Friday Feels: May

I love Friday blogs! Friday Feels is my most favorite of all the post series I've started, and no matter how many times I write them, they never get old. I hope you guys like them as much as I do; they're always so much fun to write, especially because the feelings I use in the posts are so random.

I love the way using randomly chosen emotions (selected by this fun generator) enriches the process for me too, because it encourages me to look outside of the feelings I've already recognized, beyond easy things like "anger" or "sadness" or "amusement."

Sometimes it even means taking a few minutes to look below the surface, to find feelings I hadn't even realized I was dealing with yet - and the entire process is always incredibly therapeutic for me.

So without further ado, here's what I've been feeling in the last month:

1. Comfortable:
There's been a lot going on in my life lately, a lot of change that's in process - things I've been working on for a while, things which are moving forward with such impossible slowness that I almost can't feel the forward motion at all. And yet, there is momentum. My life is changing, morphing. And as the days pass, I'm constantly seeing places where God is working toward whatever He's sending me into, places where He catches me worrying and taps me on the shoulder to say, "Hey, chill out. It's gonna be fine." These moments remind me to be comfortable even in chaos, to be content even in crisis.

Which is nice because otherwise I'd likely be paralyzed by my anxiety over everything feeling like it's happening at once. I'd be too overwhelmed to move forward, too stuck to take steps. But finding even the smallest sense of comfort makes progress so much more possible. I'm thankful for it.

2. Distrustful:
As my life changes, I'm looking around with a more honest sense of openness, not only about myself and how I see things, but also about the people I've chosen to surround myself (and my daughters) with. Some of the people in my life are blessings - people who have gone out of their way to encourage and uplift me, who have made special effort to be there when I needed someone. People I trust.

I still have too many people in my daily life who are not encouragers, who are always looking for a fault or a failure - and those people never miss a chance to point out what they see wrong. These people are often completely two-faced; and the face they wear behind the safety of closed doors is often completely different from the one they show the rest of the world. These people make me less trusting in general - not only less trust in myself and my own value, but in the heart and honesty of others. They leave me with less faith in humanity. They steal my hope, weaken my resolve, and toxify my belief in the world's beauty.

Which is why I'm so incredibly grateful for that first group - the ones who love and appreciate others just as they are, who accept and encourage others to offer what they have rather than kicking them when they're down, who are patient enough to nurture others, allowing them to bloom in their own time.

3. Envious:
Envy is an ugly emotion, I think - it stems from comparison, which not only steals the joy out of what we have, but also stifles our ability to be happy for others.

That being said, I'm nowhere near perfect or peaceful enough to be immune from this emotion, and I feel it often. I envy people who go outside and get in their cars without praying that it'll still start. I envy mothers with healthy children. I envy healthy people in general, especially those with strong mental health - because they don't have the same challenges I have. Envy is something none of us are immune to, regardless of how strong our efforts toward contentment may be.

I envy the safe, because I have so rarely felt safe in my life. I envy the peaceful, because I have seen so much turmoil. And I envy the naive, because they maintain an innocence I lost before I even had a chance to recognize it.

4. Irate:
I pride myself on being an honest person, and I will go out of my way to offer compassion and understanding to others, even if I don't like them, even if they've wronged me. I don't need someone else to deserve kindness or honesty in order for me to offer it to them. One thing I've encountered all too often lately is people who should know me well enough to see that, and yet are unwilling to offer the same compassion to me. It's insulting and it's rude on its own - but when the people who behave that way go out in the world and call themselves Christians, it enrages the side of me that knows Jesus would be saddened by the association.

This is why it's so important to be careful with other people ... you can never really know the truth of what happens behind closed doors, and even with people as open as I am with their story, there's often so much more that isn't shared. My own life angers me, not so much for my own sake, but for those in similar circumstances.

5. Motivated:
My writing began when I was young - as a way to cope with circumstances I couldn't escape. I couldn't defend myself as a child. I couldn't protect the people I cared for, couldn't change anything. I was powerless, and I knew it.

In the years since, I've felt powerless more times than anyone should have to. I've struggled with the consequences of choices I shouldn't have made, but I've also struggled quite a lot with choices that I felt were taken from me or made without my consent. I've been trapped. I've felt imprisoned. Even as an adult, I've lived with the powerless feeling of being stuck in something I couldn't escape. Often, I actually still feel that way.

Which is why my writing has morphed into a motivation. Not only to change my own life, but to become something that can help change the lives of others. I want to be a voice for abuse sufferers, an encouragement to those still finding their way from victim to survivor. I want to be a shelter for the displaced, and provide hope for the many who are unable to find help.

6. Nourished:
So many parts of my life are broken right now. Both of my daughters are dealing with potentially serious medical issues and so am I. All of us have various mental health issues too, and between the three of us, we're in and out of doctor's offices at least twice a week. We juggle almost 20 daily prescriptions.

And as I struggle to put all the pieces back together, sometimes I feel almost literally starved for compassionate understanding. And that's when certain people in my life always just seem to know they're needed. It's when:
  • my amazing assistant will check on me during the day, unexpectedly offering some nugget of encouragement. She reminds me that I am cared for.
  • my friend (and now sort of business partner) will get in touch with me for an unexpected chat, always full of positivity, opportunity, and great ideas. She reminds me of my potential. 
  • my cousin will call - and no matter how hard I'm trying to hold everything together, she just knows what's up. I can't even say how many times I've answered a call from her with, "Hello?" and had her respond immediately with, "Why are you crying?" She never fails to remind me that I am understood, and I am not alone.

7. Passionate:
The things going on in my life have continued to foster and strengthen the passions driving my dreams. I want to write - and I want my writing to impact the lives of others. I want to speak - and I want my voice to inspire others to find their own. I want to heal - and I want to guide others by sharing what works for me.

This sense of purpose is driven even harder by the desire to give a better life to my daughters than the one I have lived, the desperate need to see a better world for them, with more opportunities than I had, more open doors. It's why I get out of bed every day ... because if I let go of my dreams, how can I honestly encourage my children to follow theirs?

8. Playful:
The impending move has given my girls and I a little excitement we didn't really have before - it's put a little more pep in our step, I guess. We've been having really fun conversations about what we want our new place to look like, what we want it to feel like, and how we plan to create what we want. There have obviously been lots of serious talks, because this move is a big deal for us - but there has also been a lot of joking and play. Nervous as we are, we're really looking forward to the coming changes.

9. Serene:
I can't say I've felt very much of this particular emotion in the last month. Joey's health is getting a little more challenging, Eden's had a few minor complications, and my own health is ... well, it's doing what it's doing. My mother spent almost a week in the hospital, spent another full week having some kind of nervous breakdown. And there's moving stuff added in there too - and while the move is exciting for the girls and I as a family, it's also pretty nerve-wracking for me, considering everything I'm juggling.

Still ... I have had moments of serenity, moments when I can just rest in the faith that it's all going to work out just in time - because while God is frustratingly never early, He is also reassuringly never late. This, in spite of everything else, gives me comfort.

10. Vulnerable:
What makes me feel most vulnerable? This. Mustering up the courage to come and be authentic here with you. Blogging - sharing my life and my experiences, in spite of people who come against me, people who don't believe in me, and people who are watching, waiting for me to fail.

But in that vulnerability, I find the knowledge that in sharing, I give someone else companionship I have so longed for. And in my own willingness to be openly weak and broken, I can show others that even a mess can be beautiful. In sharing my own hope, I hope to help others remember theirs too.

What have you been feeling lately - and why? I'd love for you to share with me!

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