I feel all the things. I wish I didn’t, but I do. I cry at Budweiser commercials. I can feel the blood rush to my face in anger when I watch the news. I feel like I am going to explode with joy when I see a military dad reunited with his family. Sunsets take my breath away. Watching flowers bloom makes me giddy and I can’t help but giggle when I see a flower open her sweet face to the sun as if to say “thank you”.
Feeling so deeply can make navigating relationships difficult. I am terrible at playing games or even being polite sometimes. I assume that if you tell me “we should get together sometime”, that you are ready to put a date on the calendar. I was equally terrible at the dating game. Rejection left deep holes in me that I would later define as my identity of being unlovable. Unwanted. Insignificant.
I had decided that brave was stuffing down the rejection I had felt and being strong enough to move on. Giving myself pep talks time and time again, trying to convince myself that “all things work together for the good” and “I can do all things through Christ that gives me strength”. Striving to forgive and move forward. Fighting to let go and go on. And the feelings of rejection got stuffed and I would be able to take steps forward, but the next rejection would eventually come sending me reeling right back into the pit of believing all the lies.
“It’s my fault, always my fault”
“Why can’t I do any relationship well”
“I must be unlovable. Unwanted. Insignificant.”
“Why do I keep trying?”
Lysa TerKeurst wrote a book Uninvited and in her dedication, penned these words. When I read them, I honestly felt like I might throw up. Even reading them now makes my eyes burn. I thought I was the only one.
I’ve learned that brave is not stuffing, pretending or acting.
Brave is not declaring “I’m good” when I’m really not.
Brave is not making myself harder, tougher, more capable of sustaining heartache.
Brave is sitting with pain letting myself feel all the feelings.
Brave is crying because something hurts deeply or just sitting with sadness because sometimes life is hard and sad and painful.
Brave is letting myself grieve loss no matter if it is a life, a friendship or a season that is gone and I don’t get to have it back.
Brave is knowing that just because it hurts, does not mean it is wrong.
Brave is admitting that I sometimes wonder if God has any good plans for me at all.
Brave is also not staying there.
Brave is letting myself feel the feelings, but then measuring them all against God’s Word and what He says about me. Because I know if I let the feelings linger unbridled for too long, I am surely capable of defining my worth upon dark snippets of a whole picture. And that is not the Truth. The Truth is that He knows, loves and pursues each of us intimately. There is no escaping His adoration of us. We should feel all the feelings, but then know that they are not always dependable.
Feel the feelings my brave friend. Don’t stuff them down today.
May you be brave enough to feel them and then be assured that you have a Father who is holding you and ready to walk with you through whatever you face.
Lamentations 3:22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.