What Do You # ?

We cannot selectively numb emotions, when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions. ~ Brené Brown

I grew up in a climate that was greatly shaped by clichés. Two had a particular impact on me: Think before you speak and If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything. As I got older, I added the principle of taking every thought captive (2 Cor 5:5).

Times have changed. We’re socially evolved. Every thought/action/reaction is # without a ponderous thought.

But I put those original principles together and charted a life course. I tried to mitigate all of what I perceived as potentially negative by not talking and by taking my thoughts captive and burying them alive. I grew up with no template for working through ‘negative’  emotions/reactions –  mine or others’.

I didn’t confront, argue, defend or even engage. I just kept digging more holes and waited for time to suffocate the feelings.

Prisoners, by definition, are subjugated to some kind of authority. Clearly taking every thought captive doesn’t mean to bury, it means to subjugate to God. I didn’t subjugate, I annihilated.

I thought this was holy and right but I was wrong. I not only buried feelings, I buried relationships and I buried bits of myself. I buried those bits that may or may not have been acceptable to others, I’ll never know. They weren’t acceptable to me.

When we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.

I don’t hash-tag my feelings. I’m a selective sharer but I’m learning to value offering something to others that carries emotional risk.

I want to be the real deal. Wholly engaged people share real thoughts and real feelings that span the spectrum: love, fear, hurt, joy, disappointment, anger, hope, pain….

God, who is very into real, leaves His mark everywhere: # Grace.

Author: Debbie

A former counselor and public speaker, I'm grateful for many, many things - God's grace most of all!

20 thoughts on “What Do You # ?”

  1. Hi Debbie,

    I, too, used to withdraw and bury all the emotions that were piling up inside, both painful and positive. I never found a way to be pleasant or to use humor as a shield. I just curled into myself and let everything fester deep down. I finally learned to share with others closest to me as a way of working through stuff. That and putting everything down in my writing helped a lot. But now I wonder if I share too much in the hope of helping others that are going through the same things. It takes a lot of praying to come close to the right balance.

    1. Hello dear Dru!
      Good point – sometimes in our rush to assure another that we “understand” because we’ve gone through something similar, we forget that similar is a different word from same.
      Real, intent listening is a gift rarely given but one that is almost always cherished.

    1. Dear wounded-hearted one –
      Thank you so much for the re-post and I particularly appreciate hearing that this resonated with you. As you may know, I have a self-imposed 300 word limit here at TMG (trying to keep my commitment to writing posts that can be read in 2 minutes).
      It’s good for me because I surely can go on and on, but I’m never certainly if I’ve managed to convey the heart of my thoughts in those few words. Thank you once again!

  2. Thank you once again for speaking truth- truth that I have learned through life experiences, but that I couldn’t hope to communicate so well. My particular way of dealing with negatives was more splitting them off into various parts. I am learning to accept them all and live a more integrated life. Thanks once again for another great post!!! I always feel joy when I get an email that you have posted, because your posts are so real! thanks!

    1. Carol – I’ve done some splintering in my day, too. Sometimes the re-assimilation has been pretty challenging!
      Thank you so much for your encouragement and your very kind words!
      D

  3. Hi Debbie, Thank you for being so very real! It is an encouragement to know there ARE people out there who have had enough of the masks we wear. You wrote “I didn’t confront, argue, defend or even engage. I just kept digging more holes and waited for time to suffocate the feelings.” Uhm … precious sister, you nailed me…….. specifically with the words confront and defend.

    A huge part of me just wants to live my happy little life inside my cozy little “Christian” bubble. I like nestling in close to our Lord in prayer and study. It’s safe there. But lately he says, “Go” and frankly, I don’t want to. Man. I hate confrontation, and defending “Christian” actions in a world that tells me I am wasting my time comes with a hefty price tag but it is becoming more and unavoidable in my little world to not take a stand for what I believe.

    Real feelings do span the spectrum. And right now, loving those who irrationally hate is a whole new lesson in mercy, grace, and forgiveness.

    Thank you for your honesty.

    1. Leslie –
      Yes, yes, yes – loving those who are hateful (for me whether it’s seemingly rational or irrational) is certainly an opportunity to learn much more about mercy and grace and forgiveness.
      Thank you so much for your kind words and your thoughtful reply!

  4. Preach it, Sister! I’d love to be sweet and saintly 24/7, truly I would–but I don’t think it’s gonna happen here on earth, so I’m hourly grateful for God’s love and grace. He loves us so generously–not so that we can measure ourselves and fall short–but because love and grace is the only fertilizer that will grow more love and grace in the human heart. (My 2 cents.) God bless you BIG–hope you’re feeling some knee relief–love, sis Caddo

    1. Hey there, my PNW Sis!
      So well said!
      He lavishes us with love and grace to grow us, not guilt us!
      The knee keeps me mindful of my ‘need’. 😀
      You are a dear-heart!

  5. I loved that ending line, gracious one! You have me thinking that being very real, which God loves us to be, requires His very real grace. Thank you for blessing my day! love and prayers!
    p.s. Aub buried a dead bumble bee she found awhile back, and today, straightened up the grave site, as something had scattered the sticks that she had used. She knows what to bury. I’m learning from her and you! 🙂

    1. Dearest Deb –
      Aub is one sharp cookie!
      It’s taken me all these years to learn what she naturally knows!
      Love and prayers and grace on the wings of the next Aub’d next rescue.

  6. I know what you’re talking about. I used to do exactly the same thing, to my peril and my self-imposed lonliness and alienation. Now that I know my true identity in Christ, my whole life has changed. Thank you for this post.

  7. I did the same thing in a different way. I #humor, #class clown. If I made people laugh, even my family, I didn’t have to face my own feelings and emotions. I got real good at #class clown, but I didn’t help myself with the feelings and emotions I stuffed under all the jokes and laughter. I learned my true identity in Christ in August, 2000 and things have been a lot different yet. God is now in charge of my life and possesses my heart. I can still get in trouble, and I can still tell a good #joke. But I know Jesus and He is living in me now. Thank you for this insightful post and reminder of who I need to # every day. God bless.

    1. Hello Steven!
      Humor is a great way of deflecting pain, isn’t it (great as is effective, not so great when it comes to transparency)?
      When I’m in emotional pain, my tendency is to withdraw (and remain pleasant).
      When I’m in physical pain, I turn to humor to shift the focus.
      Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments!

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