Tag Archives: feelings

Jesus Offers Safety in the World of Emotions and Vulnerability

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness or Abuse  (c)2019 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

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When emotions are stifled as a child, you never learn how to use or regulate them.

Adult friends have said over the years, “You are open to a point, and then no one can cross that line;” or “You seem unapproachable. Above all the rest of us.”

What friends did not know is the guilt I carried and the continuous reel of tongue lashings I gave myself every day for feeling, let alone sharing any of those feelings whether happy or not-so happy. Vulnerability was downright threatening because of what I would do to myself.

I wasn’t honest about that. God knows I needed help, lots of it, but it seemed too much to ask.

I didn’t want to burden anyone with it and didn’t know what to say anyway. Yet that led to crashes that did burden people in big ways. Rarely reaching out or reaching out in ways that would not actually lead to help, kept me stuck.

Oh believe me, I kept begging – for someone, anyone – to meet my needs. Desperately screaming all my life- does anyone care? I hurt, I’m sad, I’m lost! Angrily demanding, why aren’t you rescuing me?

No one heard because I didn’t scream out loud.

Vulnerability for Wellness

When we come out of unloving or abusive families, it is common to feel different from everyone else, like we are on the outside of a huge secret. We may not know how or where to find emotional safety – or even believe it exists.

In Christ, we are amazingly safe to be vulnerable with people. He led me to wise counselors and then helped me to lower my shield. Learning openness and honesty has not only been freeing, but it helps other people to come out from the shadows.

Vulnerability is hard. We fear jumping off that proverbial cliff of trust – what if no one is there to respond in meaningful or healthy ways? We are afraid that rejection or apathy or even betrayal will leave us in a crumpled heap at the bottom.

It could happen – from the human standpoint.

In Christ though, we have safety. He is our enduring Catcher. Vulnerability with others is important for mental health and well-being. Landing in the tender clutch of Jesus makes jumping worth the risk.

Today’s Helpful Word  

1 Peter 5:7

Cast all your anxiety on [Jesus] because he cares for you.

 

**** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. (for international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours.

Lesson From Under a Rock: No Shame in Feelin’ the Music

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c) 2017 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

Somehow, I am sure the lead singer of Maroon Five was not expecting to change someone’s life that day.  

The foundation

My life was spent believing it is wrong to have or express emotions, especially strong ones. That does not mean I never showed them, but simply much less often than I felt them. Guilt and shame for letting people see this weakness – having emotions – was constant.

Smiling at a stranger or telling a friend I care felt awkward and out-of-place. Helpful gestures, done in genuine compassion, laid me out afterward with self-doubt.  Was it appropriate to show empathy?  Anger and hurt were reasons to beat myself up for days, weeks, and years for having dared. 

Life experience helped me learn some social “rules,” and Christ Jesus changed my scarred heart to a compassionate one. Still,  showing emotion was shaky ground. 

The fallout

One hides from life when emotions are thought bad and shameful.  Even emotive vocabulary escaped my attention.  What was obvious to others, I often missed.

 After a mass shooting, reporters announced that counselors had arrived on the scene. Shocked, I thought, why would anyone need that? How can it be ok to say such a thing in public? Those survivors must be humiliated.

Eventually, pent-up emotions landed me in the hospital for major depression.

Enter Adam Levine

Coaches on the TV singing contest, “The Voice,” taught performers to use what I thought was  a voice inflection skill.  What else could they mean by instructing contestants to inject emotion into their vocals?

One day, I heard Adam Levine say emotions are why people make and listen to music.  I stared in wonder. People want to feel? He just said that aloud?

Therapists had been slowly unveiling emotions to me and my right to express them for about two years.  The Levine epiphany made me simultaneously excited and embarrassed. The world appreciates music for the feelings it generates and no one is ashamed of it. Had I been living under a rock?

Crawling out

At first, checking for emotions in any given moment seemed childish.  Noticing a stiff back, racing heart, shaking, and other physical red flags, I learned to ask what was going on emotionally.  Naming anger, fear, disappointment, or any feeling as the cause, allowed me to question why.

Aware now of what most emotions are trying to tell me,  facing situations instead of running away brings healing.  Resolutions  replace resignation.  Acceptance abolishes avoidance.  Expression erases exile.  

Emotions are welcome although not always pleasant visitors.  Temptation to hide is stronger than I at times.  Mental muscles stretch when I take feelings to God and to supportive friends. Having barely crawled out from under that rock with my life, it is good to know there is more on the outside. 

If you can relate, there is hope for joy.  God’s love is eternal and unconditional. Given time and wise support, it is possible to learn how to love yourself, emotions and all.

 Today’s Helpful Word

Psalm 43:5

“Why am I so sad?  Why am I so troubled?  I will put my hope in God,  and once again I will praise him,  my savior and my God.”

 

***COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME.

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.