Days of Hope: One New Pivot
Updated: Jan 14, 2022
I just did something I didn’t think I could ever do.
I tamed a bit of the devil in me, by falling on You.
I fell on You yesterday in the moments leading up to my girl’s bath,
Choosing to swallow my rage instead of snapping out my wrath.
I fell on You last night in the shower,
Crying that rage out through the sprays of tepid water.
I fell on You right after, as I was crawling into bed,
Puffy and exhausted, listening to Scripture instead.
I fell on You this morning, when I greeted the day in dismay,
Recognizing that the night’s slumber did nothing to take my pain away.
I fell on You in the afternoon as I struggled through my tasks,
Emotionally stumbling through the reminders of my past.
I fell on You this evening when I responded to a text,
Refusing to give credence to the lie that often came next.
That I am not seen, known, loved, or worthy.
That acceptance and belonging are both beyond me.
I just did something I didn’t think I could do.
I turned away from that nasty devil in me, by turning towards You.
I wrote this a few weeks ago in Dec (so technically still within my Days of Hope self-challenge) after being deeply triggered by a couple of events back to back. It's not what I normally do. I normally act out and become harsh with my family. It's not pretty, but it's the truth. I don't know what was so different about this moment, but I didn't want to react like that this time. Or, I should say I caught myself before I reacted. I wanted to do something new...handle my emotions in a different way...though I had no idea how.
I remember sitting on the couch, literally asking myself "so what should I do now?" It was more a prayer than anything else.
Gradually I began to think about how difficult it is for me to undertake something new when it comes to behavioral change (although I can easily point out how others need to change their behaviors). Can you relate? Why do we continue in our old ways, even with mounting evidence that what we've been doing is not working, or even healthy?
I have personally clung to unhealthy beliefs and behaviors as though they were lifelines, despite witnessing the slow unraveling of connection and confidence in the faces before me.
But that evening a few weeks ago I decided I was tired.
Tired of justifying my habitual B.S.
Tired of the way I so quickly turn to shame when I'm triggered, as if it were a friend.
Tired of dwelling in that place for days after, reliving the incident in my head.
Tired of telling myself I don't have to say I'm sorry because they should know...they should understand.
Tired of trying to make it up to the poor soul who encountered my unfair words.
Tired of doing the same but hoping for different.
So that evening I didn't react. I didn't lash out, despite feeling like I had the right to. Instead, I sat with the discomfort of my triggered emotions, went to bed with them, and arose with them the next day. And I learned something.
My emotions are not the boss of me. I don't have to engage my emotional triggers when they happen. I can give them space. Uncomfortable space, to be sure, but space nonetheless. And in that space, I can place some distance between the triggers and myself. I can pray them out, I can let them rest out of their tantrum, I can go about my day and come back to them when things are calmer and clearer. I can give them up, give them over.
I can do something different. I can change.