For it is easy for me to turn off my emotions at times. It is a learned behavior–and probably a control issue. If I turn off my emotions, then perhaps this time, I won’t get hurt by others.
In a way this sheltering-my-emotions behavior stems from my childhood and young adult years. For if I happened to say what I was thinking, I often got called out on it, mocked or laughed at. Then if I cried or got upset, I often heard this, “You take things too seriously. Lighten up.” Sometimes today, as an adult, my family does the same thing in response to something I say or do…and I remember that feeling I had as a child. But now? Now it doesn’t sting, as much. I just take it in stride and be who I am, even if silly is part of the description. But I have learned that I also will hold my emotions close to my heart…and not let them out–most of the time.
So sometimes, like today, I take time to feel cold. In a bit I will turn on the fireplace, and I will then feel warm.
I will pray…and I will share with the Lord all the emotions that are stirring.
And I will specifically pray this, “Lord, help me to let my heart get broken for the things that break your heart.” I will. And I DO!
Yesterday, I met with some friends to pray over another friend in turmoil. And I felt that defensive gate trying to go up. I battled it in my mind. I asked the Lord to help me FEEL her pain and to somehow lift her deep, deep burden. And the gate remained tightly locked up…UNTIL I began to pray aloud. Then I began to cry with her.
There’s something about prayer that makes my defenses go down. I know God knows and sees my heart and emotions. I know that He gets me…that He knows my fear of rejection and mockery, so that I often hide my heart and hold close those thoughts inside. He knows! So I don’t put up my defenses with Him. It is a true relationship–with my Lord.
He is still shaping me and molding me. I would love to say that I have overcome this lack of feeling at times. But I haven’t. It is still there. But maybe it is there less and less. Maybe I am becoming BRAVER. Maybe those words on the tape recorder in my mind, words of criticism and unkindness, will slowly become thin and no longer be able to play.
One thing I know this day is this: God’s word on my heart changes me. So this year, I am praying to feel more…not to be an emoting mess, no. But to feel compassion and show compassion. To feel joy and show joy. To let the real me be seen…and to live out God’s great purposes for my life. And I am memorizing verses that speak to this….rewriting the old words with God’s word. Thank you, Beth Moore, for that concept. It has been changing me for over 13 years now.
Do you struggle with this, too? Let me know in the comments and I will pray for you!