Empty Peace

We’ve all experienced something. That something that forces us to push our emotions into a tiny little box and hide the key. No matter how small the trial is, to us it can be devastating.

Emotions are a weakness. I watch as people break. They fall. They crumble apart into a screaming mess. Or they just sit quietly, crying when they think no one is looking. Trying not to let the pain or fear or loss take over.

When my turn came, I had to be strong. I felt like I had to be the one to support the others. My family and friends needed me. Emotions are selfish. They make you wonder why this is happening to you. I had no time to wonder. I had to fix what I could and hold together the threads that threatened to snap.

Or so, in my twelve year old mind, I thought. In all my life I have never once suffered any trauma. I still have two parents, all of my siblings, wonderful friends, and most importantly, I have a relationship with Christ.

But darkness comes to all for a time. Army life means deployment. Church life is like family life. The ones you love are the ones who hurt you the most. To me, it seemed like the world was falling apart. In my mind I was glue. I kept it together.

There is no sin in locking emotions away like that. At least when such actions are needed. Yet it was not that emotional void that was keeping me together. And I certainly wasn’t the one keeping everyone else together. I was emotionally cut off. Void. And a master at appearing normal. Adults assumed I was just a serious, grown up little girl. Kids figured that I was boring, nerdy, and older than I looked.

Yet much of that behavior stemmed from a need to be in control. Everything around me was outside of my reach. Myself, and what was inside of me, was mine to rule. My kingdom was ruled with more than iron. The fire that should have burned bright within me was stamped down into coal and ash.

The process of change is painful to say the least. No creature was meant to live this way. Jesus, who is in control of everything, the King of kings, was so passionate that His anger drove men from the temple. His sorrow was such that He wept for His friend Lazarus. His dread of what was to come at the Cross was so great that He sweated blood. His joy in obedience influenced His parents. He laughed, He comforted, His emotions were pure.

If my God has so much passion, how can I say that it is better to do without? To abandon a gift that God has given me because it is more convenient for me to throw it out?

Indeed, there are times when emotions have to be controlled, and God provides us with the strength to do so. In the trials of darkness, silence is better than the ruling of passion. But when the dawn came, God gently prompted me to take back the joy He had meant for me. Slowly, He healed the void I tried to run to when I should have been allowing God to heal me.

I have learned that some emotions are a release. Without them it is impossible to praise God with all that I am. And when I am pressed upon, my emotions can be used to become a reflecting light, hardened and purified by the one who gave them to me. When I feel, I feel the same things that my Savior experienced. Such joy is too great for me.

I am thankful for my emotions. They remind me of who Jesus is, and who He made me to be. Still I struggle. In times I forget and look back at that void of empty peace. But that’s all it is. A hollow filled with ash, a single imprint pressed upon it. I have already been formed, made to reflect the light of my maker. Diamonds cannot return to dust.

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