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It's Okay To Not Be Okay

The last couple days I have been feeling afraid about my upcoming surgery. I was definitely low key shaming myself for feeling this fear, trying to out think it, and rush past it to get to my calm confident place of faith again. It wasn’t working. I found myself stuck in freeze mode and cyclical thinking of feeling afraid and demanding of myself to not be afraid because I already had all these wonderful revelations and was past this. In a God ordained moment, a wise friend reached out to me, and I expressed that I had been feeling afraid but was trying to work through it. She told me to “Sit in sacred silence. Allow what is to arise, arise. Breathe. Notice the sensations in the body, breathe. Be with all that fear and invite it into the breath of life itself. Breathe. You are the breath of life.” This gave me the permission to be afraid and sit with that fear. I sat by myself, allowed myself to feel what I was feeling, and cried. It wasn’t a bad cry. I felt like I was coming home to myself. For the first time in days, I was finally being completely honest with myself and honoring what was going on in my body.

As a mom, I actively try to not stifle what Eli is feeling. If he is feeling sad, I want him to feel it. I tell him, “It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to feel sad.” I try to help him identify his feelings of sadness, frustration, fear, anger, hopelessness etc., so he can learn from a young age how to cope with his emotions in a healthy way which will hopefully save him a lot of the hard lessons I’ve had and am still having to teach myself. I hope it will also show him that he doesn’t need to turn to vices such as alcohol, drugs, or being a workaholic to numb himself. It’s challenging because big emotions make me uncomfortable. I have a fix it personality. It’s hard to bite back the “Shhh, don’t cry” when I see my kid falling apart because I want to see him happy and flourishing. However, that’s about me. It is not Eli’s job to make himself smaller to make me feel comfortable. He needs the space to work through what he needs to work through. My job is to be present with him and let him know he’s safe and supported while he navigates through his big feelings. I so easily recognize the importance of doing this for Eli, but it is not always so easy to recognize the importance of doing this for myself.

My sweet friend’s advice cued me to be tender with the little girl in me that needed me to sit there with her and hold space for her fear. After fifteen minutes of just sitting with myself and honoring my feelings, I felt myself emerge from that freeze mode that had me distracted, foggy, and uninspired for days. I felt clear and at peace again. I’m not at all saying that I don’t still have my moments, because I do, but I feel opened up, understood, and supported. Suddenly, I wanted to write again. I could connect with Erik and show him pieces of me that made me feel vulnerable, and I could better love Eli. Being true to myself opened me up to hear from the Holy Spirit, and get into a higher level of thinking. The song “When I Say Jesus” by Life Church Worship played in my head, and served as a powerful reminder.

You show me

Every breath I breathe is from You

Every fingerprint part of You

I am Yours from start to end

You hold me

And even when I wander

You are never farther

Than just a word away

When I say Jesus

The very mention

Shatters the darkness

And calms my soul

When I say Jesus

Even a whisper

Breaks through my doubting

‘Til all my fear is gone

When I say Jesus

When I say Jesus…

Even though it’s often times my knee jerk reaction to ignore what is happening inside of me or to try to will it away, it is not the answer. Being authentic, tender with ourselves, and giving gentle validation to the experiences happening in us is the beginning of drawing close to God in these moments. For a few days there, I was fighting my feelings of being afraid which was making it difficult for me to have authenticity in my relationships including my relationship with God. If I am not being honest with myself, how can I seek the comfort that I need from others? So many people feel alone for this reason. We need to be present with our own feelings regardless of how uncomfortable they make us. Just because we have feelings, it doesn’t make us any less strong, spiritual, or wise.

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This is such an important message about letting ourselves process our emotions. I wish I'd understood this when I was burying everything in my twenties! May we find safety in sitting with our emotions in God's presence. It's a safe place...

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