10.30.2019

The private place of healing


I recently read through the Gospel according to Mark in my daily devotions.  Not only was Mark a phenomenal writer, but there were two specific passages that fascinated me.

The first is in Mark 7.
"And they brought to [Jesus] a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment, and they begged Him to lay hands on him.  And taking him aside from the crowd privately, He put his fingers into his ears and after spitting, touched his tongue.  And looking up to heaven, He sighed and said to him 'Ephphatha', that is 'Be opened'.  And his ears were opened and his tongue was released and he spoke plainly."

And the second story is in the following chapter, Mark 8.
"And they came to Bethsaida.  And some people brought to Him a blind man and begged Him to touch him.  And He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village, and when He had spit on his eyes and laid His hands on him, He asked him, 'Do you see anything?'  And he looked up and said, 'I see people, but they look like trees, walked.'  And Jesus laid His hands on him again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly."

I know that the most unique occurrence in these miracles is the fact that Jesus used His spit to heal.  There are still discussions flying around about why and whatnot.  But when I read these stories, my heart was drawn specifically to the fact that in both of these healings, Jesus performed them in private.

"taking him aside from the crowd privately"... "He took [him] by the hand and led him out of the village"...

Why, Jesus?

I read an article that claims the reason why Jesus healed these men away from the public eye was because, specifically for the passage in Mark 8, the town of Bethsaida was one that Jesus had rebuked for being one of unbelief.  So bringing the blind man away from the faithless people of the village was in order for Jesus to heal him in the strength of His own presence, where the young believer could have the powerful environment to firmly believe.

Another beautiful view on it is that, not only was Jesus doing this for the man's sake, but also because He wanted to have a private moment with him.  It was just the two of them.  It was an intimate connection.  A time of renewal, between the Creator and His creation.

This is amazing.  Jesus thinks about every detail, doesn't He?

This got me thinking.  This "healing in private" concept.

I'm sure you'll agree with me that in today's day and age, publicly sharing about personal trials and traumas is a common occurrence.  This has bothered me for quite some time.  Mainly because I'm a huge advocate for keeping your personal life private.  But mostly due to my personal opinion being that: constantly exposing little snippets of emotional pain and circumstances is more of an attention-seeking tactic than anything.  Sometimes people share too quickly with the world before they have truly processed, dealt with and healed from an experience.  It seems to me that everyone who operates this way wants only for people to read their posts and captions, ask for details, ask what happened, why are you so sad, etc.  I read a quote once that said "If you have to talk to more than three people about the same problem, you don't want help.  You want attention."  And I think that's extremely accurate.  In the thick of the grieving process, wanting attention only creates noise and temporary gratification.  It sparks a bad connection because in reality, there is only one way to heal.  One way to find wholeness.

And it can't be found on the world wide web.

I am not saying that hurting individuals should suffer alone through their grief.  Absolutely not.  There is enormous comfort in sharing traumatic experiences and having a support group made up of family and closest friends.  But there is a bare minimum of what is appropriate or not to share with the public.  If you need prayer, ask someone you trust with your personal affairs.  If you need encouragement, seek it from someone whose words you can know, with confidence, are full of truth and life.  But do these things with the intent of needing solace for your hurting heart.

And in the quiet, in the private moments, when it's just you and Jesus, the power of His healing touch is distinguished and felt more keenly.  When it's just you and Jesus, the voices of the crowd are not heard.  When it's just you and Jesus, you can focus purely on Him and what He's doing in your life and not be distracted by the attention of others.

And remember that true warriors don't parade their conquers on a screen.

You see their physical scars, the victory in their eyes, the passion in their voice, and the strength in their energy.  You hear their survival stories when you ask them to tell you.  You hear the details when they choose to share them from a platform of healing, not in the midst of their turmoil.

Stay away from the crowd.  Go to the secret place.

It's the best meeting grounds to collide with Jesus's healing.

9.22.2019

This is my awakening


Having a spirit truly fascinates me.  

The mere fact that my body is not only home to a brain and heart, but also a soul is just astounding.
  
Being in touch with my spirit, feeling feelings, knowing emotions, is all something that has come with time.

The journey of awakening to realize my inner power and strength began about three years ago.  I felt myself being drawn to certain energies, desiring to learn more about certain things, wanting to have a deeper connection to my self.  But I think what was truly the biggest stepping stone for me (and most recent) was suffering the extremely painful end of an unhealthy relationship.  (This in no way is a platform to drag my ex’s identity through the mud.  He had no way of knowing or controlling his behavior because when an individual is as hurt and broken as he was, blindness is a common factor in their life.)  I am thankful for what I experienced through being his lover, though, because walking away from that painful season was what launched me into discovering more about who I truly am, as a spirit, and what I am capable of becoming, as a human.  

Life-altering circumstances in your journey will first hurt you, but oh, then they will change you.  And when you teach yourself to heal, when you teach yourself to build from the ground up, when you realize you have nothing left but me, myself and I, that is the perfect soil for planting new seeds, a new start, a new life.  And you will discover a strength in you that you didn't know existed.
This fragile time is not something to put on blast right away, though.  Remember that.  “There is a season for everything” - including when to acknowledge your pain and also, when to let others know you survived.  And just because you are discreet about it at first doesn’t mean you are being fake.  You are grieving in privacy.  And that is okay.  

But the time for my grieving is over.  

My God is faithful to bring things to completion, to “finish the good work He started”.  The old is gone, the new has come.  And with a full heart, I can say that I am thankful for this journey that He sovereignly ordained to teach me about myself, about my identity, and about who He has called me to be.  As summer comes to a close, and my favorite time of year begins, I thought it would be the perfect time to celebrate my awakening.

I have shared bits and pieces of my healing journey in the past but I have since entered a new season of acknowledging my wholeness and beauty as an independent and empowered woman so.. get ready, peeps.  


“I thought that I would never breathe.  I thought the pain would never leave.  But You’re redeeming everything.  This is my awakening.  I’m never going back to sleep.  How could I after what I’ve seen?”


Being awakened isn’t some voodoo nuance that involves summoning spirits and calling on dead relatives for guidance.  Being awakened is about discovering your inner power, realizing that you have more potential than you could have imagined, and embracing your journey of self.  Not everyone experiences it the same way.  Your own awakening will come in your own timing, whether that be based off of a life-changing event or when you hit rock bottom.  It might happen slowly, like a sunset filling the sky with colors.  Or it will just click in your heart and brain at the same time, like how a day changes from 11:59 to 12:00 in one second.  

But the most important thing to remember is that your awakening will happen when you manifest the desire for it.  
“Be transformed by the renewing of your mind”.  
“Be mindful of your heart for from it flow the springs of life”.  
Be aware of the energy you are putting out into the world.  
Above all, be open to receive what the LORD desires to bestow on you.  And get ready to be filled to the brim, my friends, for my God does not give meager portions.  

Be blessed.  

You are fully known and fully loved.

“My cup overflows…”

----

The photo I chose for this post is one that I feel has a lot of significance because of the shirt that I'm wearing.  I got it when Amanda Cook was touring with Hillsong and had just released the "House On a Hill" album.  Her song, "Awakening", has been my theme since the day it came out.

9.12.2019

The power you already have


I think there is a very blurred line between thinking that “the devil is attacking me” and our own souls just feeling burdened.  We were created to be empathetic.  And as spiritual beings, we are sensitive to the spirits and energies around us.  We give the devil too much credit, though.  Jesus has already won.  The devil is defeated.  Yet how many people in the world say that “the devil is tormenting them”, when in reality, he is NOT omnipresent so to say that he (satan) is attacking several of us at the same time can not be possible. 


So what is it then?


The Word speaks very clearly that we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the cosmic forces of the present darkness, against the evil spirits of the unseen world --

and this includes fear, depression, anxiety, doubt, oppression, discouragement, shame, etc. 

These are NOT from God, but they can still affect us if we allow them to

This is why it is so important to put on the armor of God that He has provided us with - spiritual battle gear so that our eternal souls can fight through speaking truth, living righteously, sharing the gospel of peace, fearlessly praying, etc. (read Ephesians 6, people)

The last few days have been some of the most emotionally difficult ones that I have had in quite some time.  It kind of hit me out of nowhere, honestly.  And as I pondered why I was feeling so drained, I recalled that I had been made aware of two suicides over the weekend, overheard a girl being verbally torn down by her ex-boyfriend, was asked to pray for a friend who is following God's calling to move across the country even though she is penniless, experienced betrayal and confusion in my personal life, and was also told that my future plans for the next few months were going to change drastically.


To say I’ve been “overwhelmed” is an understatement. 

To say I felt weighed down and oppressed and lowkey stressed would be very accurate.

I challenged myself to spend more time in the Word, to journal and write out my thoughts and feelings, to ground myself in nature because these are my usual go-tos for getting out of funks. 


But none of them seemed to work. 

And honestly, it took everything in me to unravel myself from a fetal position in bed and go in to work with a smile on my face.  I was dragging.  I felt on the verge of a breakdown.

When my lunch break arrived, I clocked out, almost ran to my car and blasted some worship music (another strategy of mine).  Still nothing.  I felt a darkness continue to loom over me.  A cloud of oppression, tinged with this odd guilt that I realized was coming from knowing that I - a strong, Spirit-filled woman - couldn’t get out of this stupid mood. 

That’s when it hit me.


I paused the worship song and declared this out loud:


"You know what?  Oppression and fear have NO place in my body, mind and soul.  At the name of Jesus, every fear is defeated, every negativity crumbles, every dark force is shunned by light, and I am filled with His Spirit and holy power!"


Immediately, I felt that blanket of darkness lift and I was filled with joy.  It was like I had switched a light on in a pitch black room.  There was an instant reaction.  A physical change.  I can’t even accurately describe it.  This gives the moment no credit whatsoever but gosh, I smiled.  I was set free.  I took back my identity and wielded my power.  

There is a certain kind of authority in speaking words of life out loud over yourself and your situations.  I think because we rely too heavily on pushing thoughts away, keeping feelings to ourselves, not letting our emotions control us, that the thought of taking a verbal, physical action like that can seem strange.  But when we stop and gather our words and release them into our environment, they are brought to life. They are weapons of victory.

We have everything we need to fight against the evil in this world.  We have the power to defeat the dark spirits.  Imagine how different this world would be if every person who claimed to know the life-altering love of God would claim their identity as spiritual warriors and went to battle as one body?!  There would be a radical awakening of empowered believers.

--

This is just one personal testimony (among many!) that I have, and honestly, it started out as an Instagram caption but God was like "Naw, you have to share this on the blog."  So here I am.

Oh and the icing on the cake was that He painted a gorgeous sunset for me to watch on my drive home from work.  I was like “Mmmmkay, I see You, Jesus." 

8.24.2019

The smoke signal of forgiveness


I've never met someone who was like "Oh yeah, I forgave that person and it was a piece of cake."  I wish that was the case.  But the truth is, it's a pretty tough choice.

Forgiveness is unique in every situation.  There are moments of forgiveness where someone apologizes and you have to forgive them out of Biblical duty (maybe even grudgingly, but you know deep in your heart that it's the right thing to do).  And then there are other times when true strength is revealed by having to forgive someone who isn't sorry - with no apology ever received from them.

I have learned this lesson several times throughout my young life.  Instances have occurred where I felt betrayed or taken advantage of, and very often the person who caused the hurt knew how it affected me, yet never apologized or even admitted to their actions.

And it sucks.

Because not only did I have to focus on healing, but also on letting go of any bitterness I felt towards the person who hurt me.  But forgiveness is part of the healing.

Read that again.


Forgiveness is part of the healing.


Because without forgiveness, you will be stuck in the endless cycle of bitterness and anger - which can very easily grow into hatred.  And I promise you... this will hinder your healing journey more than you may realize.

But starting with forgiveness will promote the healing process and be the best foundation to moving past your hurt.

I'm a very visual person when it comes to reminders.  I love making lists.  I place things in certain areas through my house (or car even!) that will remind me to do this or that.  I link certain reminders to songs.  I'll pray for a certain person throughout my day to remind me to text them when I have a chance.  I also place a lot of significance in physical signs throughout my spiritual journey.

(I promise I have a point to all of this...)

I had been praying for something significant to become the sign for "forgiveness".  In my healing process, it's important for me to remember to give grace to those who have hurt me.  I had been praying that the LORD would reveal that specific sign to me.  Something tangible, something I could see.  And I told myself that once I established what that sign was, that every time I saw it, I would pray for the one who hurt me, and say "I forgive you" out loud.  Words are powerful.  And vocalizing your thoughts gives them existence.

For my birthday weekend this year, I roadtripped to central Oregon with my Mama to see two of the 7 Wonders of our beautiful state.  On my birthday, as we were driving to the Painted Hills, I saw a brush fire in the field parallel to the road we were on.  There was no one attending the fire, no one guiding its blaze.  The weather hadn't been dry enough for it to catch fire on its own.  I was puzzled by the cause of it, and why no one was trying to put it out.


"Smoke," I felt the Spirit tell my heart.  "Smoke is very often used as a signal.  This is yours.  This is your sign - to remember to forgive, to let go, to give grace."


This sparked the memory of a sermon I heard once on the beauty of wildfires.  Wildfires burn down forests, consuming everything its path, and by doing so, it makes the ground fertile.  It prepares the earth for new growth, to make ready for something beautiful.

The painful experiences in our lives - the wildfires - are moments of preparation for breakthrough.

So now, every time I see smoke - from an open fire, from a BBQ, from a chimney, when a candle gets blown out, or even from a cigar - I will pray for you.  And as the smoke travels to evaporate into the atmosphere, I will let you go.  Even when the tears sting my eyes, and my heart starts to remember the pain you caused in my life, I will give you grace.

Recently, I started a new meditation series by Danny Silk called "Finding Your Why".  In it, he asked the meditator “Who are you?” He said that the classic response is one’s occupation - mom, dad, student - or what they did for a living - barista, engineer, teacher.  The first responses that came to my mind were “A forgiven human…a wild soul.” 
He then went on to say that oftentimes in life, we reach roadblocks that hinder us from reaching our full potential.  This could be anything from a bad work environment, to not having a good community...or even someone in our lives that treats us as less than the amazing human we are and who made us think that we had limitations.  As the guided meditation drew to a close, Danny Silk asked that I take a moment to forgive the first person that came to mind when I thought of being held back.  In past meditations, I always responded with one certain individual.  But this time, the face that came to mind was yours.  Then Danny Silk had me repeat this prayer: 
“God, I forgive ____ for teaching me something that changed who I am.  I forgive him for putting a limitation on my purpose and capacity.  I forgive him for changing my alignment with my destiny.  I forgive him will all my heart.  I am not his judge or his punisher. Father, please bless ____ and give him peace.”
It’s not that I haven’t forgiven you already.  But I think many times we forget that forgiveness is a journey.  It’s not a one time done deal.  Forgiveness needs to happen over and over again.  And it doesn’t mean we will heal completely right away, or move on quickly.  

Forgiving someone is about replacing anger with peace.  It's about cleansing yourself from any bitterness you may hold from the pain they caused you.  You can't move on if you have bitterness in your heart.  Release them.  They have no power over you anymore.  Let them go and welcome your true self back.

Give grace.

Heal.

And find your own smoke signal of forgiveness.

8.21.2019

Reclaiming myself through the restoration

If I could describe 2018 in one word, it would be "painful".

It wasn't just a hard year.  Yes, there were some good moments, but my heart experienced more pain and confusion last year than I ever have in my life.  That's why, when 2019 rolled around, I declared this year to be one of healing.  It would be one of breakthrough, of restoration. And God spoke those words over my life in many ways to serve as confirmation that He was indeed going to do some drastic renewal.

(You may or may not have noticed a theme in my latest articles or Instagram posts about healing, etc., so here's a little more insight into all of that...)

In 2018, I listened to what others had to say about me.  I chose to believe their definition of my identity, instead of claiming the true value and worth that God says I am.

In 2018, I gave and gave and gave of myself - physically, mentally and emotionally - to a point where I was so burnt out and empty that a certain fear and depression set in because I was afraid that if I couldn't give more, then I would have no value.

In 2018, I experienced anxiety attacks for the first time in my life.  Some tried to tell me that it was because I'm such an empathetic person, and with my role as a leader in my church, I was just receiving all of the spiritual attacks that everyone was experiencing.  I tried to believe that.  But I have learned that anxiety is just a symptom.  It's a leaf on a tree that is rooted in a deeper issue.  I wanted to ignore the issue, but by doing so, I continued to experience mental and emotional abuse.

In 2018, I discovered the untimely and never warranted feeling of betrayal.  I experienced the pain of feeling like I had done everything and more, but it seemed that even that wasn't enough.

In 2018, I knew what it felt like to not be a priority.  To be an afterthought.  Or just blatantly ignored.

In 2018, my therapist looked at me and said "Raquel, you are in denial over the abuse you have experienced because you can't wrap your head around the possibility of such cruelty existing.  You can't understand it because you can't relate to it."  The truth sounds insane sometimes, you know?

In 2018, I learned that I was stronger than I realized because I had to forgive someone who wasn't sorry, and without receiving the apology I wanted.


People talk about bad relationships and the negativity that many have experienced through them, but an issue that isn't addressed very often is the reality of PTSD from toxic relationships.  It's not just moments of bad memories or triggers for anxiety and fear.  Once you break free from a mentally and emotionally abusive situation, you literally have to reprogram your brain and way of thinking because you are so set in your ways of survival.  You need to unlearn the behavior that you adapted as a tactic for surviving.  This takes more than just a few days, or a few months.  "Moving on" isn't just about not loving someone anymore.  It's about remodeling your life to not include them, and also rebuilding yourself as an individual.  It's about reprogramming your thought process to not live under the power of their words anymore, and instead reclaim your true identity.  It's about reminding yourself that what they said about your worth being based off of the past life you've lived, the mistakes you've made, and that they'll "just have to accept it" and "get used to you" is not true.  I've had those words said directly to my face and without even realizing it, I let that person's view of me become a foundation to how I viewed myself.  And because of that, I was so insecure, worried, and anxious.  I did everything with the question in the back of my mind "Would they approve?", "Would this be okay with them?", "Would they like this?".  I started living under their power, instead of my own.

This process of restoration and rebuilding needs to begin with realizing that certain people can stay in your heart, but not in your life.  Because more often than not, you will have to make decisions that hurt your mind, but calm your soul.  There's a big difference between the two.
Identify what triggers your feelings of anxiety or what causes you to overthink or to feel insecure, because when you have lived in an unhealthy selfless mentality, it only leaves you feeling depleted.  And you will have to learn how to distinguish between "coping with life" or "thriving through it" because you will either feel broken or you will feel alive.  Refocus.  Recenter.  Prioritize your inner peace and mental wellness.  Yes, even if that means cutting ties with certain individuals in your life.  And recognize that if their absence brings you peace, you didn't really lose them.

It's definitely a process.  It won't happen overnight.  You need to be intentional though.  And little by little, you slowly let go.  You grow less in love with them every day.  You don't miss them so much.  You aren't as eager to check your phone and see their name on your screen (when you get to a point where you just block them on everything, then you'll really discover your own power!).  And one day, you'll wake up and you won't think of them.  You won't wonder what they are doing or where they are or if they are thinking of you or not.  They won't be consistently on your mind anymore.

You might be wondering how I can make such a bold assumption.  But the truth is, I have lived this reality.  And 2019 has been full of it.  Oh this year has been full of healing.  Moment by moment, day by day, decision after decision.  I reshaped my soul.  I discovered how great of an affection God has seized me with, and His words of love breathed so gently yet so strongly into my heart.  He whispered me back to life.  He is the God of abundance.  He is the God of restoration, of peace, of completion.  He is the God of wholeness.  He desires to see me living my fullest and best life.

This year of healing has looked a lot like hurting too, but everyone knows that many wounds are painful even during the mending.  And scars truly are beautiful.  They are showcases of endurance.  As this year is drawing to a close (2020 is five months away, people!!), I am continuing to claim healing in Jesus' name.  Not only over myself, but over the lives of any and every individual who has crossed my path and shared their own painful stories with me.

I believe that the year will end in triumph.  I believe that God completes the good works He starts.  And He is not a god of chaos, but of love, of power, and of a sound mind.  If you can't claim those traits in your life and spirit, then you need to start letting Him show you where change needs to happen.


"You cannot acknowledge someone's glory, without acknowledging their pain - because in may ways, their glory emerged from their pain, their strength from the obstacles they've faced and their beauty from the depths of their broken."
- Hannah Blum

8.20.2019

I stopped saying "hopefully someday I can"...


...and finally did it.

I launched my own business! 


It sounds weird to say that because I am not a saleswoman by any means, nor do I claim to know how to even run a business.  But one of my DREAM jobs has always been to have the privilege of helping others reach their best and healthiest self: mentally, emotionally and physically. 
Through this business, I will educate - and learn along with others! - the benefits of living a natural and healthy lifestyle through Young Living.  Not only with essential oils, but also by utilizing the other wonderful products they offer!

Your encouragement and prayers would be much appreciated as this is all new terrain for me.  This business is so much more than just making money, but rather, my heart behind it is to serve others and help them thrive through using these natural options in their every day life.
I don't support what I don't believe in, and this company has changed my life in such a way that I can't keep it to myself.  I want miraculous doors to open for others too.

Please consider supporting me by liking my business page on Facebook, following me on Instagram, sharing the crap out of my posts... and if you have any questions, please contact me! 

Tell me how you want your life to change and let me help you reach those goals.

6.01.2019

When you can't find beauty in the pain, here is what you need to do instead


I think that we sometimes try to make things not seem as awful and ugly as they really are.  We don’t like facing reality, especially when it comes to our own hearts and lives.  We try to remind ourselves of what we have heard in the past - that there is beauty in the pain, that beautiful things rise from the ashes, that love is a battlefield, that healing is a good journey.

And sometimes, we find ourselves in these circumstances or situations that we never dreamed of being in, and they make us feel like maybe we are missing something.  Because this is definitely not how we have heard things are supposed to happen.

But you know what?

Life is messy.  And no two journeys are the same.  And sometimes we need to realize that and allow ourselves to acknowledge that we won’t always find beauty in the pain, and some loves aren’t meant to last, and being broken is okay, and sometimes “healing” looks a lot like “hurting”.

I have discovered many things on my own journey of healing.  I think the biggest and most beautiful realization I came to, though, was this: 


There will be no other time in eternity that I will have the opportunity to worship God through my pain.  


That’s a crazy thought, isn’t it?  Heaven won’t have any sin or darkness or suffering within its walls of light and love.  So right here, on this earth, is the only time that we will experience sadness and hardships… and even through those moments, we still have the privilege of worshipping our Creator.  That even when it hurts, we can still praise Him.  

That puts things into perspective, doesn’t it?  And honestly, I believe that is the deepest level of worship because no matter how much we “feel” like praising Him, having faith in His promises and worshipping Him in spite of whatever unpleasant circumstances we face, He sees our humble hearts that are still striving to glorify Him amidst the blinding pain.  And declaring the greatness of a sovereign God while standing with an open wound is a powerful act of true worship.  It shifts our focus from our pain, to the Healer.  It will pierce the chaos and confusion and make way for healing and revival.  And that is a beautiful breakthrough.  

Healing might look a lot like hurting, but wow is that journey full of grace and goodness.  We are never left to flounder in our pain.  We are not meant to live lives of regret and shame.  Our temporary residence here on earth isn’t meant to be survived.  We were created to worship and glorify our King, to thrive in His abundant grace, and to bask in His redemption.

Remember that no pain is wasted in His hands.  Even if the outcome is simply to be a beacon of hope for others who are experiencing life hurts.  They may find healing in your wounds.  They may feel the most ministered through your deepest hurts.  And when they see you worshipping, while also knowing everything you have gone through and experienced, healing becomes attractive - because it was never about you.  You, alone, in your pain isn’t a pretty sight.  Pain is scary.  It’s something we shy away from.  But how we choose to handle our hurt is all a testament of Who we choose to serve.  This is why it is so important to share our stories because when we tell people about our past, our journey, up until the present here and now, they get to secondhand witness God’s goodness over our lives.


“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
- Romans 8:18


So when you can’t find beauty in the pain, remind yourself that it is temporary.  But even in that pain, God can - and should still - be glorified.  Jesus came to this earth as a man so that He could identify with us.  He humbled Himself enough to get down in the nitty gritty, to feel the pain, to be hurt, to be betrayed.  He understands sorrow, gut-wrenching pain, ugly crying, loneliness.  And He knows all you have been through.  He is the only one who has seen every one of your broken moments.  And still, He remains.

Remember what I said about your deepest wounds being your greatest source of ministry?  Well, Jesus has the scars to prove His.


“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed.”
- 1 Peter 4:12-13

4.14.2019

It's okay to feel


Feeling is scary.

Even if you are feeling good feelings, it can be scary to allow yourself the moment of bliss to experience something so ecstatic.

And then, there are those moments of bad feelings.  Feelings of pain, anxiety, fear...memories of rejection, heartbreak, loss.  And sometimes, it can seem as if you have no control over how much you allow yourself to feel these things.  They come in waves, sometimes just flowing gently upon the shores of your thoughts and then ebbing away slowly.  Other times, they overtake you like a tsunami and you are lost, dazzled and confused under the tide.

It's scary.

And because it's so scary, I think people have gotten really good at stuffing those bad feelings deep down inside, away from the surface.  But this isn't healthy.  And the reason why is simple.

Because feelings that are buried alive never die.

A lot of people believe that "to deeply feel things" means that you are overly sensitive.  Or that you can be easily offended, or misinterpret things said to or about you.  But I tend to disagree with this.  Why?  Because I deem myself as a sensitive person.  And it's not because I fit those descriptions, but merely because I feel very deeply.  It took a long time for me to understand what that meant, but once I did, my heart and my mind kind of clicked.

You see, I have discovered myself being sensitive to feelings in the fact that I can find significance in the smallest things.  I find beauty in the details.  I feel happy over little pleasures.  Warm beds in cold rooms, shiny crystals, tiny plants, a stack of books, a baby's smile, the way the sunlight fills a space, a delicious smelling cup of coffee. These are all things that a lot of people could see a million times in a day, but perceptive and emotional people will truly notice them, and feel something based on what they behold.

Also, my emotional state can shift based on the feelings of the people around me.  I am very empathetic and can sense emotions and energies very easily.  Honestly, it's hard to handle sometimes because I don't want to pretend everything is okay when I am aware that it very clearly is not.  I can't just listen to someone tell me about the pain they are experiencing or the trauma they are going through, without having a sense of urgency to help or support them in some way.
I can also walk into a room and feel my emotions being drawn to different energies around me - whether they be fear, sadness, pride, anxiety, happiness, excitement - and I internalize everything (which isn't always a good thing).  And sometimes I, unknowingly, burden myself with weight that isn't even mine to bear.

It took certain mentors and counselors to help me see and understand this part of me.  And it was a while before I could embrace it - as part of my identity.  I say "identity" because being emotionally sensitive isn't just a personality trait.  It is part of who I am as an individual.  I don't place my identity in being a person who feels deeply, but rather, I am a strong person who feels deeply and passionately because I choose to.  It's scary sometimes.  I've found myself sitting on my bed, crying, because of all the emotions I was feeling at one time and I didn't even know why.  (And no, this wasn't during my time of the month.  Trust me.  I can tell the difference.)  It tends to happen when I have been around a lot of people, and when I am decompressing, it's as if I am letting go of all the emotions I had been receiving and feeling from everyone I had been around.  This is why I don't like big crowds.  I don't like being around a ton of people all at once.  I don't like loud or chaotic places.  "But you love going to concerts, Raquel" you might be thinking.  And yes, I do.  But concerts are different because I am going to feel the music I am familiar with.  And most likely, everyone else who enjoys that type of music is going to have similar energy to what I do when I listen to it.  Also, when I can focus on one thing in a situation (in the instance of a concert, it would be the artist and their music), then I can tend to block out - or at least minimize - the affect of everyone's emotions and feelings around me.  Crazy, right?  It's insane to me how God made our bodies and minds to be so interconnected.  When one part of us is feeling a certain way, the rest of our self is affected.

And this is important to realize!!  Because allowing yourself to feel is necessary for any valuable growth in your life.  You need to face things directly, no matter how scary they can be, in order to learn from them.  You can't be blind to whatever it is that is causing you to feel certain ways.  You need to openly acknowledge them.

I can always tell when I have been pushing feelings aside and ignoring them.  And if I allow them to stay buried alive, I know that eventually, they are going to burst out at the worst moment and affect me negatively (and most likely those around me, as well).

So a practice I have taught myself is to schedule times throughout my day or week to simply allow myself to meet my feelings.  I always prepare myself, mentally and emotionally, with prayer.  I ask God to meet them with me, and I acknowledge the peace He has given my spirit.
And then, depending on the volume of feelings I need to address, I usually situate myself comfortably in my bedroom or living room, turn on some soft music (ambient or meditation music are my go-tos for these moments) and then I simply meditate, slowly allowing these feelings to surface and for me to deal with them.
Other times, if the feelings are deeper and more intense, I like to go outside (preferably during a rainstorm) and allow myself to feel the physical cold around me, as I call to mind whatever feelings I have been holding inside.  The rain is a beautiful way of helping me physically wash myself of the feelings and free my heart from having them pent up inside.

In either of these scenarios though, I am in control.  I am the one allowing myself to feel.  I am pausing in my busy schedule and giving myself permission to release any emotional burdens that I was carrying around and that were affecting my wellbeing.

This is good.  This is cleansing.  This is healthy.

I would encourage you to do the same with any feelings you have been withholding.  Taking care of your mental and emotional energy is just as important as your physical.  I know that it can be scary sometimes, though.  Especially when you are first getting started in cleaning out the closets and digging up graves.  This is why I strongly suggest people to see counselors and therapists who are trained in helping individuals face their demons.  Seeking help doesn't make you weak.  It's a sign of honest vulnerability, and that, my friend, is strength.

You are strong.  You are the most powerful substance you know on this earth.  Feelings can come and go.  But you have the power to control them.