I was sitting across from a friend, interviewing him for a little video resource when he said something that caught me off-guard and immediately brought tears of hurt and shame to my eyes.
It was like being stung by a bee when you’re cutting flowers.
I was upset, but more than that, I was upset with myself for being upset. I finished the interview and got in my car with John, silently reflecting on why and where the emotion had come from.
The answer was embarrassing. It was pride, pure and simple.
As I asked my friend a question on camera, he excitedly shared something he learned recently from a cool hipster pastor in our area. It is a spiritual practice I have written about a lot, and church leaders have found helpful since the 1500’s. But here, publicly, it was being attributed to the stupid hipster pastor.
I thought, “What about ME??? What about MY words, MY influence?”
And I felt small and overlooked and inconsequential. And so dang angry that I felt that way!
Have you ever felt dinged for not being acknowledged or overlooked for credit or affirmation you’d like to receive (in your secret heart of hearts)?
What do we do with All Of The Feelings?
What do we do with the ugly?
There is a verse that I think we often whoosh by, that came to mind as I drove away with John.
James 5:16 Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. MSG
So I screwed up my courage (because truly I was so embarrassed that this mattered to me) and confessed to John what I was feeling.
It was so dang hard to be honest about this because I want to appear secure and confident and never petty. But there was this ugliness and when I confessed it, you know what? John wasn’t shocked, and he still loves me, and the power of the ding, like infection, seemed to drain out of me.
I am in the spiritually challenged slow group when it comes to learning this stuff, but there are three practices I keep coming back to when ugly emotions threaten to derail me:
1. Ask “Where is this emotion coming from?”
- Is there an unmet need I’m looking to have filled in all the wrong places?
- Is there an unnamed wound that needs to be addressed?
Usually, what I discover is that I’m living out of my “false self” – the part of us that is dependent on the world for validation instead of resting in our identity as a beloved, gifted child of God. Our “false self” can be knocked about by circumstances, but our “true self” is always secure.
2. Confess it all to God.
Psalm 62:8 Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.
1 John 1:8,9 If we claim that we’re free of sin, we’re only fooling ourselves. A claim like that is errant nonsense. On the other hand, if we admit our sins—make a clean breast of them—he won’t let us down; He’ll be true to himself. He’ll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing.MSG
3. Confess it to a trusted friend who loves you, is for you and for your growth as a Jesus-follower.
Ecclesiastes 4:12 By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst.
What about you? What have you learned in situations where emotion threatens to derail you?