I got an email the other day from a woman who wanted to know more about what I talked about in this post. I was referring to what is now the Guided Hearts Course and at the time I was deciding between doing a study on purpose or emotional freedom. Purpose was greatly on my heart at that time so I went that direction, but finding emotional freedom and what that means to me is still a big part of my relationship with God and how I started to be able to enjoy my life instead of trying to keep up with the world’s way of suppression and avoidance of the topic. So now I want to talk about it, because I really think it has been avoided way too long. I think people turn their heads because it’s deep. It exposes. It makes you vulnerable. And understandably so, sometimes that’s not the most attractive topic. But I am going to talk about it anyway, because I used to avoid and that was a hard, sad, lonely time for me. And what not everyone can see when you are in need of freedom is that there is so much JOY and FREEDOM at the end of the hard stuff. But unless we really do this and dig in deep, we stay in the hard part. I don’t want that for my worst enemy, and I certainly don’t want that for you.
Today marks the second official day of being 28 years old. Yesterday I celebrated because my life is different than it was when I turned, say 21. Sure I celebrated when I was 21… probably celebrated a little too much the wrong way if I remember correctly, but it’s a different type of celebration when you decide you are celebrating who you are, who you’ve become, and you recognize who holds you, who carries you, and who loves you - rather than, who’s next to buy you a drink.
My mid-late 20s has brought an abundance of good things. Better skin care (thanks Alisha!), better relationships/friendships, better self care (thanks Nikki!), better understanding of how to juggle being a working mom while still being present for my son, better bible reading habits, and a better or healthier relationship with God and the world that surrounds me - to name a few.
However, I’d be amiss to say that I have fully found my version of emotional freedom. Do we ever fully find it, where it changes our life and we never look back? Maybe some do. I have hope that in Heaven it will be that way. But I also know that my desire for emotional freedom keeps me connected to my need for Jesus. It draws me into God’s grace. It breaks me down to the rawest emotional form some days and it covers me with a love that heals, and a power that can change how I am affected by the world.
So have I acquired it? Not completely, but that’s ok. And if you feel like you are there too, then sit by me because we're in the same class, sister.
What does emotional freedom mean exactly? For me, it means being able to make it through a day without feeling completely alone, misunderstood, unloved, or invisible. It means understanding God loves me, and Jesus died for me and that’s enough. It means for me to give up on trying to keep up with the callused world and instead embracing my soft heart and using it for good. It means crying. It means processing. It means learning how to heal and giving yourself permission to feel all the feelings.
People view freedom like it’s a destination. I certainly did. I just wanted to get there already. I was tired of always feeling hurt, and being hurt. I want exhausted from trying to be heard and understood. I was worn from feeling like the world was weighing down on my shoulders, yet the world didn’t pour into me like I poured into it. In thinking finding the destination was a fix all, that made me exhausted. That made me tired and worn. That hurt me. Because there again I was not enough to achieve my last hope of a little freedom from my own emotions. Instead I continued to feel enslaved and isolated by how I felt. My mind would replay, back track, and question every moment making me break down and feeling desperate to numb out with Netflix, wine, bad food, bad tv, etc.
I want to stop for a second and clarify something because I feel like this might be reading a little dramatic. If you are thinking, “why couldn’t she keep it together?” “Why is she so emotional and letting people get to her?” “She needs to grow up!” “She needs a tougher skin and to stop being so dramatic.”
If someone you know, or me, makes you think any of those things, please listen. Be gentle, but don’t treat us like we are fragile. We just need love and understanding. We need time. We need grace. We need acceptance. We need physical and mental room and patience. Don’t treat us like we might break, because truth is, we’re already broken, but so are you. We all are. You are more like us than you think. You might just be better at hiding and suppressing it. But keep in mind, a functioning alcoholic is still an alcoholic. They are still hurting themselves and feeling pain. The burden will always be tethered to your being unless you give it to God. Our heavenly father is the only one who truly takes it over, and lifts our burdens. So let’s be real in saying that we all need God just as much as anyone else. Just because your life seems to be going a little better than someone else’s, that means nothing - we all need God the same amount. Our need for the Lord and all he offers equalizes us. And then God does something amazing. He says, “Yeah I love you as much as I love her, but I love you both uniquely because you have different needs. And baby girl, I am here to meet every single one of yours.”
Everything changes when we start to understand something. Want to know that what is?
It’s when we begin to understand who God is, and who Jesus is. When we look into Jesus’ purpose and God’s love, it changes the game. Boom. Done. You’re different. When we make a decision to accept our superpower of sensitivity, we change. Life changes. It doesn’t get easier, but it gets lighter because we accept that God is going to lead us and love us regardless.
When we accept that God made us sensitive for a reason and were able to give ourselves permission to be who we are, when we accept that God loves us no matter what and actually gave us all of those things (that the world may see as dramatic, or a burden) as gifts, then that's when we can start using them for good.
Sensitivity is your superpower.
And when you realize that you can walk into hard situations, and instead of running off and crying or internalizing your feelings and over analyzing what's happening around you, you can courageously and calmly say…
“How does God want me to use my sensitivity of the situation?”
“How does God want me to use the traits in the gifts he's given me in this moment?”
So is it freedom in the sense of living a new life of no trouble and never looking back? No. It’s better. It’s the type of freedom that establishes boundaries that set us free in the arms of our Savior. It’s a freedom we get from acceptance and love, and it’s a freedom that is only handed down through prayer and understanding of who our true father is and where our ultimate home is.
So let’s start there.
We don’t want to put it all behind us. We don’t want a fresh start with a new personality, new body, new life. We want Jesus. We want to know that even when our superpower starts to feel like a burden, we can rest because there was a man sent into the world to take care of the very burden we carry, and yes. His name is Jesus.
I pray that you never lose sensitivity, but that you shed the scarred skin and be renewed through Christ. I pray that you never become calloused but instead you become stronger and healthier. I pray that you allow yourself to process things in a private and faithful way and that you give yourself patience to do so. I pray that you understand you are not from here, therefore you do not have to do what others do in hard situations. I pray that you know the love God has for you and you know it’s a unique love only he can give you. I pray that you can compose yourself, have courage and then create a movement centered around the same kindness and love Jesus gives. Because that’s what it’s all about at the end of the day right? Giving Jesus away.
So from one sensitive sister to another, we’ve been called to pick up our superpower and show this broken world who is in charge. We honor God with our sensitivity by being courageous. So don’t cower down and wish you weren’t the one with the softest heart. Own it. Be her. The world needs more of her. Don’t give up.
Speak up, show up, and be faithful that God can use you through this.