Emotional Growing Pains

I cried Saturday in yoga. (Cue the eye rolls and chuckles from my nearest and dearest). For anyone who doesn’t know, crying is sort of my thing. My body expresses a full range of emotions through my tear ducts on a very regular basis. Yesterday’s cry was different because I cried to grieve a loss. Those tears bore the weight of my deepest fear, disappointment, and confusion at a situation that was entirely out of my hands and gone before it had even begun.

I returned to practicing yoga because there is a peace in the pain and the development that I haven’t really found anywhere else. There is a beautiful few minutes at the beginning of each class; in the calm before the work I can be in His presence with my whole being: mind, body, and spirit. I get to center my thoughts and offer praise for how He walks with me through the big and small moments of the day. As I laid on the mat Saturday and began speaking to the Father, the tears came. Deep wells of emotion poured from my eyes faster than I was able to register. All of the pain from the week was suddenly escaping from the compartments where they’d been placed days before. Understanding that fighting the tears was a losing battle, I gave myself over and prayed for no one to ask me why I was weeping before the “hot” part of the class actually got underway.

  • I’ve had a lifelong struggle with how to process disappointment. I’ve never been one to walk through a situation that didn’t have my ideal ending in a gracious or constructive way. My process generally has been to internalize, lament or lash out and remove it from my life. With spiritual maturity and counseling I’ve become aware that it’s ok when things don’t turn out as expected or turn out at all. Historically, I’ve tended to retreat from painful instances because disappointment never equated to growth for me; only pain. Sharing disappointment was not an option. Why expose failure in its most raw and unfiltered glory? Pass. Since Saturday morning, I’ve recounted instances where I’ve encouraged family and friends to lean into the lessons from the pain. When you’re not in a place of pain, that advice is a no-brainer. But, when you’re in the trenches, you want to run to anything that isn’t painful or making you sad.  The ultimate goal of leaning in brings light to dark places and brings stability to emotional weak places. Ugh… so here goes.

Friday afternoon, I received an update on my application with IJM.  Long email put short, I didn’t get the fellowship for which I’d applied. Fortunately, I was walking into a meeting so I could compartmentalize my feelings about it for another time. Unfortunately, it was the cloud through which I interacted for the rest of the day. In the solitude of my apartment I was able to avoid speaking about it, knowing full well that the disappointment was steadily building toward the surface. Then, Saturday morning came. Maybe it was the 95 degree room, or the instruction to listen to my body when it speaks to me through pain, or being reminded that falling is a part of the journey, (Yoga is RIFE w/ Gospel metaphors, y’all ) but I was instantly ready to lean into the disappointment of not being a part of IJM. I cried pretty steadily for about 15 minutes and then I committed the rest of my time to the class.

During my drive home, one of my regular Podcasts mentioned a verse in Matthew that says: “Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me” and I had to stop and thank Him for faithfully reminding to lean in. Even when He seems to have missed me— I will praise Him. Even when He seems to shut doors and take the things I ask of Him, I will praise Him. When His voice is far away and my heart is heavy— I will praise Him.  I have a sweet friend who encouraged me to pray that God would shut doors on things that are not His will for my life.  In retrospect, I probably should have put a condition for understanding and freedom from the disappointment that closed doors would bring. But, I know that a day spent wading through the pain of life with Him is better than any day I can imagine without Him.

Ultimately, learning to grieve a loss and come to the Lord with my hurts and disappointments is part of my journey; it’s not the fun part. Today, the lesson doesn’t feel beautiful or encouraging, but He feels present.  My journey to the mission field has been difficult and I have shed THOUSANDS (I almost wish that was an exaggeration) of tears so far. I know these growing pains are all preparation for how he’ll use me in His Kingdom. The beauty of this season is that I’ve become more aware of how He loves me, how to serve His people, and how unbelievably faithful He continues to be. On Tuesday morning, I’ll drag my tired tail back into the studio and spend my calm praising Him and asking Him to continue to strip away all the walls that prevent me from being fully used in His plan. Hopefully, this time I’ll do it without the tears.

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