The Unpacking of My Heart Continues Volume 4: Abandonment and Emotional Baggage
I’ve had an interesting few days to say the least. I can say up until this past Sunday I’d felt incredibly off for two or more days. I’d also had an incidence of “writing while angry” last week. I’ll write more about that later this week. I believe that as well as the events this weekend are tied together. On Sunday, I knew I needed to be by myself, yet I didn’t really know why until about 8 pm that night. I was typing a reply to a friend’s text and memories of my late husband in his better days came flooding back to me. I threw the phone on the bed, burst into tears, and flopped onto the floor sobbing. My friend did not upset me nor did the conversation. The memories brought thoughts and emotions to me that were familiar, but I had simply turned away before – not wanting to say them, not wanting to feel them. I had been hiding, if you will, from these emotions and thoughts for a long time. The Lord has shown me that hiding from things (or people) that hurt me, so to speak, is my negative default. It’s self-protective and makes me “feel better” but it lies to me even in that. Hiding solved nothing and it protected me from nothing. Those emotions never left. They sat in the living room of my heart hurting me – like unwelcome, shrouded guests you face in a nightmare. They stare at you, waiting for you to acknowledge them. Meanwhile, their presence slowly steals your joy and darkens your heart.
Sunday night I acknowledged these emotions for the first time out loud as well as to God. I acknowledged that I wished my late husband, Jeff, had stuck around and worked things out with me. In fact, I lamented that he did not to Jesus. I was also surprisingly angry, not at God, but at my late husband. Again, I had turned away from that emotion, choosing not to feel it, choosing to hide. I acknowledged a negative, angry, thought that had been ignored for quite some time - that my late husband was a bit of a coward in my eyes. Yes, that sounds awful, but I had to get it out of my system, it had been stuck in my soul too long unsaid and unprocessed. To be honest, once I acknowledged that, I realized how incapable he was of sticking around, much less working anything out – not because he wanted it that way, but because he was just too hurt and too proud to give that hurt to Jesus. In his own mind, he felt there was no other way for anyone to have peace, let alone himself. I lamented to Jesus how I wish things were different. I cried on my bedroom floor for about 30 minutes. I believe he was there with me on His knees sharing in my pain. He understands more than we know. I cried until all the tears were gone. I had finally let go of those things and given them to Jesus. The weight and the feeling of being “off” was gone. I was no longer angry anymore. All the heart work Jesus had been doing had allowed those hurts and wounds to finally be released and cleaned out. He ran the unwelcome heart guests out! Yet, He wasn’t done with me.
On Monday, while at work going about my day, He showed me three more unwelcome guests. I had been hiding and refusing to deal with my feelings of abandonment for five years. Abandonment does not come by itself; it has friends – fear and loneliness. Not only had I not dealt with my feelings of abandonment, I had never dealt with the fear or feelings of loneliness that came with it. Once again, I had allowed shrouded figures to sit in the living room of my heart and make my heart sick. I was hiding once again thinking myself safe from the things I did not want to feel. A light dawned that day and illuminated those dark figures just as it had the day before. Jesus found me in my hiding place once again. He wasn’t made at me. The unwelcome heart guests were not happy – I had allowed them to get too comfortable. I had to stop what I was doing and acknowledge not only the abandonment I’d felt for so long but the fear and the loneliness. I had to leave my office so I would not be sobbing uncontrollably. I went to the bathroom and cried. I had finally faced the abandonment, the fear and the loneliness. I spoke them out loud to Jesus and told Him he could have them; I did not want them nor need them anymore. When I left the bathroom, I was free! I know that sounds crazy, but I have felt so free in the last 18 hours and there is no other explanation. My unwelcome heart guests are gone, all of them!
Five years is too long to live in bondage to emotions we don’t want to face! Five years is too long to have your joy stolen! I can tell you there were many days I put on a good face and kept myself busy with other things and people to avoid these emotions and avoid acknowledging and dealing with them. No more! They will steal from me no more! They will no longer shape my world view or my view of others (yes that most likely happened as well without my awareness). Now I am fully aware and awake! For my readers, I acknowledged abandonment in my book, but I did not acknowledge what came with it, nor had I let Jesus do His complete work yet. I have now! The lightness in my step and in my heart is amazing! I will not hide anymore. My default is changed!
Stop hiding from your emotions! Stop ignoring your emotions! You don’t want unwelcome heart guests. Don’t let them steal from you! Take them all to Jesus and lay them at His feet, He can take it; you can’t! I thank Jesus for continually challenging me through friends, family, pastors and many of my readers. I can tell this; if you don't lament and release what could not be in past relationships, you won't be able to step into what can be in future relationships. You will get stuck, I got stuck. It takes time for Him to break through the darkness we have allowed to get comfortable and settle in our hearts. He won't do more than we allow or can handle at one time. Oh, but when He does get through – a Light shines that can’t be put out! A Light that dispels all darkness and despair! He is looking for you in your hiding place and He is not angry with you. He calls to you! Come out into the light and be healed!
John 1:5; The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Psalm 40:1-2; I waited patiently for the LORD to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.