I honestly don’t know how people do it. How do they hold it together and not get all emotional and messy and angry all over the place. How do they stay in control of their feelings? Or at least what feelings come out? Mine seem to have a mind of their own. I try to manage them, process them as they come up … but they still seem to come pouring out all over the floor, usually in front of the wrong person at the wrong time. Emotional diarrhea.
I am emotional. You could blame it on the fact that I’m female. You could blame it on the fact that I’ve been really sick the past two weeks … But honestly I don’t think that’s it. I’m emotional even when I’m at the top of my game. Women who can control their feelings are like superheroes to me. Freaking WonderWoman!
Recently my tired, frustrated, put down, not-feeling-good-about-my-ministry emotions poured all over the floor. There were tears and boogers and used Kleenex. I felt depleted and uninspired. Most of all, when it was all over, I felt regret. I felt badly that I wasn’t able to put my feelings into thoughtful polite words. I felt responsible for the hurt I may have caused the other person. I was disappointed in myself for losing control of my emotional filter. I felt perplexed on how someone would have been able to tame those raw emotions I was feeling.
I started to wonder … how do people do it? Perhaps my feelings are stronger than others? Feelings on steroids. Perhaps I missed a life skill along the way. Maybe I’m just weaker than others – unable to hold it together. Whatever the reason, I knew I had done it again.
I gave a lot of prayerful thought to the “incident” over the weekend. I prayed for a way that I could take it all back. I struggled with the fact that I meant the hard truths I said, but regretted the way I said them. I was embarrassed and ashamed of the immaturity I displayed. I was embarrassed that I had come completely unraveled in front of someone else.
Monday morning came and I had to face the music. I had to sit in front of that person and talk about what had happened. I had to actually acknowledge that I had lost my “stuff” and had become unraveled. The only words that I could come up with were, “I’m sorry I hurt you. I want you to know that I love you and respect you and I am deeply sorry my actions didn’t show you that.” Because I was sorry. I couldn’t apologize for what I had said because I wouldn’t have been truthful. But I could say that I was sorry I had hurt my friend, that was truth. But sometimes that’s what the other needs to hear. Not that you take back what you said, but that you care about their hearts. Everything boils down to relationships. It’s not the work we are doing, it’s the hearts of the people we are working with and working for.
I still don’t have a clear answer why some are able to hold it together while I have emotional diarrhea. I wonder if it has more to do with not having conversations about things that bother me as they one up. They all build and fester and explode like a tea kettle. I try to hold it together by saying everything is ok, not wanting to upset the apple cart. I try to be strong enough to just take it and let it go. I need to have faith that my coworkers love me enough to want to know when I’m hurting. I have to believe that my brothers and sisters in Christ care as much about our relationship as I do.
I wish it wasn’t true, but it’ll happen again. I’ll vomit hurt, hysterical, emotional crap all over again. I’m going to work hard at processing, taking time to clear my thoughts and get “right” within myself. I care about my job, my work and the people I encounter. Sometimes I care too much that it becomes a pride thing.
The work we do in the Lord’s name means nothing if we are hurting His people along the way. Love each other. Ask for forgiveness when you need it. Be willing to forgive someone who doesn’t deserve it. Grace. Love one another. That it is the real job God gave us … to love one another.