Monday, March 30, 2015

You've Got Me Feeling Emotions

Do not be anxious about anything, 
but in every situation, by prayer and petition, 
with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, 
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(philippians 4:6-7}

This morning I discovered that my baby boy has been throwing away papers that he hasn't been getting good grades on, and only showing the the ones he wants me to see. I found some crumbled up papers in the bottom of his trash can (along with a three-day-old dried up used-to-be peanut butter sandwich--someone has been ignoring my rules--tsk, tsk), ones that I'm figuring he wasn't very proud of and wished would go away. When I confronted him this afternoon, he immediately started to cry. So many nine-year-old emotions came tumbling out in tears and spit and intermittent gasps between sobs. My heart broke. He had been holding onto his distress for so long that it had taken it's toll. Yes, I'm embarrassed over my grades, he said. Yes, I was afraid you would be mad at me. Tears streaming down his face, trying to hold it back because boys don't cry.

When we finally established that a) I wasn't mad, but I am here to guide him, so sometimes it might feel like he's in trouble when in reality, he's just getting a helping hand, b) he is human and will make mistakes and will probably get a bad grade again, and he needs to learn and grow from those mistakes, not to try to hide them as if they don't exist, c) he needs to ask for help, and d) you can't carry around all those heavy, sad feelings, because it only makes you feel worse, he had stopped crying and was swiping at his nose with the back of his hand.

Who knows how long those papers had been sitting at the bottom of his trash can. I don't clean out the trash cans every week, so they could have been there for days. And it made me sad, because just like him, I hold on to feelings that I don't have to carry. When I choose to talk about how I feel in a healthy way, the emotions don't control me. But when I hold onto them, carrying them around on my back like a sack of rocks, they weigh me down until I can barely stand under the pressure.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
{1 peter 5:7}

Guilt, anger, bitterness, regret, shame, remorse, sadness--they will eat away at your soul if you let them, not only causing more emotional distress, but physical stress as well, manifesting itself as depression, anxiety,a lack of energy, memory issues and mood swings. 

I'm so relieved that he was able to talk to me today--I couldn't bear the thought of my son carrying around the weight of the world on his small shoulders. He shouldn't have to. I believe God thinks the same about us. When we won't go to Him and take all our stuff with us, we end up carrying way more than He ever intended for us to.

Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in Him, 
for he shields him all day long; 
and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders.
{deuteronomy 33:12}

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