Mountain views, reading, rest, deep and emotional talks with safe women, and Hot Yoga.
Those were the few things on my list as I soaked up the anticipation of a three-day weekend away with my girlfriends. I decided I didn’t want to over plan or put too many things on my list because this weekend is all about refreshing myself in the practice of Sabbath.
Some sabbath’s are a few hours, some are a whole day, and sometimes, they are long enough to really lean into, letting God create something new, and feeling the peace of it all.
The first night together, we had a few glasses of wine, and the heart to heart words started flowing.
A trickle at first, and then a flood.
As the walls and insecurities melted away, and the hearts were revealed, I realized something.
I was angry.
For so many months it had been stewing in me, but I didn’t even know it.
As a three on the Enneagram, I am learning that it is common for me to hide and mask my feelings. I value success and image and having it all together, and the negative side is that often it is quite difficult for me to just let my emotions run wild.
It’s too unpredictable and distracting.
However, this night, the words and tears flowed out of me in uncontrolled waves. My emotions were not safe, or polished, or wrapped up with a nice “moral of the story” kind of bow.
They were just ugly. Period.
Night two most ladies went to bed early and it was just me and one of my closest friends chatting into the night. The snow had begun to fall, and our hearts were open and bare.
I shared with my friend that I was feeling very angry, but I wasn’t sure why.
The next morning, a few of us had a nice slow morning with lots of coffee and then headed to Hot Yoga.
I pushed my body through the paces, resting when I needed to, the towel beneath me soaking up all of the toxic sweat that had begun seeping out of every pore.
I took my thoughts captive and demanded they stay focused on my deep breaths and every muscle I was engaging.
By the time we got to the meditation, I sat breathing deep and thanking Jesus for his deep love for me, even when I was messy and imperfect reflection of Him.
We began to slow down, laying on our backs, eyes closed, sweat covering every single part of my body.
As we rested back into Savasana (laying flat on your back completely relaxed) I felt the strong swelling of emotion rising up from my rest.
This isn’t how this is supposed to look, I told myself.
This is supposed to be the part when you smile, feeling successful in your practice, congratulating yourself for a job well done.
This is where I get to say, “I did it!” with joy.
But I was so very sad.
I bit the inside of my lip, forcing the pain in my heart to refocus to a physical pain in my mouth.
Suddenly, it occurred to me that this is something I practice often. I have ridges on the inside of mouth, callouses from years of biting down in pain…I don’t know where it started, but the evidence of a long standing coping mechanism was revealed to me as I ran my tongue over the two spots.
The instructor was reading something about kindness and love, all I could think was that I needed to show myself the kindness and love that I so desperately needed so that I could actually allow the emotion to flow out of me.
Eyes closed, tears began to roll down my cheeks, and when I found my fear rising, wondering if others were seeing me fall apart, I chose instead to focus on kindness to myself and letting my tears fall. Besides, they mixed so easily with my copious amounts of sweat, who would even know the difference.
These verses flowed through my mind:
Psalm 56 The Voice
Vs 3 “When struck by fear, I let go, depending securely upon you alone.”
Vs 8: You’ve kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights,
Each tear entered in your ledger, each ache written in your book.
As I cried and sweated, I felt toxicity leaving my body.
I was finding what I was so very desperate for here this weekend.
The kind of rest it seems I was needing was like taking a deep breath and letting an ugly exhale of messy junk flow out of me.
No mask. No fear. No holding back.
Just acknowledging my anger, my fear, my hurt and leaving it behind. I needed to let it all come out. Through every single pore on my body.
The melting anger and fear was giving way to peace.
And that peace, just maybe, might help me find my way back to joy.
As I picked up my towel and rolled up my mat, I was shocked to see how drenched it was. That towel had absorbed every bit of toxic sludge that had come out of me.
I almost laughed as I realized it was white. The parallel to a spotless lamb, absorbing the sins of the world was not lost on me. You couldn’t see my sweat, it was completely absorbed and yet, still white.
It had done it’s job. It had allowed me to let it all go. Tears, sweat, snot, pain, anger, fear.
What kind of things might you be holding onto today?
What pains and aches, callouses and wounds do you have in your body? It might be an outward sign of an inward struggle.
Maybe you are like me and need to feel it. Let it all come out, pouring out from every piece of you in a safe place so that you can find your peace and joy again?
Maybe for you it isn’t a weekend away in the mountains or a yoga class. Maybe it’s pouring your heart out in journal? Perhaps it’s a counselling appointment. Or maybe it looks like a walk in the woods alone, or just spending 30 min, slow and quiet with Jesus.
Whatever it might be for you, I encourage you to allow yourself to ask God the hard question:
Show me what I need to let go of.
And then find a way to let Him help you do it. Feel it. Express it. And let the perfect and spotless person of Jesus absorb everything away from you and allow His new creation life to begin building something new in your heart.