Avoiding Emotions – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
Being a foster mother for several years, I’ve become an expert at avoiding my emotions. It’s easier to avoid the worry and anxiety of potentially losing kids than to deal with it. Most recently, when I had 4 kids and then 5, it was especially easy to avoid my emotions because I was simply too busy to think about them. I didn’t have time to break down and actually feel stuff.
But that’s okay, right? I mean, you don’t want to dwell on things that you can’t control anyway…right?
This is where different personalities comes in, I think. From what I understand, I wouldn’t know – I’m not this way, some people feel too much. They tend to be on the opposite side, dwelling on their negative emotions instead of avoiding them. So, for them, sometimes a little separation from those emotions, especially over situations where they have no control, might be healthy.
But for those like me, control freaks who want to be right and good and perfect all the time, we tend to avoid our negative emotions, thinking those emotions are “bad” or it’s “wrong” to feel that way.
This was me. Is me. Although I didn’t realize it at first.
Since our 3 older foster children left, I’ve started to get this creeping feeling of anxiety and fear that we’ll lose our other 2 foster daughters whom we’ve had since 3 months old and birth. There’s really no basis for this fear given the current circumstances, but it’s there nonetheless.
As a Christian, I felt the duty to pray for the desires of my heart and for the girls, but I kept finding that the more I thought and prayed about it, the more I’d start to drown in that fear and anxiety. So I’d pull away and cut it short.
I could only take so much before it got uncomfortable. Before it started to feel “wrong.”
Good Christians aren’t supposed to worry and have anxiety about things, right? We’re supposed to fully trust God for everything and give him total control. And what does that say about us if we don’t?
I’ll tell you, for those of you like me who need to hear this.
It says we’re human and completely normal.
Anxiety and worry doesn’t make you a bad Christian. God has shown me that I shouldn’t run from those emotions. Instead, He wants to use them to draw us closer to Him.
Instead of avoiding the sea of fear, jump in to the deep waters where Jesus is waiting with arms outstretched, ready to catch you and hold you close as you deal with the raging waters together.
Because those emotions will always be there, threatening to drown us if we don’t learn how to swim in them with Jesus. Then, eventually, the waters will recede and we’ll find ourselves in complete trust and faith, with our eyes solely on Him.
But until then…it’s okay to feel the pain. The worry. The fear. It’s okay to leave prayer knowing you still have some work to do at fully surrendering your illusion of control so you can fully trust Him. As long as you’re being honest with Him about how you feel, you’re on the right track and that’s all that matters. It will take time. But the good news is God has all the time in the world for you.
You are loved.
He understands your fears.
And He’s waiting for you to take the plunge and meet him where the healing begins.