How's Your Heart?
I remember back in school, when I was in a season of learning a lot about emotional health, my friend group began asking each other a new question on a regular basis: “How’s your heart?”
That practice began to revolutionize the way I checked in with myself. My whole life it was always “How are you doing?” answered by a quick “Good, thanks. And you?”
Interesting word choice. “How are you doing?” instead of “How are you being?” Are your actions making the grade? Are you being productive and successful? Yep, I'm doing good. Thanks. Not a second or inch in there to actually think about how what my emotional landscape really looked like. Even if there was, I wouldn’t be able to answer truthfully because I had placed all my feelings somewhere very, very far away.
But this new question… it required honesty. It required taking time to actually look around and take stock of my world. I began to realize that I’d been running from my emotions since I very first encountered pain as a child. The farther I could push them down and hide them away, the better. I didn’t want these negative emotions to affect or control me. How ironic is it that ignored emotions control us way more than the ones we accept and work through?
Now, here I am today, a just a few years older and wiser… and I know enough to see that this season we’re living in is a definite emotional experience. There’s fear of the unknown, worries about the future, concern for the wellbeing of our families, thoughts about the economy, stress about our next paycheck, grief over unforeseen endings. I don’t care who you are, this is a lot to process.
So I’m here, my friend, to ask you the important question. How’s your heart? Really. Take a second to check in and recognize what you’re feeling. I know it’s scary to accept what may be a tulmultuous storm at bay, but I promise it won’t just go away by being ignored. Emotions don’t work like that. Recognize, accept and give yourself space to feel what’s going on. Go ahead.
Now take a deep breath. Amazing job! And look- we’re still here! This little exercise didn’t end you, and I promise it’s actually a beginning. Now that you can honestly see what’s going on inside, you can begin to process through it with the One who knows you best.
First, have it out with God. Share each and every bit of what’s bothering you. Share your grief with Him. He can take it. More than anyone else, He is always there to validate our feelings, share in our tears and provide the comfort we don’t know how to ask for.
Second, reach out to someone close to you and share with them the honest answer. Let them know how you’re really doing, and in so give them the opportunity to extend love to you in that place, as well as inspiring them to become honest with their own emotional state.
Third, and this is important- it’s time to move forward. There’s a difference between being honest and processing emotions vs. marinating in negativity. I’m giving you permission to validate your feelings and then take a step toward growth, but don't build a house and live there. Rather accept what hurts, apply love and watch the healing commence. Energy will return and peace will reign again.
If you only hear one thing, hear this: you’re not alone. If you feel like you’re simply treading water and in total survival mode, reach out. Let your friends and family be there for you in this season. Survival mode can look like different things for individual people; whether it’s weekly Netflix + junk food binges or working yourself into a frenzy doing all the work/home projects, your emotions will make themselves known. So don’t let another day go by without being honest and listening to yourself.
May the Lord bless you and keep you. May His face shine upon you. In your coming and your going, you are held in His hand. He’s big enough for your every worry and need and you can trust Him. You are safe, you are sound and you are loved. Reach out if you need anything.
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