What’s your never?

These are the areas I’ve struggled the most: the areas I told God “never.”  Never would I share, never would I do that, never would I say that, never would I treat someone like that.  Never, never, never.

My heart was so intentional about saying never.

For example, my two year old just cried himself down for nap.  I said I would never.  I know not realistic, but my heart just aches when my kiddos are crying.  However, my two year old needs a nap, and he won’t go with others in the room.  So I shut the door, and he cried for less than a minute.  And I hear a gentle whisper say “see he is okay.”  And maybe more importantly “you are okay.”

Lots and lots of parenting things I said I’d never do (pre kids of course because you are always judgmental until you walk through it-am I right?).

When I have claimed “never” over an area of my life those are the times I’ve struggled the deepest in my faith.  When I’m actually faced with the reality that “never” is now a possible option or just the reality of life at the moment.  I hurt, I resist even more because I’ve promised myself never.

Maybe for you it is medication to help you stay sober, or the keep you calm.  Maybe you said never to counseling because you had a bad experience.  Maybe you said no to taking care of yourself, because we are supposed to serve right?  I won’t be like them…on and on we go.

Our mind keeps track of that inner voice, and when we say no I’d never, our mind has a hard time letting us do it when it actually is good for us.  Or a good option for the time.  Allow yourself freedom, because others around you need that same freedom to move and live and make decisions.

What are some of your never-s?  Maybe some are funny, and maybe some need an evaluation.  Let God search you.  It is for freedom.

Have you boxed God in?

Have you boxed God in?

Have you allowed Him to move freely in some areas of your life and not others?

Me too.

This was easy to do when I first became a Christian.  I let God forgive me for cussing and saying His name in vain.  But then I fell into this deep place of policing my life, which then turned into policing others lives, as well.

I wrestled with this for a while.

My deepest question: Would God really say what He says He will do?

I had hurt.  I had deep pain.  I had wounds that I didn’t know if I could give to Him or not.  Would He be that Good Shepherd I knew in my mind He was?  I had to remove the box from my heart so He could come in.

Then you realize you’ve been protecting yourself from the One you need most.

Boxes.  Walls.  Self-protection.  These have come down.  With the help of dear friends, my husband, my mom, and my counselor, mine are.

Like an addict to a drug, it is very easy to return to this place of self-protection.  It feels safe.  And in a past where I wasn’t sure I was safe, I craved that.  But as believers our safest place is in the hands of our Savior who places beautiful people around us, so we can slowly step out of this place of self-protection and into those pastures with beautiful flowers and sunshine.

It’s breathable outside of our walls.  There’s life.  There’s freedom.  There’s healing.  There’s hope.

So seek someone out today.  Allow them to speak truth or just to listen to your deepest questions about God.  Place your hand on your heart.  It’s okay to have questions.  He wants to answer them.  I bet who you are talking to has had similar questions too.

Know this:

He is good.

He is kind.

He will do it.

Are you angry?

Anger.  I love covering that word with some of the most deflated words.  I’m just upset.  I don’t know.  I just don’t feel good.  But, what I really feel is anger.

Is it okay to be angry?  I think so.  But in the moment I’m not sure if I can allow myself.

When fear normally shows up so do the thoughts.  “Oh, you can’t be angry.  Christians are patient, calm, and kind.”  I tell myself.  “How are your kids going to turn out?”  I remind.  “What would _______ (insert important person, or person staring at the grocery store) think of your angry outburst?”  Shame.

Anger is a complex thing.  It can come up at a moments notice, and I look around like what the heck just happened?  Dr.  Jekyll has come.

Guess who I like more?  The calm, cool, collected mom.  But with three kids five and under, there are going to be some “upsetting” moments.  Stubbing my toe can send me somewhere scary.

When I first started counseling, I had a lot of anger to express.  I had pent it up in this whole idea of being “kind, compassionate Christian girl.”  I wanted to be forgiving.  I wanted to be gentle.  Anger felt unforgiving and the opposite of gentle.

I had some things to be angry about.  They were valid.

And this diagram got me.  Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions has encouraged me more than a time or two in this process of freedom.  He describes anger’s opposite feeling as fear.  Wow.  Fear displays itself in anger sometimes.  So when I’m angry, my thoughts are normally on what other people are thinking about me, fearing how they perceive me as a mom.  Sometimes I’m angry because I’m afraid someone will hurt me.  I feel angry sometimes because of  my lack of control.

Learning how to express emotions is a huge step in walking out freedom I believe.

I like this freedom.  When I’m angry, it is okay, and maybe I can ask myself “Are you afraid?”

Are you angry?  Maybe ask yourself the same question, and then listen.  I like this response.  Feels loving.  Instead of punishing yourself for being angry, embrace it for a moment.