In the last week, my grandmother passed away. We spent hours and hours at the hospital with her after a stroke, and though her mind was still sharp and her body fought for many days, she simply could not get stronger again. Though I am so thankful to have spent time with her, I experienced a heaviness in my heart, somewhat like if you were to pick up a large stone and try holding it in your arms as you went about your day. You feel weighed down.
When I have difficult emotions to deal with I like to create business in my life. I packed the weekend after losing my grandma full of time with friends, both old and new, one thing after another. I sometimes literally run from my feelings and worries, tying my Asics running shoes and plugging in headphones before heading out the door. And these things can be so good. Time with loving friends is wonderful and life-giving; exercise is great for our mind and body. But when we don’t address what is weighing on our hearts, it doesn’t simply go away. We must find a way to let go of the stones we are holding.
However, interestingly enough, I had started reading a book while spending time with my grandmother. The title is simply: Present Over Perfect. The author talks about how in the moments of quiet, of peace, her emotions would shout the loudest. They began to shout so loudly, she realized that she couldn’t continue living the way she had been for so long. And that is why it is so important to allow yourself to have those moments of quiet.
I’d like to share something with you.
I have wrestled with feelings of inadequacy for some time. I struggle with emotions surrounding a mostly distant relationship with my dad. Being afraid of being too much, or too little, or unimportant. It is in moments of quiet that often feel these the most strongly. That I begin to think over should haves, would haves in my day to day choices.
I have been seeing a very kind woman about twice a month since February this year. She is a counselor who works with people who struggle with anxiety, loss, relationships, grief, trauma. And what an amazing woman she is. She trusts the Lord in her work, and has such a heart of compassion.
When meeting with her, she works to create space for emotion to be processed in a healthy way. One time, she had me do an exercise where she asked me to sit quietly while some music played and wait for an emotion to come up regarding a specific situation from when I was just a little girl.
Here’s how it went. I sat on the small couch in her office and put on the headphones that played soft sounds. She encouraged me to sit patiently, and just think back to when I was younger and see what emotion came with it. So I sat and waited. And then after a few moments, I opened my eyes and told her, “I don’t know if I’m doing it right.” It seemed silly to just sit and wait, and I wasn’t even sure what I was waiting to feel. She encouraged me to not over-think it and just wait, telling me that it could take more than only a few minutes.
So I sat a bit longer with my eyes closed. I waited. And after maybe ten minutes, felt something well up within me, and seemed to force my eyes open. When I opened my eyes she said, “There’s something there.” Some tears worked their way out of my eyes and she reassured me this was normal. And then I was able to share pieces of my past with her more freely. I was able to tell her of some hurt I had experienced in the past related to the feeling of turmoil that seemed to have been sitting on my heart.
It was difficult for me to even sit quietly for a few minutes at first to try to realize what I had been holding on to. How often do we just sit and patiently wait for our heart and our brain to connect? And allow the daily thoughts in our head to intersect with the feelings we hold somewhere deeper?
Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. Psalm 62:5-6
As a culture, we try to keep ourselves busy. Job, kids, volunteering, working out. It’s as if we have a duffel bag that we are trying to stuff with as many things as possible. But by the time we stop for the night, we are just so tired. And we don’t take time to unpack the bag and think about our day. But the next day comes and we try to stuff in a little more.
Please don’t get me wrong, there is beauty in the bustle of this life we have been given. How the Lord allow us to go through different seasons, try new things, grow in different ways. But we were not meant to run at full capacity all of the time. We must rest. We must sleep. We must allow time for moments of quiet so we can hear the Holy Spirit’s whisper above the roar of our day to day lives.
Take a moment or two today. What is on your heart that you haven’t been taking time to truly process? In the quiet, one moment at a time, we can begin to realize how many stones we have collected along the way and begin to lay them down again. But we cannot do this without the Lord.
Slow down take time, breathe in He said, He’d reveal what’s to come, the thoughts in His mind, always higher than mine – Take Courage, by Bethel Music
Author: Alyssa Hingeveld
Author Bio: Hello!
I am a twenty-something special education teacher living in the bustling city of Madison. I grew up in a small town, and love small moments, like when you wake up to rain drops falling outside, or smell the first crisp scent of autumn in the air, or laugh with friend. I love to meet with others over a cup of warm coffee and enjoy running and working with little humans who are learning how to find their place in the world. I I began blogging a few years ago, and set a goal for myself to write one blog post each month this year. I am excited to share some of my writing with you and would love to hear your own stories of determination, slow growth, and perseverance.
Link to social media or website: http://alittlejoyfulness.wordpress.com