I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are fair, and that in faithfulness You have disciplined me.
O may Your lovingkindness and graciousness comfort me, according to Your word (promise) to Your servant. Let Your compassion come to me that I may live, For Your law is my delight. (Psalm 119:75-77, AMP)
All of these emotions are running through my mind. I keep waiting for these feelings to pass, but they continue to be there. I gravitate towards the psalms for comfort, but still these feelings persist. Feelings of not being capable or competent enough, as if what I have to contribute isn’t valuable. At the same time, I know that I AM capable and competent, which leads to emotions of frustration and anger that my comments or contributions are at the least carelessly disregarded and at the worst blatantly disrespected.
I don’t take my words in important conversations lightly. If I am giving an opinion or observation in a group conversation it has been carefully and thoughtfully done. These opinions and observations have many years of experiences and studies shaping them. I don’t throw out random comments, especially when they contain concerns for the needs of others, without having put a lot of time, thought, and/or conversations with other peers into them.
So why do I feel like I am oftentimes chastised or belittled for not being compassionate enough, empathetic enough, positive enough, spiritual enough or educated enough to make these contributions to the conversations?
How do I speak positive affirmations into a conversation while also speaking my truth when necessary? My life hasn’t been pretty (who’s has been?) and I have dealt with a lot of heavy things throughout it. Sometimes that means my experiences may color my perception and views differently. Just because someone else’s experiences have been different doesn’t give them the right to disregard how my opinions or views have been formed.
Just to clarify, I don’t believe that I have the only valid and/or right opinions or observations, but at least engage with me respectfully when I offer them. It isn’t even about right and wrong, but about allowing me to share my thoughts based on my perceptions, and then discuss with me in a conversation about where our views may differ in a way that doesn’t leave me feeling discounted, belittled, or in the wrong. This is where learning and growth can occur. I am a curious person and eager to learn new things, thoughts, and perspectives.
At the same time, I am feeling weighed down by exhaustion and fatigue.
Perhaps it is the stress from an overly busy time in my life with work, church, and family responsibilities. Or it could be the ups and downs and guilt that comes along with parenting. Most likely, however, it is the fact that I am getting older and starting to see life in a new way. There is a lacking of willingness to continue on down the old familiar paths just because I have always trod along them for so much of my adult life. My perceptions are changing, my energy levels are changing, what’s important to me in my life is changing, and my self-worth is changing.
No longer do I feel I should hold back in conversations because those around me are older and more experienced. It is time for me to move into that space of being one of the older persons with valuable life experiences and own it along with my story and all the baggage that comes with it.
It is during these trials in my life that I realize how much I need to depend on strength and direction from God. At the end of the day, the only one that I need to be accountable to is God. Am I loving as he would have me love? Am I trying to live out his will for my life? If I can answer yes to these questions then I can be content and rest in the arms of our heavenly Father knowing that he will use all of the experiences in my life for good.
This does not give me permission to stay mired down in places of discouragement. Moving into this next phase of my life is going to require me to evaluate the things I do and the ways that I use my time.
If it is something that is life-sustaining or life-giving it stays, if it is something that is no longer supplying a need or bringing me peace, joy, or contentment then it may need to be changed or left behind completely. Miring myself down in the things that bring constant frustration distracts me from the important things in my life and drains the time and energy that could otherwise be used for the good things that do fulfill God’s purpose and will for my life.
I think that I have spent much of my adult life wondering what God is calling me to be. Now I am realizing that I already am what he is calling me to be – and that is His child. I don’t know if I am discovering this because I am now thirty-ten and re-evaluating where I am at in life or if it is just a lesson that I am finally getting around to learning. God has made me for good, he has a plan for me, and wants me to thrive. If something isn’t bringing me calm, joy, peace and a sense of purpose or accomplishment, then perhaps it is time to move on.
It doesn’t change who I am, as my identity isn’t what I do, but it is in Jesus Christ that my identity is found. Remembering this will hopefully help me to work through these emotions and feelings, make the changes that need to be made, and keep leaning on the courage, strength, and love that God equips each one of us with.
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control]. (2 Timothy 1:7, AMP)