Yesterday at 5:15 p.m. I put on my pajamas and called it a day.
The day before was the day I was supposed to post my weekly podcast. I’ve been posting on Wednesdays since October of 2020. But I didn’t. I missed my deadline on Tuesday night and didn’t think twice about it. By the way, for those of you who've reached out to me to see if somehow you've just missed getting your podcast download, thank you.
Because Tuesday I drove my son, daughter in love, and new grandbaby to drop them off to be picked up by their other family. I cried all the way there, and all the way back home.
That evening, I packed up and put away all the precious baby things I had bought to make them comfortable while they were here. And I cried some more.
I complained and grumbled to whoever was listening in my house. And that would be my two dachshunds and the spider I found in the corner. And probably God.
My heart is heavy and I gave myself permission to do it all. I gave myself permission to be sad, and mad, and fearful, tearful, and even cranky.
Fortunately, I have some amazing people around me that even like me when I’m cranky. Do you know that the essence of love is being fully known for exactly who you are and still being wholeheartedly accepted? Accepted by others and by yourself. That’s the essence of love.
So, these amazing people who I turn to when I need prayer or an encouraging word or just a listening ear remind me to give myself grace for being human and having human responses to the hard things in life. I love that because that’s exactly what I tell the women that I coach. We need to extend grace to ourselves when we don’t act or respond or do something that we want to. But there’s something greater, in my opinion, than giving myself grace. Giving myself grace is needed when I can look back at an action, something in the past I’ve already done, with understanding and patience for myself and my growth; I can give myself grace. But many times, what I need to do is more proactive than grace. And that’s giving myself permission.
I briefly touched on this in Episode 122 – Grief Is Not A Gremlin. When experiencing grief, we need to give ourselves permission to be up or down, to be cranky or to cry, to be okay or not, whichever it is today. We don’t need to give ourselves grace for responding to the hard things in life; we need to give ourselves permission to respond authentically. It’s part of the whole human experience. It’s something we shouldn’t deny ourselves of. It’s raw and it’s real. It’s human and the way God created us.
So, giving ourselves permission to feel and to respond is okay. And let me be bold enough to say that it’s not a reflection of your level of faith. Whoever told you or suggested that living a stoic life - one void of emotions, especially negative ones – is the stamp of a mature Christian has told you a lie. I am sad when I hear someone say they feel guilty for emotions such as doubt, or fear, or sadness. Their argument is that having these emotions prove they have little faith in God. "Plus, don’t you remember all the verses in the Bible that say, “fear not”, they say". "Jesus plainly told his disciples that if they didn’t doubt but had faith they could do the things He did in Matthew 21, verses 18 through 22". And they use these scriptures against themselves.
First, let’s recognize why these words “fear not” or encouragements to have faith and believe are even in the Bible in the first place. Because God knew we were going to have times in our lives where we doubted and were afraid. These are normal human emotions…that He gave us. So having or experiencing the emotion themselves is not the problem or what we should be focusing on. It’s what you’re going to do about it when they come. And for the most part, we need to let them come. Not resist or ignore or deny that we’re actually feeling these emotions. But give ourselves permission to feel and respond authentically. And not make that mean anything at all about ourselves or our faith in God.
And then, focus on what you’re going to do next: Heed the words of the Lord. Remember that He loves you intensely and He is with you; He is for you; He’s working things out; that He’s answering before you even cry out to Him; that He’s your Battle Warrior taking up your fight; that He is as near as your breath and His arm is not too short to save. He then brings His comfort by saying now, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1, verse 9.
Friend, if I could I would reach right over to you and hand you this small pad of paper that’s in front of me and say, “Here is your permission slip.” This is your pad of permission slips, and notice that all the pieces of paper are blank. You get to fill it out for yourself. You get to decide how you want to allow yourself to respond to the hard things in life. And I hope that you choose to do that authentically, embracing all the human emotions that God gave you when He created you. Let yourself live authentically. Give yourself permission.
Hey, I know that this one can either break you free from bad, legalistic theology or leave you with even more questions about Christianity, and faith, and God. And I’m here to help. If you’re struggling with something hard in your life and you’re trying to reconcile or even integrate your faith into what you’re experiencing, I’d love to be your Life Coach and Mentor. Let’s have a chat and see if we’re a good fit to work together.
I’ve put a link in the show notes for a free 30-minute call that you can book at your convenience.
Also, don’t forget to get the free, downloadable guide that complements this episode. There are a few prompt questions that will help you explore this topic personally. The link is in the show notes, also.
Okay, have a wonderful week, friends. See you next Wednesday – God willing - for the next episode of Another Beautiful Life.