Todd and I were sharing a meal with some friends during this last year and the wife said her counselor had told her grief was like poop, we need to do a little every day or else we become emotionally constipated. I instantly latched onto that idea and started wondering how much else was building up in me I was preferring to ignore, rather than pass?
Was disappointment or envy, competition or pride building within stories I didn’t like and couldn’t control, until I was literally exhausted and unable to spiritually fight? I began to crave more self-awareness. How could I tell the truth when I was afraid? Or sad? Or anxious? What does that kind of daily confession look like and would practicing it change my emotional fatigue in a way any treat I might give myself couldn’t?
I started to be brutally honest, at first just with myself and God. I would say aloud or write down statements like this:
I am afraid they think I am better at something than I really am. I might disappoint them.
I want something that isn’t mine. I will delight when someone else enjoys it.
I am anxious about (this child’s) future. I can’t control what happens to them.
I am sad… or I am mad… or I am… Soon, the confessions I would’ve rather not had, instead of bringing shame (I can’t believe I am feeling/thinking/wanting this) when confessed, brought lightness. My friend’s counselor was right- it felt like a bowel movement, stinky coming out, but necessary. Confession began to look like grieving, (a broken heart over where I had fallen), and grieving began to look like confession (sorry, Lord, for longing for what isn’t.)
With all the grieving and confession came the unintended benefit of capacity. I want more capacity, because capacity increases impact. When I am not carrying what isn’t mine to carry, I have more room in my heart and mind and hands to hold what God entrusts to me.