Some of you that follow my blog or know me personally know that I have experienced a few events that I fondly refer to as “moments of extreme temporary stupidity”. I first heard that phrase directed at some things I had done as I was being sentenced to two years in prison. The truth is, those things I did weren’t acts of stupidity. They began as a decision to do something that I knew was wrong because I wasn’t happy with where my life was at. I won’t attempt to speak for anyone but myself, but I lived most of my life unhappy with who I was and where I was at. I was always looking for something better, a better job, a better house, things will be better when I retire. Even growing up in the church, I was always taught that if I can just make it through this life things will be better in the sweet by and by.
Based on that line of thought and the fact that most people around me seemed to have a better life than I did, I decided to shut down emotionally. I didn’t exactly agree with the idea that, “life sucks and then you die”. I was kind of hoping for, “life sucks and then you might go to heaven”. My motto became, “If I don’t care, it can’t hurt me”. If you don’t get anything else from me today, get these two things: 1. It’s not possible for anyone to not care about anything. 2. When you try to stop feeling, things still hurt. In my experience, it hurts worse.
Attempting to shut down emotionally became one of the biggest factors that led to my addiction and incarceration. Numbing out. All the pain, fear, shame, loneliness, hurt, anger and guilt came crashing in. I’m thankful that I was introduced to the idea that our emotions are God given. All of them. Even the ones we think are bad. They just need to be processed the way God intended. I’m not saying that process will be easy but I am saying that process brings life. As I began to process them instead of running from them I began to experience true joy and peace. Serenity became an experience and not just a prayer that addicts recite. The author of the quote I posted played an important role in my learning to process and understand emotions. Today, instead of looking for a better life in the sweet by and by, I am living a better life, in the here and now. Instead of talking about the good old days, I talk about the great life I am living now. I no longer live in a dress rehearsal preparing for tomorrow. I am living the best life I have ever known, right now. And what about tomorrow or the sweet by and by? I’m confident it will be even better than today. I just don’t have to wait for things to be good.
I’m looking at starting a new group to study our emotions, what are they? What are the impairments they bring when they are not processed correctly? What are the gifts they bring when we experience them the way God intended? If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, shoot me a note at email@example.com. We can talk.