My laundry room is in the basement. My wonderful husband built me a folding table directly across from the washer and dryer years ago. Sadly, it never really got used as a folding table. Old habits die hard. I continued to carry the baskets of laundry up the stairs, fold it the couch while sorting into appropriate piles, and then put it all away from there. It works.
But… my folding table… well it pretty much became a table for collecting stuff. One of the things it seems to collect is all my old containers of laundry soap. I wish I were joking, but I currently have five laundry soap containers and two fabric softeners sitting on that table. Usually the empty ones just get pushed to the back, so I know the one in front is the full container. But sometimes… sometimes I pick up an empty one, think to myself, “Geeze Renee that’s empty,” put it down, and grab the full one.
There’s a trash can right next to the dryer! Why don’t I just throw it away! I don’t know. Even as I type this blog, I have left the empty containers just sitting there.
Why do we just let that stuff sit? Why don’t we deal with it? Then when we reach for the full container, we will always get it.
I see a parallel here with my own heart. My heart is so full. Full of love. Full of joys. Full of hurt. Full of disappointments. Full of more emotions than I can possibly list here. Those emotions are good. Even the negative ones. We need them. They help us become the person God intended for us to be. Full of compassion, wisdom, and understanding.
However, sometimes, I have one of the negative feelings and I just push it back. I try to forget it is there. I replace the emotion and just hope that the negative one doesn’t surface again. And most days… most days it doesn’t. But then when I am not expecting it, that feeling comes to the front and I have to choose to deal with it or push it back again.
Clearly, I choose to deal with my folding table issue about once every three months. This is bad.
But it’s even worse to not properly deal and heal from your past hurts and pains.
Jesus wept. When he learned his friend Lazarus died, he wept. But Jesus knew he was going to die. He knew he could prevent it, but Jesus didn’t rush back to Bethany to heal him. He knew the greater miracle would be to raise him from the dead. He knew he could and would raise him from the dead, yet he still wept.
He allowed himself to feel and process his emotions. He was fully human.
Let me be honest, I allow myself to feel happiness, joy, frustrated, overwhelmed… but I don’t allow myself to feel sad, mad, hurt… I personally stuff those emotions down so far that I forget about them.
But I don’t forget. It’s like a volcano ready to erupt. I stuff, stuff, stuff, explode.
I’ve known this about myself for a while. I have gone to counseling. I have prayed and handed it over to God… over and over again… There has been an amazing improvement… man, if you would have known me ten years ago… But I still fall back into this trap. I still stuff instead of experiencing.
By doing so, I am isolating myself. I am hurting my future self.
God knows we are going to experience these emotions. He built us this way on purpose. And he offers us help. Peace. Guidance.
But we have to actually deal with those empty containers. We can’t just keep letting them build up and pushing them back.
First, you have to admit it. You can’t pretend like you’re not hurt, sad, mad…
Second, you have to admit you can’t do this on your own. You have to pray. You have to give it up to God. And sometimes that maybe extremely hard. But start small, “God I don’t know how to handle this situation. So I give it to you. Lead me Lord. Help me trust you.”
In the midst of the situation, stop and pray, “Jesus, fill me.”
Trust me, this little prayer works wonders!
I remember early in my walk I had this burning desire to be closer to God and experiencing Him more. I actually talked to a priest about it. He suggested I set a timer on my watch. Every hour on the hour stop and pray. It didn’t need to be long. It could just be, “Thank you God for my job.”
I did it for about a week. And guess what? Prayer became a habit. It didn’t take long for me to realize that this life is not supposed to be done on my own. Stop and pray.
Positive feeling- praise God.
Negative feeling- ask God.
Contentment- praise God.
Peace- praise God.
Worry- seek God.
You can do it too! If you would like to try it out, set a timer on your watch. Watch as you grow.
Prayer is our greatest tool! We have direct access to the One who can help us in our situations, but too often we try to deal with it on our own.
Stop letting those containers pile up in your heart.
Give it all to God! The good. The bad. And everything in-between.