Freedom and messy emotions

Today is a very special day for the United States. We celebrate the day we declared our independence from England and birth of our nation. It is a day we celebrate national freedom.

But what about personal freedom? Are we as individuals free?

The past few weeks, I have been unpacking a lot of emotional baggage. It’s the ordinary day-to-day stuff that I haven’t had time to deal with. So it has built up a small pile of suitcases in the corner and a noticeable pile of junk under the rug.

As I have been unpacking my feelings and emotions, I have begun to feel free. Now don’t assume that unpacking my baggage has been easy. It has been really hard. One day, I spend three hours journaling in an attempt to sort through and deal with my messy emotions. But as I pick up the emotions, name them and face them head on, the baggage pile has shrunk and a sensation of freedom has filled its place.

In this process, I have discovered emotions and feelings I thought I had taken out to the backyard and buried. It was unsettling at first to find them alive and sitting in the corner with the rest of the baggage. I’m still not totally sure how to process some of them. But I don’t want to repeat my past and bury them again. This time, I want to face them and work through them. I want to be free from them.

As I get older, I am realizing that if I don’t face my emotions, problems and addictions, head on, I will never be free. If I sweep my junk under the rug or bury it in the back yard, I haven’t dealt with it. All I have done is postponed dealing with it while giving it license to continue to harass me.

I don’t think that this is the life God wants for His children.

Will dealing with past emotions and problems be difficult? Yes! It may be extremely painful. It may bring flashbacks and relapses into old thought patterns and emotions. But if we ask Him, God will be there holding our hand and helping us through the pain. (It is also good to have a friend or counselor go on the journey with us. When the emotions get too deep and we about drown, they can help to pull us out.)

So today, as you think about and celebrate national freedom, see if there are any areas of your life that aren’t free. If there are, take a moment to pray and to ask God to help you face those areas head on. Ask Him to guide you, heal you and to walk beside you.

Psalm 147: 3 ESV – “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.