God has such an interesting way of cementing things into our minds. He never fails to blow me away with His perfect process. I signed up to write this blog before 2018 even began, and this has been the topic that I’ve been walking through so heavily recently. I’ve learned more about pain and conflict over the last month or so than I have maybe ever before.
As I was growing up, I was always afraid to say what was on my mind or to say what was true for me at any given time especially if I knew people would be offended by me. My desire to be found acceptable to others was really just a deep desire for belonging and a fear of abandonment emotionally. I don’t know where it stems from, but I do know that those were the roots. When I went to counseling for the first time two weeks ago I told my counselor, “I am truly not always certain that I see and understand the difference between what is just and unjust.” A CHRISTIAN GIRL WHO WRITES AND SPEAKS TO PEOPLE FROM STAGES SAID THIS OUT LOUD TO ANOTHER HUMAN. (This is the starting point for freedom, people. 10 out of 10, would recommend.) As we walked through my life story and unpacked some relational habits, she looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Ryn I think you have a profound gift for understanding right and wrong and for seeing what is truly just and what is unjust. But you also have a gift for seeing the conditions of other’s hearts and the motives behind their actions. Moving forward and growing through this means you will have to not let what is true for another silence what is true for you.” MIND. BLOWN. I’ve never been so vindicated, challenged, and affirmed in my whole life.
Another thing my counselor said that has had me completely undone over the last two weeks is that my shrinking and choosing not to speak up as an attempt to maintain connection actually only served to create emotional distance in the relationship. The very thing I’d been avoiding all my life was created as a result of the coping mechanism I had opted for.
As I’ve grown spiritually over the past few years I’ve really tried to become one who is unoffendable, and mainly out of a true desire to remember that I was the ultimate offender when my sin put Jesus on that cross and it has truly served me in not taking things personally. Where I think this crosses the line is when we just choose to be the bigger person and rise above what was said about us as an attempt to comfort our ego. As I was talking to my friend, Pastor Geoff Davidson, about the topic he said something that truly knocked me back on my heels. “We’re never asked not to feel our feelings, Ryn. We’re not Buddhists, asked to zen-out the emotion instead of dealing with it. What matters is what we do with it.” I. WAS. SHOOK. Here I was trying to Polly Anna every emotion and reframe it into something positive in order to control my inner environment, and there sat God, calm and confident on His throne saying, “Baby girl, I’ve always promised to be close to the broken hearted. How do you expect to experience my nearness if you won’t let your heart break and invite me in?”
Oh friend, if you hear anything from my Enneagram 7 self let it be this: choose to feel the hurt and the pain with God. He’s faithful to hold you when you need to be held, and He’s faithful to put everything into his perfect light when you’re in need of understanding. Disclaimer: If you are to blame for any part of it, His kindness will indeed lead you to repentance so be ready to acknowledge what you’ve done wrong, if anything, and to submit it to God and ask for forgiveness. He wants to heal our hearts holistically and remind us of his goodness and love in the process. You can totally do this. I believe in you.
Ryn Tomlinson is a resident of Atlanta, Georgia, a part of the Passion City Church family, the oldest of five girls, and is passionate about helping Christians learn to live in the fullness of the new heart that God has given them. She works in ministry at iDisciple and supports several non-profit organizations on a local and national level. She truly believes that “becoming” is an unraveling process that the Lord is in charge of & only He can achieve, and that growing in the wisdom and knowledge of the scriptures in the context of community is the best way that we can choose to partner with Him in the process. And she’s, really … really grateful for His grace in the process.