Have you ever experienced an emotional hangover? Adrenaline charged situations leave me feeling this way. I’m drained of energy, unable to connect and tired to my bones. I come away with a pounding headache, seeking sleep and feeling angry.
Emotionally full situations are sometimes good, sometimes bad. Placing my house on the market with all the painting, repairs, contractors and staging is exciting—emotional hangover. Conflict between my child and her peers or their parents gets my adrenaline up and leaves me heartbroken—emotional hangover. A family reunion pulls old memories to the surface mixing with lack of sleep from all the catching up and zaps me in a good way—emotional hangover. Preparation and practice for a child’s audition leaves me proud but oh, so tired, no matter the outcome—emotional hangover. Even a weekend of ministry where God shows up, uses me in amazing ways and does miraculous changing in the hearts of others leaves me coming home unsocial—emotional hangover. A friendship that changes resulting from hurt feelings and heated words—emotional hangover.
I’ve asked God, begged God really, to give me a cure. You know, take two Advil with a full glass of water and eat some dark chocolate—wake up feeling like a million bucks! Or rather, praise service in the car driving home with prayer time of gratitude for all my blessings. But, I think God made our human bodies—or at least mine— to respond to stress, all of it, this way. The good stress and the bad stress. It’s why I need a nap after Christmas dinner and don’t go out to take advantage of the after Christmas sales. It’s why I throw myself into the laundry and unpacking after a long trip. And it’s why I tend to turn off my phone the day after a big party.
I need to unwind. I crave it. I love the sacred space where I can go to recharge.
It hasn’t always been this way.
Growing up, I never wanted to miss anything. Not one party. Not one game. Not one phone call. Not one dinner. Not one conversation. In college, I served on every committee. Student Government. Class Council. Christian sorority. Bible study. I went to every football game. I stayed out late to enjoy yell practice. And by finals, I was usually ready to have a nervous breakdown. The last final always reduced me to tears and I never quite understood why. Until recently.
Now I know. I was made for this sacred space. It’s a space that fits my life. A space that cradles my heart. A space safe enough to keep my emotional reactions and responses to the hurt, the joy and the rhythm of a fast-paced life protected.
As I look back over my life, I see spaces. Chunks of time where God gave me the gift of space. Maybe because I refused to carve it out myself. The time I had mono as a teen. The time I didn’t make the squad and all my friends were at practice. The time the girl who hosted all the parties didn’t like me. The time I moved to a new place with no friends. The time my roommate got sick and moved home. The time I had so many babies loading the car was a job so hard, I rarely did it. The time I showed up to volunteer with my friends and was asked to work in a room alone. There are others.
Somewhere in these gifts of space, I find God’s grace. As I set aside the feelings of exclusion, rejection, judgement, mistreatment, unfairness and resentment, I gain insight to see that nobody, not one single person, leaves me out or deserts me without the approval of an Almighty God who loves me, accepts me, chooses me and uses me. I see the sacred in God’s no. Maybe He’s protecting me, maybe He’s providing for my character development, maybe He’s saying no to me to protect or provide for someone else’s heart.
Sometimes in the space, I’m tempted. Inspired even, to fill the void with my own created thing: a party, a ministry or an event. But as time passes, I am learning. God doesn’t want us to compete with the crowd. He wants us to yield to His completion of our character.
And sometimes yielding means sitting. In a lonely space.
After the party is over.
Or sometimes while the party continues without us.
Sister, will you search for the sacred space in your own life? Will you lay down whatever it is that prohibits you from embracing this space as sacred? Will you meet Him there to recharge?
What does your sacred space look like this week?
This week’s SDG Connections Posts:
On Wednesday, Laura Boggess is sharing about how playing with God changed her relationship with Him and so many other aspects of her life. Make sure you stop by…there’s a giveaway, too!
On Friday, Heather writes a beautifully authentic post about her struggle with depression and how God worked so powerfully in her life.
On Saturday, Jen will have our latest John study up.
SDG Gathering Important Information
Lisa Smith is helping me facilitate our gatherings each week. She is visiting those of you who link up on “even” numbers and I am visiting the “odd” (don’t worry, I’m not calling YOU odd). She will also be sharing on Mondays with you from time to time, opening up her heart and life to you, as you faithful do with us each week you link up. We do have some important housekeeping items about this gathering, so if you have not read them, please come here to catch up. The condensed version: Link up ONE post that shares your heart authentically and be sure to check in with some of your sisters who have linked up with you. Leave a heartfelt word of encouragement for them after you visit their space. This is a community where we actively seek to get to know each other.
Have an extra second?
Jen here – I’d love your help in getting the word out about our upcoming book, Pure Eyes, Clean Heart: A Couple’s Journey to Freedom from Pornography. Would you be willing to help me with a Thunderclap? We need 100 supporters to sign up to make this work. Essentially, when you sign up, Thunderclap will send out ONE pre-written (by Jen) Facebook or Twitter blast to your social media outlet. They won’t spam you and no one will get your email address or anything else. If you can help, please go here.