This post is going to reveal my heart in a way that I haven’t really shared with many.
I have been struggling big-time with sharing my emotions. I thought that I was an open person, but it was pointed out to me this summer that I put up a wall. I could share testimonies about my life, give the facts and tell you everything about the story, but I couldn’t tell you how I was feeling about something. When this was brought to my attention, I automatically had a flood of emotions–part of me denied it, I was very open about my life! But I realized it was more than that; I was trying to put up a front and “be strong”, like the things I’ve gone through and struggled with couldn’t still draw emotions from me (especially “negative” emotions).
I thought I was being strong. But in hiding my emotions, I was just as weak as ever.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
How amazing is that?
In high school, I was the opposite. I was pretty doggone depressed. I had lost a lot of friends to it. I remember when I came to college, I was depressed and not completely relying on the Lord to be my strength and refuge. There was even a girl here at SBU who sat down with me one day and told me that she couldn’t be my friend, because I was too depressed (obviously I didn’t want her as a friend anyway! In reality, she had to learn about hardship and grow in that; I couldn’t help that she was sheltered and never hurt before!)
After that, I knew I had to be stronger, and I thought that if I was stronger for other people, it would perfect being stronger for myself. Not necessarily true. I put helping others before myself more than ever, became engrossed in ministry, forgot about myself. I thought that I was trusting and relying in God.
This is what God says:
But You, O LORD, are a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head. I was crying to the LORD with my voice, And He answered me from His holy mountain. Selah. I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the LORD sustains me.
In my distress I called upon the LORD, And cried to my God for help; He heard my voice out of His temple, And my cry for help before Him came into His ears. Then the earth shook and quaked; And the foundations of the mountains were trembling, And were shaken, because He was angry.
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
I sought the LORD, and He answered me, And delivered me from all my fears.
Matthew 5:1-4 (Beatitudes)
When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him.
He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying,
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
As you can see, God never said, “Forget about your fears and worries, and I’ll make you better.” He said, “GIVE ME your fears and worries, lay them down at MY feet. Cast all your burdens on ME. And I, ONLY I will give you rest.”
So what have I learned?
It’s okay to be hurt.
When I’m hurt, I need to bring it to God.
God WANTS me to.
Only God can comfort me.
Being strong is not being shut up.
Being weak IS being strong.
Repressing feelings is not the cure for depression.