I've been thinking a lot lately about different emotional issues in my life. About my heritage and how that affects me. And praying through things. I love how God has been bringing things up and revealing truth to me about them.
One thing that has come up is my tendency to withdraw when I'm feeling hurt or disappointed or angry...mostly when my needs or expectations aren't being met and I feel someone's not understanding me or meeting my needs when I expect them to. My next reaction is often to keep dwelling on the unfairness which leads to trying to control the other person and the outcome or becoming really discontent in my spirit or resentful or self-pitying or self-loathing because of all these negative thoughts and feelings or when I'm really at the end of my rope, just crying. (Now keep in mind as I'm writing this, that this is very uncomfortable for me to share because I don't like to let people into these weaker parts). And the more worked up I get inside, the uglier I become on the outside--not in words, because I usually can't form any, but in my eyes and my actions. Sometimes I imagine what kinds of martyr-like things I'll need to do in order to get the person to do what I want...because somehow I must win them to my side...be deserving enough of their love and attention. And I go over and over in my head what I must say in order to express what I'm feeling just right...so that there's no holes in my case where they can find fault. And if I think I can't get it right, I never do express it and the other person (usually Rod) feels cut off from me and doesn't know why.
Sometimes lately, I've been able to more quickly say what I need or feel before blowing it out of proportion. Sometimes I discover I didn't really need someone to rescue me--the problem was my own to work out. Sometimes I discover that Rod or whoever is more than happy to help me if I just ask. But the asking needs to be simple and without a lot of extra reasoning or pushing or conditions or excuses. Otherwise, it too becomes manipulative. And I wondered why I often feel I need to back up my requests with so many reasons. And I realized I don't trust that the people who love me most to delight in giving to me. That somehow I must always prove my worth and be deserving enough to receive what I need.
Even as I write that, I'm thinking "Whoa, is that how I view God, too?!" What a lie! God does delight in me and he wants to give me what I need way more than I want to give my kids what they need. And my husband delights in me, too. He wants to help me and know what I need, too. But I need to ask--with confidence. Yes, I need to also ask myself, "Is this something that is my own responsibility or is it a load that I need help carrying?" But I do not need to shrink back from asking because I don't think I deserve it.
Another issue that's related is learning to express myself in the whole spectrum of emotions. I've always found it difficult to put into words the feelings of anger and disappointment--basically where other people are involved and there's the risk of rejection from sharing my feelings. Where what I say could "make" someone feel bad (there's a lie right there) and possibly break relationship or at least cause some discomfort momentarily. Part of the problem is right there in that last sentence. My perception is usually that being true to what I'm feeling will cause a break in relationship, rather than simply causing discomfort for a while. It's true, what we do with our anger can be harmful and how the blame we place on a person for our disappointments can be damaging. But what we're angry about or disappointed over are probably some of the most key areas to share in order to ever be intimate with someone. (Okay, there's an insight that just kind of popped out!) But I'm always just so afraid of doing it wrong and causing pain and fearing the worst outcome that I just freeze up. So afraid that the relationship can't handle it. So afraid of losing the love of the ones I love most. (Now I'm getting teary...this must really be the core of it).
So, God, I just pray that you would come in your love and heal these broken places in me. Let me know first of all, that you will never leave or forsake me and you always delight in giving me all that I need. I can come to you in my immaturity and weakness and you don't find fault in me. You delight in my coming. You can handle my honesty. You can handle my anger and disappointment. You welcome my questions. And then, help me learn to trust those I want to be most intimate with enough to share all of what I feel. Guide me as I try this that I may do it with the motivation of love and the confidence of being loved. I trust you to bless me and my relationships as I seek to be real with my needs and emotions.