24 March 2011

Giving in

This week Bonnie asks us how we experience emotional rest.

I grew up knowing I was loved by my parents, two older brothers, and extended family members.  Our family was about as normal as anyone could ask for, no divorce, alcohol/drug abuse or domestic violence. Ours was a "happy home".  The ultimate goal my parents had for each of us is that we would be "happy". 

Therein began my dilemma.

If happiness was the target, then anything that fell short of that mark was wrong, somehow unacceptable. Expression of emotions outside of the “happy realm” seemed to cause distress to my parents.

“What exactly is happy and how do I get there and stay there” I’d wonder and condemn myself for feelings of fear, hurt, loneliness, pain or any other less than “happy” emotion. Not only did I learn to keep these black sheep emotions in the closet, I also concluded that there was something defective about me for experiencing them at all.

“What’s wrong with you? Why can’t you just be happy?” I was asked whenever a stray emotion wandered out into the light.

“Why can’t you just be happy” echoed the voice of mother for years, and years, and years.

During times of emotional overload the voice grew louder.

One day the Lord revealed what had been hidden to me.  He had emotions.  All different kinds of emotions.  As well as feeling great joy, He felt pain.  He felt anger.  He trembled with compassion. And... He created me in His image.  All at once I was validated as an emotional being, and by His design.

For me, the best way to experience emotional rest is to find a quiet place to be alone with God to express and release all that I've been feeling.  In His presence and His unconditional love, I am accepted, with each and every flaw. 

In that, there is rest and peace beyond measure.

Come on over to the Faith Barista and jam with us as we continue sharing on rest.


Lisa notes... said...

Happiness is just one of many emotions. This is a great reminder that I need to hear... Emotional rest isn't contingent just on happiness.

Glynn said...

I think we've all been sold a bill of goods about happiness. Life isn't about happiness, and it never was. Somehow we got it into our heads that happiness was the whole point -- and we exhaust ourselves phyically, emotionally and spiritually trying to achieve it. Good post, Karin.

Billy Coffey said...

I've decided that at best, happiness is a fleeting emotion. I suppose, then, that it's best to concentrate on those things that aren't fleeting, that stick around no matter what.

Great, great post, Karin.

Sarah Salter said...

I LOVE it, Karin! Thanks for the reminder that we are created in His image and that our emotions reflect His and that we're okay when we feel.

Courtney said...

Great reminder - there can be so much pressure to find "happiness." But you are right, God has many emotions and it is okay for us to have them too. Thank you!

Sheryl said...

The elusive happiness---I'm thankful I learned early that it's one of many emotions. I'm glad God showed you that, too. I'm with you as far as getting time alone with God. He is such a restorer of emotional rest!