I stumbled upon this interesting graphic as I scrolled through Facebook the other day. This cognitive neuroscientist I follow shared this image of feelings before you talk about them vs after you talk about them. The feelings before were all of these lines (noodles? spaghetti brain, anyone?) of all different colors all tangled up. The feelings after were neatly categorized by color and labeled: fear, sorrow, anger, etc.
And I loved that image and the caption she wrote to go along with it. She pointed out that we often "avoid talking because we think we will be a burden, or because we think we have to have a solution to talk about a problem.." and encouraged readers to talk through big or tangled feelings or thoughts "even if you don't have the right words or understand what's going on." [Dr. Caroline Leaf, Facebook]
I'm not exactly a verbal processor normally, but I recently found myself so overwhelmed and confused even by many thoughts, information that's come at me, opinions, and on and on that have been swirling around in my head. And as I quietly contemplated all of the things that were coming at me and that I was examining and praying over, it was like the things just compounded. Like, I would have moments of clarity and peace with the Lord. Shutting off social media helped me to walk undistracted. But.. it was like I couldn't even put my finger on what was going on inside because everything was just a big tangled mess. It was really heavy; at times, straight up oppressive.
It was the lens through which I was viewing everything, which is kind of like walking around with fingerprints smudged all over your glasses. You can see but there's this thing in the way or always in your peripheral. It's hindering your vision and how you go about your day.
So the Lord, I'm convinced, arranged for me to be walking with a specific group of women in this season of wrestling. I found myself word vomiting and sobbing all over the place; like all of the stuff I'd been holding in spilled up out of me. And it was just a mess; just a tangled string of words as I fumbled to find the words to explain the warfare that had been coming at my mind and amplified by fear and probably by keeping it to myself and trying to figure it out on my own.
There was the relief of finally having all of these things out in the open, however tender and vulnerable I felt. And then.. oh, then, there came a massive dismantling: 'Here's what's true and here are the lies that need to go. Where is this one coming from? What happened over here?' as they seemed to hold all of these threads in their hands, sorting and sifting through the mess with me.
Man, sometimes we miss stuff. We're too close to what's going on. We're just muddling through. We need our sisters in Christ to come alongside us to help us look at what we're walking through with a clear lens and a few steps back from it all. We need wise and seasoned and prayerful friends to not only help identify lies believed and point out truth overlooked; we need these sisters to pray with us and over us, ushering us right into the throne room when maybe lately it's felt like we've been crawling there on our own.
I can't tell you how thankful I am that God provided these women as an answer to many, many cries of desperation. I know that He guided me and sustained me as I sought His will and His Word but I can't help but feel like He intentionally chose these friends to answer my prayer for clarity.
How beautiful when the Body operates as intended. This is only a small glimpse of that: women following hard after Jesus, devoting their lives to the work set before them, emptying themselves and making themselves available to the needs around them. Kingdom-minded women, submitting themselves to the transforming of their minds and the conforming of their desires to those of the Lord's. Small and yet mighty acts of submission and vulnerability and obedience.
We need these relationships; wow, can they serve as another step in the laying down of our self-sufficiency and self-absorption as they fill very real needs perceived with eyes wide open.
And I found that when the noise of my circumstances threatened to drown out the truth, their collective pointing to Jesus quieted all of the noise and brought Him to the forefront. These friends helped turn my mental and spiritual disarray into alignment with the Lord and what He says is true.
What a gift.
How about you, sis? Have you ever not asked for help because you were afraid of being a burden? Have you ever been so overwhelmed by what you were walking through that you just didn't even know where you would begin? What steps could you take today, to either reach out for help in your time of need or to reach out to a friend who is walking through a hard season?
If you currently are without a 'tribe' in this season- will you let us be just that for you right now? Will you let us know how we can rally around you and pray over you in whatever you're facing? It would be a privilege- certainly not a burden.
May any and all confusion and disarray be untangled and reconfigured completely so that you may walk freely in alignment with the Lord.
Written by: Olivia Caldwell
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