Updated: Sep 21, 2019
Handling emotions is like handling credit cards. You can be responsible with them and pay off the debt every month or only pay the minimum and have the debt increase; also, just like credit cards not dealing with unacknowledged and unresolved emotional debt comes with finance charges like... bitterness, resentment, and insecurity. Then we are caught up in the mountains of debt that we all have seen suffocate the life out of people. This kind of debt dictates how we live, who we talk to and how we think.
Not letting go of the past, not giving up what we cannot change to God. These are the things that hold us back from living a life of love, connection and growth. It separates friends and family. It separates us from who we want to become. God has never called us to only deal with comfortable situations, he calls us to draw close himself and to rely on him in ALL situations. I can't tell you how many times in my life I have been stuck with, what I call the "Anne of Green Gables" syndrome. I let my imagination run completely wild, thinking obsessively about situations that have happen or even situations that haven't happened. Anne was focused on that she thought her hair should look, how real grown up teatime should go, and even what her future husband should look like. She often had hilarious or even sad consequences for her stubborn tenacity. She has it in her head how she thought it should be and missed out for years on the joy of the reality in front of her. (side note, I mean come on why in the world would you not immediately say yes to Gilbert Blythe!!! ok anyways.) Anne is one of my most beloved of fictional characters and as I get older, I get many practical insights from reading books about her.
I have been so quick to judge how things should be going, how they should look, that I have given myself a boat load of emotional debt. There was no way that I was going to be getting out from under it on my own. There have been family situations that not even in my wildest dreams did I think I would ever face. As a child I honestly, from my core thought I had the coolest family. I never saw the family drama growing up. That all changed when my mom died. Mom had a way of explaining issues or situations to me that I understood how I should be responding. Those naive rosy glasses have since been cracked and thrown away. I had such a violent character changing reality check. The only way I could explain those first few years after her death was like being a vase thrown on the ground, shattered and slowly gluing the pieces back together. The pain of somethings is still being dealt with daily. I still have it in my head what my family and my life use to look like, but it will never look like that again. And enter my Anne of Green Gable's syndrome, I had it stuck in my head that this is what my family, my life should be looking like instead of dealing with the actual reality. Instead of growing and healing, I was in the unending cycle of... this is what we use to do, this is what I use to do, this is what they use to do. Life is not kind when you are grieving. Instead of having a family that helped each other through this difficult time and put the pieces back together, I had a family squabbling on how the pieces don't go there and adding new pieces. We were working against each other and not with each other.
The Japanese have a repairing method called Kinsugi or Kintsukuri/"golden repair". This repairing method highlights the cracks as part of the life of the object, choosing to showcase it instead of hiding it. It has similarities with the Japanese philosophy wabi-sabi, embracing the flaws and the imperfections.
My Jesus has taken my shattered vase of a life and repaired it with his love, he has smoothed over my jagged, sharp, painful edges with gold and is making me into his masterpiece. I had to give up control on how I think things should look. My emotional baggage was up to my eyeballs. I felt the pressure of other people's expectations and disapproval until it consumed my every waking thought and devoured my sleep.
I was driving one day and thank my sweet Lord I almost audibly remembering hearing my mother say "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." Philippians 4:8 ESV. I was struck dumb by this simple, simple, simple thought. I was MENTALLY CONSUMED by my baggage, my finance charges hit the account. I was only focused on my bitterness, resentment which greatly increased my insecurity.
I must constantly refocus my thoughts. I had to renew and retrain my brain to come under God's control. The whole.... Mama Llama, ain't got time for your drama. I had that as my screen saver for a long time on my phone. It's true, I do not have have time for other people's drama, or my own mental drama. I am free, thank you God, I am free. I no longer have that unsurmountable emotional baggage. I still have a whole lot of issues to deal with, but who doesn't ?!?!?!?! I will no longer be a slave to fear, I will no longer let Satan hold my emotions and mind captive. I am broken but I am being repaired.
My good Lord knows I can't get the past back, but I do have the present and I will not waste an ounce of time. I am will not waste time thinking about all the wrongs, about all the injustices of life. Dude, this isn't my home anyways. I don't need to figure out who is worthy of my love and affection. I just need to LOVE!! That golden love that God is using to put the pieces of my life back together covers a lot of imperfections. If my Lord doesn't keep record of all my wrong doings, why am I writing everyone else's down??
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. ( 1Corinthians 12:4-7 ESV)
What situations/emotions are holding you captive right now? If you faced them and surrendered them to Jesus, what would you be able to do with your life?