When we are faced with those fill in the blank moments or more than we can handle situations, many of us have the tendency to want to numb the unpleasant emotions. We find ways to avoid the feelings. Or push down the emotions and convince ourselves we are ignoring them or they aren’t bothering us. But then I read this:
“We cannot selectively numb emotion. If we numb the dark, we numb the light. If we take the edge off of pain and discomfort, we are – by default – taking the edge off joy, love, belonging and the other emotions that give meaning to our lives.” ~Brene Brown
Said in an inverse way: If we embrace the dark, we embrace the light. If we lean into the pain and discomfort, we lean into joy, love and belonging. It sounds ominous to embrace the dark, doesn’t it? Let me explain. I am not suggesting we sit there and wallow in the dark and pain and discomfort. I am suggesting we acknowledge it, how it makes us feel and learn from it as we move forward. I can testify to this. I made an intentional choice to live IN my story. So while allowing myself to feel the deepest pain and discomfort, I have also felt the deepest joy, love and belonging. (I will share more on this in the future.) Leaning in is hard. It is not always comfortable. But always worth it.
When I looked for an example of this, I turned to the Bible. And I find none other than Jesus. He demonstrates the full range of human emotions. He expresses them in perfect love unlike we can do but even Christ did not try to numb his feelings and emotions.
Jesus was acquainted with:
Sorrow – “Jesus wept.” John 11: 35
Exhaustion – “Then because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’ Mark 6:31
Joy (at honoring the Father) – “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” John 15:11
Anger – “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? Matthew 23:33
Compassion – “Jesus turned and saw her. ‘Take heart, daughter,’ and he said, ‘your faith has healed you.’ And the woman was healed at that moment.” Matthew 9:20
The list goes on. Jesus wasn’t exempt from emotions and feelings. And as equally deep His sorrow and anger are ~ just as deep His joy and compassion are. So I am encouraging you, friend, to follow His lead. Lean into your story. Lean into the emotions and feelings. All of them. We are going to have to get close with the often uncomfortable sorrow, anger and rejection if we want to deeply feel and experience joy, love and belonging.