I hate crying.
I hate crying in front of people.
I hate the way my face scrunches up into a wrinkly, snotty, teary, hot mess. I hate how vulnerable I become. I hate being exposed.
I got a phone call earlier this week. A friend wanted to “talk”. As I hung up the phone, a sense of dread entered the deep crevices of my soul. My emotional well-being was being jolted out of its recent apathetic coma and I knew I’d end our meeting in one of two ways: storming out of the room or bursting into tears.
Since I’m not one to shy away from conflict (or conflicting emotions), I defaulted to the latter.
As my friend lovingly spoke pride-crushing truth into my heart, God quickly humbled me into a guilty pulp. My emotions slowly gathered in a tight ball underneath my rapidly beating chest. I tried to swallow the swell, but it kept creeping higher and higher, until my eyeballs burst with burning tears.
Immediately, my self consciousness kicked in and I quietly willed myself to stop, but instead of ceasing, my crying got worse. I became an emotional wreck, purging all the emotion that I’ve held inside these past few weeks: pain, frustration, heartbreak, confusion, sadness. I had been stashing these feelings in an emotional closet, trying to ignore them and, obviously, failing.
Eventually, my tears dried up and I was left with another emotion – peace.
After weeks of trying to hide my feelings, attempting to adopt a state of complete apathy, I was forced to face my emotions head-on and was left with a surprising amount of peace. While I was embarrassing myself with a (somewhat) inappropriate emotional response to a small conflict, I realized that my emotional release was exquisite, humiliating, and necessary.
In the aftermath of my emotional purge, I realized that I haven’t been allowing myself to feel. Crying is ugly and expressing emotions can be terrifying, especially sharing those emotions with another person, however restricting my heart from feeling is unhealthy and not the way God created us.
God created us to feel for a reason.
God created us to express our emotions in a healthy way, not bottling them up and storing them until they explode. Part of this is accepting emotions as they come and not being scared of sharing them with others, or with God Himself.
I’ve tried to keep it all together. I’ve tried holding it all in, proudly wearing a mask to cover my sadness and confusion and frustration. I’ve tried and realized that it simply doesn’t work.
God’s grace covers my fear of vulnerability and only with His help am I able to appreciate a good cry.