Now that my husband is back (from the men's retreat this weekend), I have someone to talk to in the early morning, over hot steaming mugs of coffee. When I hear myself talk to my husband- when I hear what I have to say- I realize that I'm processing a lot. It's the way my mind works. I'm glad my husband can handle the fact that I always have something to say. (He knew what he was getting into when he first dated me- I was not the silent type, even back then).
But I was as a child. Perhaps I am making up for a childhood where I kept so much inside of me, other than the bit I revealed to my secret diary that I named "Holly". Holly was my imaginary, best friend- never shocked at what I had to say, never surprised by the vehemence of my feelings. She was the best "friend" a girl could have. She could handle it all- hook, line and sinker. And I did a lot of sinking in those days.
As I prepare to teach this month's Women's LIFE workshop at my church, I am addressing the topic of "Runaway Emotions". Nothing major- just addressing the reality of fear, anxiety, depression, happiness, jealousy, euphoria, shame, confusion.....all part of the Christian's life.
Yes, in spite of the fact that you know the Creator and Savior of the World, you are still a person with emotional reactions to many things. And emotions don't quietly subdue themselves at the singing of a hymn in church. Emotions don't disappear at the sound of a Bible opening. No, you've got to deal with them. Or at least find someone who can deal with them. The perfect person, of course, who can handle it all is God Himself. "Casting ALL your care upon Him, for He cares for you." (1 Peter 5:7) He can handle your runaway emotions- and not even be flabbergasted by the depth and the range of what you feel.
I did not have that as a basic premise back when I was a child. Few people even discussed the word "authenticity" and what it meant. In my family, I wish we could have validated the good, the bad, and the ugly, more frequently and fairly. Back then, most Christians were stuck in the "go to Church and what ever you do, look good!" thing. No one shared their downfalls, their messy scenes of family life, or their awkward moments of falling apart. Most of all, you didn't discuss among yourselves how awful it felt to be afraid, or what you "saw" when you looked around you- if it wasn't good- or how ridiculously uncomposed we really were when the guard was let down and the need to look good was gone. And when we talked to God, we often told Him...what we thought He wanted to hear. Not the reality of what we felt or were dealing with.
My kids are experiencing a different environment, I think. Life at home, here, is... interesting. Often messy, but real. My husband and I have gone out of our way to make sure that our kids know that what you feel and what you think can change, can get modified, or debated and discussed. We don't want them to learn to package themselves up nicely and have raging emotions on the inside, not dealt with, never expressed.
Yes, there is a need for propriety and self control. And there is Truth that does not change. But what we want is for our kids to search for the Truth. When it comes to the Truth of Christ Alone, Christ the Lord- each one must decide for themselves. A conviction about the Christian faith? We want it to be their conviction, not ours- shoved onto them.
That's why my kids can yell out, "Mom, TD Jakes is on TV" knowing he inspires me, while deciding that they get nothing out of watching him. I won't make them watch. But sometimes my son will come in and lay on the end of my bed and listen for a minute. I think he may be considering what it is that I'm getting out of this guy's sermon. He's considering the merit of the message I am personally celebrating.
But it's not just a guy preaching on T.V. It could be a book I'm reading. Or maybe the sermon we just heard at church. We're talking about it. We're expressing our view points.
We are each a work in progress.