It’s been months since I’ve put my pen to any paper. Okay, okay – I mean since I’ve typed anything besides “netflix.com” on my computer…
To give you more of a visual, I’m sitting here with a perpetually furrowed brow and what feels like restless leg syndrome. I assume these could be side effects from overanalyzing or maybe too much coffee. What should I say? What should I write about? Where do I begin?
I’ve toyed with a few different topics — all of which have ended up in my recycle bin – my sad, sad recycle bin filled to the brim with the things I’ve tried to erase: deleted pictures, deleted ideas, deleted documents, etc. The more I think about it, it doesn’t seem like much of a recycle bin anymore. It seems more like a bin of broken dreams.
Woah… that sounds like a bad Green Day remix! Moving on…
Then it hits me: recycle bins. I want to write about recycle bins. I know what you might be thinking: “recycle bins? You lost me.” Or possibly something along the lines of, “Alright, this chick is weeeeeird.” And that’s fair enough, but I hope you stay with me anyway, friends.
Life is full of unwarranted twists and turns. As you well know, there are no warning signs or maps that come with these twists and turns. It could be good or bad, pleasure or pain, hope or fear, it could all turn out really great or it could turn out not-so-great.
So, I like to do this thing when life feels like it’s headed towards the twisty-turny part: I throw it in my recycle bin and ignore it. Quite frankly, it feels like shutting down has become second nature to me — an instant reflex to avoid upsetting the equilibrium of my life.
Anybody with me, yet?
Maybe we do this because we’ve been hurt so many times enduring the unexpected changes life. Maybe it’s because we live in a world that constantly sweeps things under the rug. Maybe it’s because we’ve been to churches that have shamed us for being inherently emotional creatures. Or maybe it’s simply because feeling numb sounds better than feeling anything else.
But I think what it really comes down to is this: we don’t fully trust ourselves with emotion. Believe me when I say this is not a passing of judgment, but merely an observation of the fear that lives inside of us all. Emotions can be these powerful, living, breathing things that have the ability to completely consume us. Of course that’s scary! So, sometimes we’d rather take our emotions and put them in our recycle bin, bottle them up and ignore them. But here’s the catch with this whole recycle bin thing:
you can delete whatever you want, but it isn’t necessarily gone for good.
For as long as we live, we won’t be able to spare ourselves from every twist and turn. We will experience the good and we will experience the bad. We will stand face to face with hope and fear. We will be confronted with emotions we can’t exactly name. Struggles will stack up and recycle bins will start to overflow.
I’ll be the first to admit, I am at fault for doing this time after time. It is so difficult to just let things go and embrace my emotions. But I am at a point in my life where I recognize that bottling things up and avoiding all the rawness life has to offer — good or bad — is only hurting me, not helping me.
So how do we move forward? What can we do?
Honestly, I’m still figuring it out myself. But here’s what I do know: as long as we are living in Christ, we will be met with grace in abundance. We will have the Prince of Peace on our side. We will have solid ground to stand on when our emotions come storming in.
There will be no fear in the unknown because we have a God who has already gone before us.
We will have a Savior who says, “You can do this. The war has already been won.” We will be loved and cherished right where we are by an all-knowing, everlasting God. And in the moments of fear and numbness, the only thing we have to do is let Him in and embrace the twist and turns.
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” 1 Peter 5:10
Friends, He has promised us that He will restore, confirm, strengthen and establish us. It’s written in His words and the proof is in your story. Hold fast to that, and pause with me next time before tossing anything in the recycle bin.