The other day I was out with my kids, and while we were driving to our destination, a scream came out of one of them like something painful had happened. Like usual, my response to the outburst was "what's wrong?" My child explained what had happened, and not even really thinking about it I replied, "you're fine." I actually use this phrase a lot more than I realize. Sympathy is not one of my strongest qualities, and I have definitely had to work at it. With those words coming out of my mouth, it's typically to reassure my kids that they are okay. After I had dealt with the situation, a thought came into my mind that maybe those words weren't the best to use all the time. They really did seem harmless, but what if by using those words, I was doing more damage than good? When you hear something enough times, you can start to believe it eventually. I can't tell you how many times I have said those exact same words to myself while in a painful situation. With this all of a sudden being brought to my attention, it is something I have had to process before Jesus. I don't want to say "I'm fine" when I actually am not.
There is nothing wrong with not being okay. Things won't always be perfect, and life will get hard. This isn’t easy for me to admit. Usually when things go wrong, my feelings get shoved down inside, and I don't deal with them at all. All of these feelings don't just stay inside, eventually they do come out. Not in a way that I am proud of, but when things get to be too much, the feelings all come out at once like I am an erupting volcano. Someone tends to get hurt with my outburst, leaving both of us in a bad spot. I have had to learn the hard way that I need to deal with my feelings when it happens, not ignore them.
Jesus has begun to show me that he can handle my feelings, and it is okay, not to be okay. I can tell him first how I am feeling, so I can get it out. This is when I can process it before him, and start to heal. Doing this has begun to help me deal with my pain in a healthier way. It is definitely a work in progress. I have told myself "I am fine" for so long, that things I have not dealt with from my past tend to bubble up to the surface. But instead of pushing it back down again, I am learning to take it before Jesus, ask him what I can learn from this, and be healed.
For my kids, I want them to know that it is okay to process hurts, and it is not a bad thing. I have been telling them "you're fine" for awhile now, that I have had to become aware of when I say it, and correct it. They can be hurt, and it is not a bad thing. I just want them to know how to deal with it when they are.
Jesus can handle all of my feelings and emotions. He can take what I bring to him, and use it for good. Processing our hurts before him can also point out areas that we can grow in. And we can rest in his unchanging love, knowing that he can take our hurts, heal us, and use them for something good.
I'm not sure if anyone else is dealing with this, but I just want to encourage you not to hide when you aren't doing okay. It does not help. Not admitting it only hurts us in the long run. We don't have to go and share our feelings with everyone. Sharing recklessly or with bad motives only causes more pain to others and yourself. But it is okay to tell a close friend you might not be alright. Especially admitting it to Jesus. There is power when we tell him how we are doing. It gives him the opportunity to intervene. Don't fall for the lie that you are somehow stronger if you don't admit how you are actually doing.
Share how you are REALLY doing with Jesus.
Lord, teach us how to process things before you, and help us trust our hurts in your loving hands. Amen.