One day two years ago, a dear friend of mine, grabbed me by the shoulders during one of my apology sessions, and said, "sister, I am sooo tired of you apologizing for the depth of your heart, for the tears that flow, and for the moments that you are emotionally vulnerable. This is one of the most beautiful parts of your character, and who you are. When I see you get emotional, and when I hear the heart of who you are, I see Jesus. I am encouraged that "feeling deeply" is part of the heart of God. Thank you for being willing to risk sharing your heart, being willing to risk vulnerability, rather than putting up an image of strength. Please don't apologize again."
You can imagine, when I heard that, I was stunned. I didn't know how to reconcile what my friend was saying in contrast with the beliefs that I held. Could my emotions be a part of the heart of God? Could they be something used for His glory? What would happen if I actually embraced this part of myself?
So, I set off on a journey to embrace this part of myself, rather than doing all that I could to suppress it. I began to open up, to share the deep parts of my heart, to share the deep emotions that I felt, all the while, doing my best to not "suck it up" or to hide from people when I was struggling. I made some tremendous changes, pressed into this part of myself, but there were still some hiccups.
I recently heard myself speaking...as if I was outside of my body, and I heard myself say, "I apologize that I am so messy." I realized that deep down, at the core of my being, I was still believing that it was somehow sinful to allow myself to feel, and when I did, that equated to being "messy"...instead of being human! Old habits die hard!
Earlier this week, I was feeling discouraged, disheartened, and I was grieving a transition that I have walked through. I bravely opened up to some of my peers and shared exactly how I felt, and honestly, I didn't manage whether they thought that I was weak, dramatic, messy, or too emotional, but rather, I pressed in. Then, in typical fashion, I apologized to a friend of mine, and told her that I would get it together soon. I knew that if I just spent time in His word, that I would be able to focus on obeying Christ, and that I would stop thinking selfishly, and sinfully. I apologized for my pity party. I was caught off guard when she said, "when are you going to stop being so hard on yourself for having feelings!!!?..Sunny, I am pretty sure that Jesus was an emotional man too...He felt deeply".
She then reminded me of the Psalms, and how they are a book packed full of emotions, and that was somehow part of the human experience.
I read this yesterday in Hebrews 5:7-9 following that conversation.
"During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered, and once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey.."
And the soft, gentle voice of my Savior invited me to feel, reminding me that He too felt deeply. I am not comparing my road with that which He endured, but I do know that even though Jesus longed to obey the Father..He still felt deeply, He still cried, He still asked the Father to remove this cup from Him...and that doesn't make Him weak, it doesn't make Him "disobedient" or "messy"...it makes Him Jesus.
So, I am going to continue to embrace this part of ME, and I am going to refuse to believe the lie that it is sinful, messy, or dramatic to do so. I won't do this perfectly, but I am so thankful that I am making progress. I pray that you too will press in to being exactly WHO GOD MADE YOU TO BE...without apologies. And my friend, you are not "messy"...you are human! It's ok to feel..it doesn't mean that you are disobedient or lacking submission if you feel.
Amen by myself. Preaching to myself. Hope you gain something out of my ramblings.....