Leaving Apathy Behind
BY: KENDRA CAGLE
Getting caught up on the stress of life produces a wide range of terrible emotions. I get scared I'll never catch up. I get sad that I might never feel like I'm enough. But I think the worst thing I often feel in those moments is nothing.
Apathy is a frequent opponent of joy. It's also one of my favorite modes of survival. Just a few days ago, I noticed I get frustrated a lot less than I used to. I used to cry when my son woke me up at 3 a.m. for the third night in a row. I used to contemplate the meaning of my life and get a little snippy with God. At face value, the level of calm I've managed to reach seems like a positive change. However, after a few minutes of thought, I realized I hadn't matured in my ability to process. I had just stopped processing. Feeling got too hard — so, I switched to a "just do the thing and keep everyone alive" mode. I don't get mad/sad because I've stopped letting myself.
Apathy is dangerous. I've got all of my emotions sealed in a cookie jar shaped like the “world's okayest mom” but they still try to slip out. When emotion overflows, it's not joy that escapes. These negative feelings just steadily leak into my life. I'm not coping with them positively. I'm not giving the struggle to God. I'm just slowly poisoning my spirit with honest emotions that deserve and need to be dealt with.
Letting go and becoming vulnerable can be scary. I've got a life to handle, and I can't deal with it from a heap on the floor. But, lady, I have to. If, like me, you're just surviving, or you're saving those feels for when you have time, you're gonna end up being an over-filled cookie jar of emotion just like I am. You're stashing everything but the good, and you've gotta give all of that to God.
So, this holiday season, I vote we should let ourselves feel — and, as we work through each emotion, we pass them to our Heavenly Father. Let's do it! I'll be right there with you. I'm going to hand over these hurts hidden by apathy. I'm going to let God take them away because God always gives back when you let Him take your baggage. He leaves peace and joy in the place of pain. And, more than anything, I know we all need to feel a God-level surge of joy. Let's give God the gift of our open hearts, and see how He works in us.
As I pass through the next few weeks, know I'm praying for all of us. I'm believing we all have the courage to step out of apathy and give God the chance to fill our hearts, minds, and emotional cookie jars with His restorative and healing joy.
Kendra is a loving wife, tired mom, and lifelong preacher's kid. She currently resides with her family, 2 cats, and 1 dog in a little blue house in Oklahoma.