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  • Alane Stanton

Allow Yourself to Feel

I know it's coming ...


I took the day off.


My fridge is stocked.


A new novel is at the ready, along with a couple of non-fiction books I have begun.


Tissues are beside me.


Bring it.


September 26th marks the day my precious son went home to be with Jesus. So in preparation of that date, I get ready, because I have no idea what that day will bring.

Incredible sadness, unrelenting grief, immeasurable tears, memories flooding my heart to the bursting point ... OR ... unspeakable joy, hope beyond measure, a longing for Heaven, and a never-ending love.


I won't know until I wake up on that eventful day. Grief is a funny thing. Sometimes it hits you like a freight train, and sometimes like a gentle whisper on the wind. However it decides to make an appearance on Monday, I am ready.


Over the years I have learned to feel. Divorce knocked me off my feet. The death of my sweet boy threatened to overtake me, and at times I couldn't function. Through all of the trials that have come my way, I have felt it all. Every emotion.


Anger, regret, sadness, anxiety, fear, awkwardness, joy. (So many others, but this is enough for now.)


With each emotion comes action; how I act, react, or remain still through each one. Wandering around aimlessly with no seeming direction, making lists of the "what ifs," so many tears shed, not getting out of bed, figuring out my newfound singleness. and at times just being a down-right cranky pants.


Ephesians 4:26 says, "Be angry and sin not." So anger is OK, as long as we don't let it consume us and control our actions.


Isaiah 43:18 says, "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past." Regret is a waste of time. Take the "what ifs"and file them away in the past and leave them there. Then do what verse 19 says, "See, I am doing a new thing!" It's ok to feel regret, just don't camp out there.


Jesus wept. Sadness comes. Feel it. Let the tears and the snot fly! It's OK!


When our anxiety multiplies, He will comfort and bring calm. (Psalm 94:19) Can't we all use a little more "calm" in our lives?


What are you afraid of? Has fear ever paralyzed you? On some level, I'm guessing it has for every person reading this, whether fear for your life, or fear of the future on a financial, relational, or even spiritual level. Fear can be debilitating. Fear is not from God. "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7)


Awkwardness ... geez, I had to go there. Being single again after 22 years of marriage has caused a few insecurities to rear their ugly heads and also caused a few awkward moments.

BUT ... I am the daughter of a King! I am fearfully and wonderfully made! When the awkwardness tries to creep up on me, I remember who I am AND Whose I am!


In life we are going to "feel" a lot of things. Some good, some bad, but all necessary for growth. Wait. What? I have to go through all this in order to grow? How is that fair?


God didn't promise a life without problems. A life without anger. A life without regrets. A life without sadness, anxiety, fear, or awkwardness. But He did promise to be there with us through every single trial that comes our way. He promises to lift us up, and even carry us when we can't stand alone. He provides everything we need, even when we feel we are lacking. He catches every tear as it falls. And He promises, JOY will come in the morning.


So go ahead and feel those emotions as life happens. It's OK! You aren't going it alone as long as you have trusted in Jesus. What a comfort to know, He experienced the same emotions we experience. What strength we can gain from His example. What joy we have knowing we will be with Him and all those who have gone before us one glorious day.


There have been many times when I put on the plastic smile, and answered, "I'm fine," when asked how I was doing/feeling. Inside my face was contorted, and I was screaming, "I JUST LOST MY KID, HOW DO YOU THINK I'M DOING?!?!" Sometimes we worry how someone might react to hearing how we are actually coping with a current situation or loss. Or we don't want them to be as sad as we are, so we smile and act as if everything is ok.


If you're doing this, STOP IT!!! We were made for community, and no one will know how to help or encourage us, if they are oblivious to the feelings we are hiding. We were made to be loved and to love. I stopped hiding. AND I make no apologies for my tears or sadness when they come. Oh how they come! And now I'm sharing with the world, whether they want to read about it or not. (Said in jest, but keeping it real.)


In a discussion in GriefShare last week, we talked briefly about this. If we don't share how we are feeling, we just might be robbing someone of a blessing. Folks are blessed when they show up and love on someone who needs encouragement; needs to know they are not alone. We are blessed when we receive that encouragement. It's a win-win! Don't be guilty of cheating someone else out of a blessing.


Remember ...it's OK to feel ALL the things.


I may shed a few tears on September 26th, I may spend the day in bed, or I may be just fine and smile all day long. Grief is tricky, but when it comes, I allow myself to feel ... Every. Single. Emotion. And that's OK!


Life. Experience it. Feel it. Cry if you want to ... for joy, does indeed, come in the morning.


________________________________


I've shared this verse before, but it's one of my faves:

"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." - Isaiah 41:10


"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." - Proverbs 15:25


"The Lord is near the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit." - Psalm 34:18


"If we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." - I John 1:9


"For God so loved the world (you and me) that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life." - John 3:16


"I will be a Father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty." - 2 Corinthians 6:18


"I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made!" (emphasis mine) - Psalm 139:14


"For His anger is but for a moment, and His favor is life. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning." - Psalm 30:5










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