A few years ago, our regular gardener, a.k.a. my husband, was in a severe accident. We coined it his “axe-ident.” He had gone camping with a couple of friends and accidentally hit his foot while chopping firewood. Not only did he hit his foot, but he broke a bone and hit an artery. One tourniquet and an ambulance ride later, we learned he needed emergency surgery.
There were moments surrounding the days and weeks after this event of pure gratitude because, at one point, we feared he might lose his leg – or worse – his life. But in other moments I felt exhausted and bothered. Life suddenly required me to step up to things that were outside of the norm and added a lot more to my plate – like yard work, taking out the trash and doing everything for my husband, who was bedridden for weeks and couldn’t do anything for himself – ll because he got injured on what was supposed to be a fun guys’ trip while I held down the fort at home.
If I’m honest, I threw myself a pity party because this accident happened at the worst possible time. After years of being a stay-at-home mom, I had an opportunity come up for myself and couldn’t prepare as I wanted. It didn’t feel fair.
One day during that season, I was watering the plants and flowers around our house. I’m the last person who should be tending to anything green because it will inevitably turn brown and die. But as I watered the plants, I snapped a picture and was going to post it on social media with a few words about how I would choose joy.
As quickly as the thought came, I realized it wasn’t even one I agreed with. While life can bring circumstances, trials or even days when choosing joy is helpful, it isn’t constructive if it just temporarily covers our feelings like a band-aid.
I don’t know about you, but when I don’t let myself sit with my emotions, good and bad, and instead, I choose to push through, I end up habitually going through life just putting one foot in front of the other. This gets the job done for a while, but a continuous season makes me feel less like me, blurring my image of myself and God. I become even more overwhelmed.
So, how do we sit with our emotions and rejoice simultaneously? We lean in instead of letting go.
Sometimes this means:
- seeing a counselor.
- talking to a friend.
- forgiving someone when they haven’t asked for it.
- staying right where we are.
- taking a step forward.
- speaking up.
- more rest.
- more prayer.
It means knowing no matter what path we use to lean in, we are becoming a more authentic version of who God created us to be. It exposes our go-to hiding places and helps us identify things that have held us back. Instead of choosing joy, I prefer to remember all of who God created me to be.
Reflection is a way for me to slow down intentionally. It helps ground me and invites me to learn more about myself and God. What is something in your life that would be helpful for you to take the time to reflect on this week?
Sarah Nichols is a writer who loves encouraging women by sharing hope-filled stories that point others to Jesus. She lives in Tucson, AZ, with her husband and four kids. You can find more from Sarah at http://sarahnicholswrites.com.