I am a word person so last night after I got home from the gym–also known as gym therapy. I was kneeling beside Chris’ side of the bed crying and talking, he sleepily said, “I’m proud of you for using your words.” Now, this might not be surprising given my love of words and love for using them, but it was surprising.
Using the tools I’m learning in Life Mentoring School for coach certification*, I could hear Dr. Edie say, “Be able to be compassionate enough with yourself to be curious.”
So I was. I allowed myself time and safety to gently and authentically ask myself, “What is the thought here?” I was patient with my thoughts. I was understanding and compassionate with myself as I tried to figure out, “What is going on here?!?”
And yes, this took place at the gym. See, one of the best ways to be open and willing to process emotions (feelings in motion) is through some form of motion. You can walk, lift weights, journal, pull weeds, cry–one of my favorite ways to process emotions, and thank goodness because it comes surprisingly easy to me, LOL!
Honestly, there are a lot of thoughts right now in my over-extended brain–tornado-like, hell-bent on cutting a wide path of destruction. I would argue too many big and heavy ones for all the different areas of my life. We may not all have the same thoughts and going on in our lives right now–I’m still grieving the loss of my Father-in-Love at the end of January. I’m still dealing with trying to get our foundation repaired from a slab leak detected in October! I have young adult children discerning their next step…or needing to discern their next step but keeping themselves so busy and distracted they can put it off one day at a time.
If we were sharing our hearts right now sitting on your porch, in a parked car in the Target parking lot, or at a coffee shop, I’d offer you the safety to get curious with your own hard thoughts and feelings. I’d hold space for you to get impatient with yourself because you think you should be fine because, after all, look at everything you have to be thankful for!
I’d even cry with you as we started to sort and name your thoughts and feeling. I’d sit with you as you tried to sit with them and I’d walk alongside you as you tried to walk and work through them. We’d separate them and choose the most painful one or the predominant one to tackle first–ain’t nobody got time to try to take on a pack of angry dogs all at once!
And that’s what our feelings do sometimes right? They combine forces and assault our thoughts and feelings. When they join forces, they’re such a noisy, nasty, snarling gang it’s hard to know how to defend ourselves from the front, much less be able to sort them and feel them appropriately.
Some of the hardest mental and emotional work is sorting our thoughts and feeling objectively. But we can’t truly see, recognize, and feel them without the process of holding them up and really examining them separately from all the other emotions. We have to do the hard and holy work of recognizing them, identifying their source or cause, and examining them to see if they can hold up under the filter of truth…or, are they just some wild thought meant to distract us from our God-given purpose?
If we were face to face, after a few epiphanies and probably lots of tears as we made our way to the bottoms of our iced coffees, I’d remind you, “You can count on you.” You don’t need “them” to do this or that. We’d talk through how “they” are not in charge of…anything or anyone but themselves; the same applies to our ownselves.
I’d tell you, you have what you need inside of you to take the best care of yourself. You can’t be abandoned because you’re not going to abandon yourself. You can’t be unseen because you’re going to see yourself. I’d remind you who you are in Christ and He can’t leave you, forget you, or unsee you.
* In case you missed it, I’m in the process of being a Certified Life Coach. I see this as a beautiful and purposeful extension of what I’ve already been doing all these years here and in our Bible Study Community.