A new thing

Lo, I am doing a new thing, now it springeth up,

Do ye not know it?

Yea I put in a wilderness a way,

In a desolate place ---- floods.

Isaiah 4319 YLT1898


 This verse popped up on my phone this morning as the verse of the day. I recently installed the app to join a group in a daily study. I read my Bible daily, and I thought it would be nice to join in with others and share our thoughts.

If I am being honest, joining the group has shone a light on something that's been working in the background of my heart: self-protection.

In the past I would have called it introversion, just me being quiet and shy. Jesus is revealing to me, though, that it's a wall of self-protection that's trying to keep me safe from a variety of things like control (by others), error (theological), pain (relational), and being known (because what if you get to know me and find out you don’t like me or that I’m a fake). That wall stays up until I feel safe. That safety can come in a few ways for me...someone reaches out and notices me and draws me in, I see a need for something that I can contribute so I step in, or I sense a comradery or resonance with someone and let my guard down.

I am all for discernment. I believe that I have Holy Spirit leading and guiding me at all times. In this, however, I have been the one leading and guiding...using my own lens of past experiences to filter and determine how much of me is ok to be present with.

So in this group I joined, we read a Scripture passage or two daily plus a devotional and share what has stuck out in the readings. I have not been a fan of recent devotionals I've encountered...most of them seem trite and shallow and not really digging into the meat of the passage. This devotional has been pleasantly different and this is what shone the light on my self-protective tendencies because as I realized the gems that are in this morning liturgy, shame crept in and started shadowing the revelations I was receiving.

It started saying crazy things like, "well that's nice...it's something you should have already known. Why aren't you writing things like this?" Or, "you're a spiritual leader, for goodness’ sake. You have to find something deep and profound to say to serve others straight from the text of the Scripture. You don’t need a devotional."

Thankfully, I was aware of that little voice today and recognized that something wasn't quite right. The last couple of days I've just glossed over it and the emotions and moved on, not taking time to dial in to the disturbance in my heart. But this morning, this verse-of-the-day popped up and God shone His light on that place in my heart that's been hiding, probably for quite some time.

A "new thing" is a new thing. New. Different from what's been before. Experienced for the first time. And God has been speaking to me about the shifts and changes happening. It's not the first time this verse has been the object of my meditation. And it's becoming increasingly apparent that to enter into the "new thing," I have to be made new. Actually, He has already made me new. It's time for me to walk in and be alive in my full awareness of what that means and looks like in my daily life.

So for today it means I have awareness. I have awareness of a part of my heart that's been shielded and protected by a wall that no longer serves me and must be taken down. I'll do that through prayer, applying my essential oils to support me emotionally, physically, and spiritually in the process. I'll do it with graciousness and kindness to my tender heart and then I'll give that job back over to Jesus.

Isn't it interesting how God works in our lives? I stand amazed that a small "yes" on my part to enter into a study group became the pathway to a much deeper revelation than I was anticipating. It's so freeing to know that it's not all up to me. He is leading and guiding me every step of the way, and I can trust Him with my process always.

He is so faithful.

Emotions. Do you stuff them?

Swallow hard. Clench your jaw.  Hold back the tears.

Breathe in deep. Inhale…exhale…hold it all in.

Silence. Throat tightened. Bite your tongue.

Just a few of the ways you may be stuffing your emotions, saving them away for another day. There's no harm in a momentary pause in emotion in order to process it in an appropriate time.  The problem for most of us is that time never comes, and emotions get stacked like sardines in the back of our minds and the memories imprinted on our bodies like a record to be replayed again and again.

Later, maybe a day or a week or a few months, perhaps a few years even, something happens to recreate the feeling you had before, the time you stuffed it to take care of another day or hoping it would just go away.  But it didn't.  It just got stored in your body, waiting for its turn to come out and play.  Except an emotion that's been in a closet doesn't play nice anymore, especially since it's been ruminating around with all of the other emotions it found hidden away.

These emotions start to swap stories.  They have ways of organizing themselves with their narratives, each telling more embellished than the last. Sometimes they try to one up each other, there in the recesses of your subconscious mind, replaying over and over and over again their moments of pain and sorrow, fear and regret, shame and guilt…vying for their place in line at the closet door.

Finally, that closet door has so much pressure behind it….all of these emotions vying for their place in line, pushing and shoving, getting louder and louder, more boisterous…more angry.

Until something small happens in your day. It could be you got cut off in traffic. Or perhaps someone was short with you and said something unkind. Maybe your kids left their shoes out one too many times or your husband forgot the most important item on the grocery list. 

Those emotions, they have been waiting.  It's getting hot in that closet and they are tired of being silenced.  Plus, there simply is no more room.

You go to stuff that emotion away only to find a rush of feelings flooding your body, and you react…or, rather, you over react to that situation that just happened.  In your mind, you begin to justify and maybe even blame someone current…"Well if you would have only…if they wouldn't have done…if there had only been…" as you struggle to get those uncomfortable feelings under control and back in the closet and hope no one has noticed the mess that just spilled out.

Has this ever happened to you?

Depending on your mode of operating, after an episode like this you may then add another layer of locks on that closet door, locks like guilt and shame or anger and rage. You want to protect that door at whatever cost because you do not want to ever feel that way again.

The problem is, you will.

You have effectively just told your body to store them for another day because they are just too much or too hard or too painful or too….well, you know, messy.  Emotions are messy.

Yes, yes, they are.  But emotions stuffed are way messier and more toxic to you, your body, your spirit, and your loved ones than you can imagine.  And also easier to process than you've been led to believe.

Next….Emotions. Can they make you sick?