To Be Alive.
I attend a weekly fellowship gathering where, each week, a different testimony is shared by someone who is local to the area and wants to share what God has done in their life. It’s an incredible gathering because every person there in shares a wonder of God and His power. I’ve heard stories of redemption, recovery, and forgiveness, and I’ve heard stories of triumph over pain and past. I was blessed and humbled to speak there last week and share my own story of how God has used the pain from my past for His purpose.
Yesterday’s speaker, Joe Castillo, had a strong message of forgiveness and a very powerful message of how holding on to bitterness in life will only poison oneself. I added his book to my future reading list on Amazon, and I can’t wait to read it. The meeting always breaks up slowly after the speaker finishes, and everyone in the room connects with people they know, some they don’t know, and some they want to know better. A man I have met a few times came up to me and we spoke a few minutes. He then shared with me a message God had laid on his heart, and it touched me.
It touched me so much that, in spite of myself, I couldn’t hold back the tears. He immediately apologized and I’m sure he had no idea I would become emotional. I had to assure him, it wasn’t his fault, nor was there anything wrong in what he said. I simply cry easily these days. However, I also laugh easily these days, more than ever before. I remember an Patty Loveless song chorus: “It’s ok to hurt, and it’s ok to cry.” For a long time after leaving home, my parents and my brother behind, I didn’t truly believe it was ok to hurt.
Since 2013 when I started sharing my story, I’m so much more in tune with my emotions and I allow myself to feel them. I’ve realized how wonderful it is to be able to (appropriately) enjoy the emotions God gives us. I am more “Alive” than I ever have been, and I believe it’s in large part due to the fact that I’ve learned to be vulnerable as I shared my story of overcoming years of abuse. I let go of the shame, guilt and secrecy of the past and learned to be more alive as a result. I’m truly free and it’s a wonderful blessing! It’s not that I didn’t laugh over the years but I had learned to numb such a large part of myself because I didn’t know how else to cope. I thought that simply burying the past was the best way to just go on with life. So I did. I buried it, locked it up and threw away the key, numbing my pain, but also my joy in life.
You see, we can’t numb only part of our vulnerability. In the words of Brene Brown, “Numbing vulnerability also dulls our experiences of love, joy belonging, creativity, and empathy. We can’t selectively numb emotion. Numb the dark and you numb the light.”
Rather than bury our feelings, what would it be like to acknowledge them as part of us, examine them, why we have them, and then take action (or not) based on them? Does it hurt sometimes? Yes. Of course. But would you trade the joy so you don’t have to feel the pain? It’s much like when someone makes a decision to get a pet. A dog or a cat that you expect will not live as long as you do – and yet it’s worth the loss you will at some point feel. Or the decision to get married – sooner or later you will have a fight and it won’t be pretty. But, would you want to live your entire life alone simply to avoid that?
Truly living means to be alive. And, to be alive means sometimes we laugh, sometimes we love, sometimes we hurt, and sometimes we cry. And, that’s ok.
Ria is a motivational speaker and certified leadership coach with a passion for helping others make the right choices today to reach their goals tomorrow. Contact Ria for information on success coaching or motivational speaking. To sign up for Ria’s complimentary leadership training series, CLICK HERE.