Got some idears a brewin in this here head a mine butcya'll jus gonna hafta wait a lil bit longer now, ya here??!!! Translation (for all you non-southerners): God's been showing me some cool things this week that I've been pondering the past few days and AS SOON as I have one free moment I will fill you in, thank you for waiting so patiently!!! Here's a little preview:
As most of you have heard... I've been in Nashville since last Friday on a couple of missions. My birthday celebration began last saturday when a great friend took me on a canoe trip down the river! The day was filled with incredible conversations, yummy gluten-free snacks, and (as always) revelation through nature. At one point we took a little break from paddlin and waded in the water. It wasn't too long before we got the bright idea to try and pry open the tightly shut fresh water clams. I was secretely praying for a big ole fat pearl to show up and wisk away all of my financial needs! As I thought more about those fantastic possibilities... I also heard a little whisper of wisdom saying, "but if you didn't need me to provide for you, then I wouldn't have a chance to take care of your needs which reveals my character and love, and produces faith and trust." Alright, He got me on that one.... but still, it'd be nice :) We struggled for at least 10 minutes unnaturally poking things in it's comfortable little private home. At one point we barely got one open enough to see in, seconds before the mighty muscle shut us out once again.
Later down the river, I couldn't help but relate these beautiful mollusks to our own lives. Through a handy dandy "feelings chart" I received from good friend of mine, I'm now beginning to see how this all fits together and how essential this concept might be for some of us to grasp. Basically there are 8 primary feelings: Anger, Hurt, Sadness, Loneliness, Fear, Shame, Guilt, and Gladness (according to this particular information). It also mentions that feelings expose our needs. Most of us get a little unconfortable when those needs are revealed, don't we? It can be a vulnerable time, but it can also be very beneficial to our growth if handled with care. What we don't always realize is that these feelings themselves are not the disease here... they are just the symptoms revealing something deeper inside. When we examine these feelings respectively rather than push them aside or bury them deeper, some incredible things can come forth. Through willingness, patience, work, and time.... gifts will occur (or fruits). On the other hand if we refuse to acknowlege them or in some cases harshly reject... they have the ability to become toxic impairments in our lives enslaving us from the inside out.
I'll be going through this a little more in depth at a later date, but I felt as though a proper introduction was in order. Understanding our feelings and needs a little bit better will, i believe, assist us along the road to emotional health and the journey of becoming whole. (But don't just take my word for it!!!) God desires freedom in all of our lives in all areas, and He has the power to release us from these things that hold us back. But God also gives us choice... and I truly believe He's always giving us opportunity to choose His freedom and love. (Or else we'd be robots, right?? Which, unfortunately, is how a lot of people view christians).
From my experience and observations it seems as though most people are not too in touch with their feelings, let alone deep needs. Part of the reason we might push them back down or kick them quickly to the curb might be because of fear or simply inconvience. It's never quite the right time to "deal" with something that might begin to annoy or embarace us. Because of this we are becoming less and less transparent... and even more disconnected from ourselves! I hear crazy stories of something tragic happening that no one saw coming.... and why??? I believe part of the reason might be because of initial feelings that had been repressed so much that it became physically, mentally, emotionally and even spiritually toxic. So, instead of dealing we tend to numb or medicate these seemingly awkward feelings away instead of allowing each one to come to the surface allowing God to deal with carefully, gently, and lovingly. But we must do our part and be willing and patient.
Much like the little clam, we hold so tightly onto our "stuff" because being exposed might be a little too painful or frightening. If the outside world sees what is REALLY going on- they might not accept us for who we are.... they may feed into our rejection, or they may even abuse our vulnerability. How in the world can we trust them? Well, we can't always....they are only human. But we can trust God... and pray He sends people to surround us with love during those broken moments. Even as I'm writing this I'm remembering something my pastor talks about a lot. He's always encouraging us to truly listen to others and climb into their story with them. So as great as this is for you as an individual to know and search for yourself... there is another apect of this alltogether. There are others hurting out there and they've all got a similar story to tell.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that we should just spend the rest of our lives digging up our crap and holding each others hands singing kumbaya (although I'd dig it a time or two, haha). But what I do see clearly.... is that we are a body of people who desperately need to move forward.... together. We need to see that we are broken and that we can't fix ourselves or each other. We can do nothing without the power of God. But God, in all of His infinite wisdom has already put healing mechanisms in place to help us move from a position of victim to victory. He desires us to move from the place of being shattered to being healed. And the cool thing is he uses us despite our imperfections. I think a huge misconception is that we have to have it all together to be a minister to anyone else.... which, believe it or not, keeps people every day from taking part in the beautiful command to love and serve others- living out the gospel.
With patience, work and time... God is able to take those unwanted feelings and painful needs we have and transform them into a priceless pearl. Now, when the deepest parts of who we are exposed... what will others see? Will they see a humble prize that is healing and growing, waiting in eager anticipation to be used by the King?? Or will they catch a glimpse of the stagnant heavy heart we might carry? I feel as though God's desire for each one of us to seek wholeness is growing with greater intensity as the days go by. He deeply cares for every part of us and aches for us to step closer in proximity to Him. Every time I think about life here on earth and how fleeting it is... I can't help but realize that this is all we have (in our earthly state) to show Him the glory, honor and praise He truly deserves and asks for. Right now we have the ability to choose Him, one day... we won't have that precious gift of a choice to make any longer.