If you share your story enough, inevitably you’ll meet someone courageous enough to utter the words we all long to hear: “me too”. I’m so thankful for my “me too” friends who have been before where I am now and can help show me the way.
Recently I met up with a friend who has a truly incredible story. She has walked through so much and God has healed and restored in her more than either of us thought possible. She was sharing with me about what God was doing in her life now and I was sharing with her what he’s been doing in mine.
I always feel comfortable sharing everything I’m going through with her because she’s been through it and more. She knows the feeling of being shut down emotionally. She knows what numbness feels like. She spent decades of her life like that and has, in recent years, begun to really feel as God has removed her hard exterior and softened her heart.
“Just allow yourself to feel.”
This was the advice she gave me and it’s stuck with me. I’ve gotten better over the years about taking the time to notice what I’m feeling and allowing myself to feel whatever it is, but emotions are not my first reaction to anything. But, during our conversation, it was like my friend was handing me a permission slip to go deeper.
Last week, I read The Most Beautiful Thing I’ve Seen by Lisa Gungor and she made me feel all the feels, which I was not ready for. Through a beautiful and descriptive narrative, she shares about things like faith and doubt and Christianity. She walks the reader through immense love, loss, suffering, and hurt. And, because of her honest writing, I felt something break inside of me.
So I found myself, as she was sharing about the birth of her daughter Lucie, getting choked up as I sat on my couch. I pushed back tears and swallowed my emotions because I don’t cry. But then my friend’s words echoed in my ears.
If this were a movie, I would’ve cried with ease, it would’ve been a beautiful release, and I would’ve felt immediately better. My problem would’ve been solved and I would’ve lived happily and emotionally ever after. But that’s not what happened.
It was mostly just a lot of snot and a couple of tears shed—it’s as if my body has forgotten how to cry. But I gave myself permission to be emotional in that moment. And, honestly, it exhausted me. I felt so drained and so full all at the same time. It was great but I was ready to sleep afterward.
So, today, I want to give you the same advice my friend gave me: Just allow yourself to feel. You don’t need to apologize for it, you don’t need to toughen up, you don’t need to hide away with it, you don’t need to suppress it. Allow yourself to feel and find safe places and people to express your feelings.
Emotions are good, we were created by an emotional God, and we are emotional because we’re made in his likeness. So, if you need it, consider this your official invitation to feel—what will you do with it?
And, if you haven’t already, check out The Most Beautiful Thing I’ve Seen.
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