Feelings are a funny thing. On the one hand, our feelings are valid and it’s okay to acknowledge them, feel them, and give them to God. 1 Peter 5:7 says “Cast all your cares on Him, because He cares for you.”
On the other hand, feelings don’t define us and shouldn’t be where we spend our time. I get stuck here. A lot. I am good at labeling my feelings and acknowledging them, I think, but I tend to hang out there and struggle to move on from them to do something productive. I’d rather find a way to “not feel them,” or I seek out justification for them rather than trying to identify the heart of the issue.
Does this ever happen to you? Can you relate?
I should’ve probably mentioned I struggle with anxiety. Anxiety is another funny thing. Except the truth is, it’s not funny, it’s a really pesky devil and downright exhausting. It’s funny to read the memes about anxiety online, but quite another to feel those very real things that often feel impossible to overcome.
Where am I going with all of this? Nowhere. Anxiety takes me in circles.
That interaction we had 5 years ago? I still lose sleep over it.
Pregnant? Don’t be anxious, I’ve got that covered for you.
Kid has a fever? They’re probably dying. No I’m not making a joke, these thoughts actually consume my time.
Laundry? Surely I’ll flood the laundry room or forget the detergent or accidentally wash a marker; it’s all happened before so why not relive every moment in fear of history repeating itself?
Another interesting facet to all of this is an uncontrollable need to please people (Monica Gellar, anyone?) Confession: I want to be liked. Badly. I know in my head my worth, value, identity come from who I am in Christ, but real talk: deep down in my heart, I want people to like me.
Do you have any idea how weighty and exhausting that is? Not to mention the toll it takes on your marriage and the burden it puts on your kids. It’s heavy.
I have a particular relative that has, for the last ten years, made it perfectly clear that she simply does not like me. IT REEKS HAVOC ON ME. I cannot fix it, but I have tried. I have a friend from church who I’m pretty sure doesn’t like me because…I dunno, but I CANNOT LET IT GO. I feel a constant need to apologize, and it’s been ALMOST A YEAR, but each time, it falls on deaf ears. Nothing. You might ask why I keep trying but sometimes you can’t escape people! These things hang over my head like a dark cloud of impending doom. Sometimes I feel like the only way to outrun it is to bulldoze these people with apologies and bombard them with “how can I fix this” efforts. Sometimes it works, other times not.
So what do I do? The first thing I’m learning is that I simply cannot, under any circumstances, despite my best efforts/words/gifts/texts/cards/pleads make someone like me. I can acknowledge when I have sinned against them or been wrong, I can ask if I’ve offended or hurt them, I can apologize and ask for forgiveness if necessary, but I cannot make them like me.
One more time for the folks in the back: I cannot make someone like me. Family, friend, acquaintance, foe, cashier, relative, I cannot make someone like me.
All together now: I. Can. Not. Make. Someone. Like. Me.
The second thing I’m learning is that from the place where I feel an uncontrollable need to please people, stems a need for God. Something in me puts my worth in what friends/family think of me. Newsflash: I’m a sinner, and one of the worst of ’em. When I defile God, I make Him angry. Because of His great love for, me, though, I have been forgiven by the blood of the Lamb.
My worth is measured by who I am in the eyes of God, not in the eyes of mankind, womankind, husbandkind, inlawkind, kidkind, neighborkind. I am a forgiven sinner, saved by grace, and my role is to glorify Him in all I do.
Not all anxiety can be cured by this spiritual reckoning, so thank God for modern medicine. But mine definitely can, right now.
When I started this blog I wanted it to be an outlet and an outreach; a way to encourage other mothers and help build a community. Because listen, ladies (and gents?), we need each other. We cannot do this life alone, and if you’re trying, I promise you will fail. Don’t be discouraged by that, be ENCOURAGED. No one, not one single person out there, has their shit together. The ones who do are lying.
What’s the point here? Not exactly sure, just needed an outlet, I guess. For all my wise friends who continue to encourage me and build me up in the midst of my mess, I am forever grateful.
Thanks for reading.