcase forever…eventually they have to come out. Unpacking emotions -past hurts, fears, memories – is a daunting task. But you can’t live out of a suitcase for the rest of your life. Day to day, life can seem good…can actually be really good, but that baggage is still there and emotions can and will unexpectedly surface.
For the better part of my life I have not been one to tackle things head on. Rather, I chose to stick my head on the sand and wait for things to pass (or hope they would ). Rather than dealing with hurts and emotions as they came along, I would neatly pack them away…for some other time. As I seek God more and more to guide my life, I know that I can no longer function in a healthy way by packing things away. So, as I go through the process of on covering layers of “stuff” I am learning so many things. First, I’m learning to seek and rely on the Spirit to navigate me through the unpacking process. I’m also learning to trust that where God takes me, He will give me what I need to become the person He created me to be. If God is telling me to unpack these past hurts and emotions, then He is going to teach me and help me grow along the way. As He helped me unpack, He is creating more room for me to be filled with His love and hHis Spirit.
The unpacking part of this trip may not be the best part of the journey, but I know that it’s a necessary step along the way and I’m certain that it will be rewarding…living out of my suitcase is no longer an option.
I have never been the type of person to believe that if I live my life a certain way that all things would be rainbows and sunshine all the time. That’s just not how life works. I am not perfect…but I try to live the way that I know I should. I try each day to become a better version of myself (thank you Matthew Kelly). And living life in a way that I remain true to myself and my beliefs feels good. I like myself a lot better when I’m serving others, speaking kind words, just overall content and at peace. But life is still not rosey all of the time. Life is not problem free. There are still bills to pay, family issues to deal with, work/school stuff to get through. That is called life. If I’m not careful, I could let the “life” stuff get in the way of my living. I have been guilty of that on plenty of occasions (even within the last week). I could get discouraged and scared and all those other emotions that like to try and steal peace and contentment…but why? Life is going to happen…and sometimes its not going to be pretty. If we know these emotions are coming, why try to fight the downs? I read recently that we should not fight the things we feel, but rather embrace and own our emotions for what they are. I truly believe this shifted my thinking. Instead of fighting the worry or fears, I have learned to accept it for what it is and go on with my day. It makes it a whole lot easier to get back to “the good stuff.” I used to be one to feel sorry for myself and my problems. It seems I was often hosting self-pity parties. I look back now and realize that I wasted those times trying to fight real emotions…when I could have just accepted them, and then moved on – with them – and kept on going. This change of thinking allows me to own my feelings, but not wallow in them. I have learned that I can carry those feelings around, but not let them weigh me down. I can be thoughtful about the way I’m feeling, as yet still find reasons to laugh. Have I mastered it….? No way. However, I have truly grown and come to a better understanding of myself and my life. Each day I become a better me.