Sitting in church not too long ago, we were talking about how we could be more like Jesus. One of the ladies put her hand up and stated, “I just think we need to get over ourselves and love people. I tell my daughter that she just needs to buck up and stop taking things so personally. Cheer up and Move on! That’s what Jesus did.” This last week, I heard something similar from a gentleman, “Grow a thicker skin and a thinner heart.” I would like to address the lies and harm done in these statements.
- Jesus was a man of many sorrows. (Isaiah 53) He felt pain and loved deeply at the same time. He didn’t have a “thicker skin” as to assume that pain bounced off of him or didn’t affect him. He bore his sorrow. We are also called to carry our own cross. (Matthew 16:24) Carrying our own cross is a tough thing. It’s not something we shrug off. To those of us that you might say, “Cheer up and Move On,” I might ask you to provide a little more understanding and compassion. Jesus understood our sorrows because he experienced them. We can provide empathy for those who are having a hard time and be there for them. In doing so, we give them hope, a smile, and a reason to move on: we show them Jesus.
2. For some reason, we have it stuck in our heads that we have GOOD and BAD emotions. Anger, Frustration, Sorrow VS. Joy, Happiness, Excitement. God made ALL of our emotions. Understand what our emotions are for and allow them to be expressed.
Anger, Frustration, and Being Upset are all red flags to our system that something is wrong. Just like Pain in our body, we need to stop and address that pain. When we ignore it and push through it, we can cause major damage. Anyone who has had a knee or back injury understands the danger in that statement. Take a time-out, Rest, or Get away from the person who stirs up these feelings inside you. In a healthy way, express your anger or pain where you will not hurt anyone. Don’t go out and yell at the world hurting everyone in the process. Write your anger in a journal, Shout into a pillow. Talk to a friend that you trust not to gossip, but to encourage you. Think it through and realize what you’re really angry or upset about. Process the best way to confront the issue in a kind, loving way. If you cannot do that at that moment remember to come back to the issue soon or it will grow. And ALWAYS pray through it. It is through these issues in our lives that we can grow OR create more problems.
I remember grieving over my first daughter who I miscarried at 16wks. So many people wanted me to hurry to get through the grief. “You’ll have another one.” “You’re still young.” After a few months, even my own grandmother told me to “Get over it, already.” I was still grieving long after my son was born. Comments like those did not help me in my grieving process, in fact, it made me feel more alone than ever.
We NEED to express our emotion. We need to go THROUGH the emotions similar to a grieving process if we are ever to heal. By stuffing them inside or claiming that they do not exist, we are making the emotion a bigger problem. It will be expressed one way or another. Sometimes, it comes out internally as mine did in Fybromyalgia or suicidal thoughts. Sometimes it comes out as explosions, sarcasm, or even apathy. Some revert to addictions. Not expressing these emotions that are tough to understand, causes us not to want to feel anything. How can you feel love if you do not feel sorrow? I know, for me, I can cry and laugh at the same time sometimes for the same reason. “My baby is growing up.”
If we cannot feel, we cannot “mourn with those that mourn.” (Romans 12:15) We cannot have compassion on ANYONE. So, what’s the point of being together on this earth, if we do not care about each other? (1 John 4:7) By NOT feeling our emotions, we cause Bitterness, Resentment, and Hatred towards others. This is not what God wants for us.
3. We are all different personalities. Some of us can work through our emotions super fast, while others of us need to take our time and work through things a little longer. I know from experience that if someone pushes me to get through something faster, I will dig my heels in because I literally cannot process things when I am pushed. With these different ways of dealing with things also comes different amazing talents and gifts. We do not need to be like each other. We need to become the gifts that God created us to be and stop judging others for not being like US. Learn about different kinds of people and have understanding and appreciation for the different types. God made all of us to be different and to help each other. (1 Corinthians 12)
Instead of saying, “Get Over It” Let’s understand that we all have pain, have compassion for those that are currently experiencing it, allow ourselves and others to feel, express, and go through pain, be there for them who are going through it, and understand that there is no time limit on going through pain. We can be gifts to each other instead of robots. (expressionless mechanical actors) You cannot be both.
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