“It seems like you’re running away from something.” That statement irritated me, and I couldn’t connect it in any way to me. I liked doing things. So what was wrong with being busy? Thankfully, I’ve learned over time to listen for the truth inside of comments that come from people who know me well.
Being busy isn’t always bad, but the truth is, I was running away.
My life was like so many other women’s lives. I had a lot of responsibilities. I loved my family and my church I was working part-time to help make ends meet. Whatever I was doing, I threw myself into it. I brought work home, and I took on extracurricular activities. When the kids came along I kept that being busy, on-the-go, always “on” lifestyle. They were the love of my life and I poured myself into them without letting go of the busy life I had before they were born.
I had added without subtracting.
It worked for a while – a long time actually, at least on a surface level. But eventually, I ran out of steam. I was frustrated and exhausted. If I had been more aware, I would have recognized my exhaustion was a signal - the red flag so to speak. It would have waved this warning in bold letters.
You are running away from your emotions.
I had two lists. The Show-It-to-the-World List and the Run-Away-and-Hide-It List.
My Show-It-to-the-World List
My Run-Away-and-Hide-It List
Both lists show real feelings I had, but my Run-Away-and-Hide-It List was taking up a lot of my mental energy. Those feelings were all bottled up. They grew bigger inside and it was messy and overpowering and led to a lot of negative thinking.
You see, I believed that because I was a Christian and knew Jesus that I should not be feeling certain things. (Read more about that in last week’s post, 4 Lies that Keep You Stuck and Exhausted.) I told myself those emotions were “bad” and I stuffed them away. I spent a lot of energy trying not to feel them. And being busy was my method of doing that.
I was good at this, and eventually I was out of touch with my feelings. Somewhere along the way, my life lost the vibrancy that it had once had.
Years later, I was listening in a class and our teacher read us a quote.
It proved to be a defining moment.
I thought to myself, “Why do I feel bad about the emotions I have if Jesus had them, too?”
And then it came to me, something so simple and true and obvious, but something I had completely ignored. God created us with emotions for a reason. God expressed emotions, too. I could see it that day in the person of Jesus, who is also God. The beauty of that colorful kaleidoscope of emotions emerged in front of my eyes as I read along while my teacher spoke the words out loud.God created us with emotions for a reason. #feelings #emotions #beingbusy Click To Tweet
That day I began to change the way I thought about my emotions. I began to see my feelings as assets. I learned to pay attention. They could give me valuable information that I could use to make better decisions, sort out my life, and get back to a pace that didn’t exhaust me.
Often, emotions get a bad wrap. We feel like our feelings should not factor into any decision making. We think we should check our emotions at the door and only use the facts. How many times have we been told that to think critically, we have to leave our feelings out of it?
This puts us in a mental energy drain of ignoring our feelings and dismissing them as if they are weak. Essentially, we are squelching one of the most vibrant gifts we’ve been given by our Creator - our emotions.Essentially, we are squelching one of the most vibrant gifts we’ve been given by our Creator - our emotions. #feelings #emotions #beingbusy Click To Tweet
What is the answer? Can our emotions help us or do they cause more harm than good?
The answer lies in how we handle them.
Some of us have handled our emotions by being busy. It’s our coping mechanism to protect ourselves from feeling difficult things. When we stay in a rush from one thing to the next, we don’t have to face our feelings. There isn’t time for it.
The irony is that the more we work to diminish and ignore our feelings, the more magnified they can become. They grow bigger and more intense inside of us with no way out. This causes that I-look-good-from-the-outside, but I-feel-all-messy-inside feeling.
Here are some tips that may help if you struggle in this area.
We All Have Emotions
We all have emotions. It’s part of the way God made us. Emotions are chemicals within our brains and bodies. All people have these neurological structures. These chemicals are called “neuropeptides” and they are a type of neurotransmitter that carries emotional signals through our bodies. Scientists can even show our emotions at work on the brain in real-time by using PET and fMRI scanning. So don’t feel bad about having emotions! It’s natural!
Emotions Give Information
Your emotions can give you important information. You can use that information for making good decisions or gaining insight and understanding. For example, anger can mean, “There is something I don’t like about this situation,” or “I’m not able to go where I want to go because something is blocking the way.”
Instead of immediately reacting back in anger, take a few moments to evaluate it. “What is that something?” Can my anger point me to that obstacle so I can identify it and figure out how to get around it?” The responses to these questions can give you insight.
Emotions Are a Gift from God
Emotions were given to us by God. They are part of our natural make up and can be a knowledge base if we pay attention to them. That knowledge can help us learn to deal with situations God’s way if our focus is in the right place. We can keep His commands and have emotions, too. We should remember that God doesn’t stuff or ignore emotions.. The Bible full of them!
Our emotions are a gift from God.Our emotions are a gift from God. #feelings #emotions #beingbusy Click To Tweet
Emotions Aren’t Bad
There's no doubt that our emotions influence the way we think and act. We can't deny that we sometimes make bad decisions when we are highly emotional. Feelings can be confusing and hard to manage.
We blame bad reactions on the emotion and often think that emotions are the problem. Perhaps the problem is not the emotion itself, but how we choose to process and handle that emotion.Perhaps the problem is not the emotion itself, but how we choose to process and handle that emotion. #feelings #emotions #beingbusy Click To Tweet
Feel Your Feelings
Allow yourself to feel your feelings. Let yourself sit with your emotions and don’t block them. Talk to a trusted friend or mentor. Write about them in a journal. Getting our emotions out into the open in some way keeps them from stewing inside of us where they can get magnified in unhealthy ways.
Get help if your emotions are overwhelming you. Counseling is valuable if you need to look into your past. Coaching can help if you feel stuck and want to identify your obstacles and figure out how to move forward.
Does being busy mean you are avoiding your feelings? Not necessarily, but if you are unsure of the answer to that question, ask yourself these questions.
Answering yes to these questions can be an indicator that you are running away from your emotions. We all know that running away isn’t a good answer. Running just delays the process.
We have a God who helps us through each difficult situation and gives us the strength to face our fears. We don’t have to be afraid to connect with our emotions. Connecting with our feelings helps us stay in touch with ourselves and with our Creator who made us and lives inside our hearts.
Try it this week. Pay attention to your feelings. What are you learning from them? Would anything you are learning help you sort our your priorities and deal with managing the commitments that you have?
Choose to see your feelings in a positive light (even the ones you feel are negative) and see what happens! It’s surprising what a simple thing like paying attention can do!
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