I am quite possibly the most emotional person many of my friends have ever encountered. We've talked about this before, I'm sure. I cry at the drop of a hat: when I'm happy, sad, frustrated, tired, freaking-so-excited-I-don't-know-what-else-to-do-but-cry. You know, all the usual reasons. But for someone who is so in tune with their emotions, I've been having a hard time grasping a particular concept.
That you can have more than one emotion at a time.
Every time I go into counseling, my sweet and precious counselor friend hands me this dreaded piece of paper covered in simply drawn emojis. There are at least 30 of them all staring back at me with different facial expressions, such as, angry, frustrated, disappointed, hurt, vulnerable, excited, content, etc, etc. and I just want to make all those faces back at them as they mock me. She makes me circle all of the faces that I am feeling at that time and I always sit and grumble and ask her if I have to. I think I hate this activity for two reasons:
1) Because I am an overall positive and upbeat person, it is not always fun to admit when I'm frustrated, disappointed, sad, whatever.
2) Because I am an overall positive and upbeat person, I have a hard time understanding how I can be happy, plus all of the other negative emotions at the same time.
My complex personality apparently just wants things to be simple when it comes to how I feel. I just want to be happy. Or I just want to be sad. Or I just want to be excited in each moment. I don't want to be 17 different things, because this makes one feel cray-cray and no one likes a cray-cray. But recently, my sweet counselor friend looked at me and said, "it's okay to be excited and sad at the same time, Katie." Chances are she's said this to me a bajillion times before, but for whatever reason, it clicked this time. Ah-ha. Finally.
It seems that lately I've been in a constant state of excitement and sadness. Ugh, and it's the worst. Can't I just be constantly excited for everyone and everything around me?! What's the deal, here? Well, the deal is that it's hard to be 100% excited when you feel like you're being left behind. It's hard to not be a titch sad when you feel like you're standing still, being left to inhale everyone else's dust as they take off running.
Now hear me clearly when I say that I live a very full, busy, and rewarding life. I am constantly running around like a chicken with my head cut off (I have never known anything different) and I love keeping my plate full of activities and friends. In a sense I, too, am definitely kicking up dust in folks' faces like my feet are on fire. But guess what dust I'm not kicking around? The dust of moving forward in a new stage of life. You know the stage I'm talking about. The stage that all of us 20-somethings desire at some point. The stage of finding that person to do the full, busy, and rewarding life with.
All around me, my fabulous and great and beautiful friends are entering new relationships, getting engaged, making big life decisions with their significant others because that is the direction life is moving, and I'm all back here like, "hey guys, I'll just be here hanging out with George the Beagle!" At least he's dang cute, right? And while I squeal when they squeal about new and exciting plans and cry tears of happiness when they cry tears of happiness over their new fiance, there is still an underlying nagging of feeling like I'm standing still in the dust.
Thankfully, though, peace always sets in eventually. Peace floods in and drowns out those nagging feelings of bitterness and frustration. Prayer is my constant crutch to move forward through the muddy waters of emotions, knowing good and well that God makes no mistakes and His timing is greater than the timing my little, impatient heart conjures up. And I remember that it is commanded that, if we hope for what we do not yet have, we are to do so patiently (Romans 8:25). And I do not always do this gracefully, (just ask my parents), but I try my best to circle back around to God's promises. Life is full, exciting
, and confusing in the land of 20-somethings.
So if you're reading this and you've related to it in any way, maybe not about relationships, but about a multitude of other life stages, know that you aren't alone. Know that God hears your cries and knows your heart and He's got a better plan in mind. Try to hope for what you do not yet have patiently and cling to His promises. Stand in the dust with a joyful heart and know that yours is coming and when it arrives it will be beautiful.