When you don’t feel what you know

July 11, 2021

“I’m lost” – Stitch, from the movie, Lilo & Stitch.

Oh little Stitch… sitting alone in the woods crying, I feel you. It was at this moment in the movie (Lilo&Stitch) that all of our hearts broke when we watched it. When Stitch goes to sit in the middle of the woods with the ugly duckling book crying, “I’m lost”.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWqw2geXTUI

I sat the other night in a whirlwind of emotions, wondering what I could draw that would actually represent how I felt. I didn’t really “feel” like creating anything to be honest, but I knew I had to. Art-making truly is a way to process how we feel and man, I was feeling a lot. Suddenly the above-mentioned scene from Lilo and Stitch came to mind. I know right, of all movies!

Stitch realized that though he loved the family he was part of, he didn’t quite belong. They loved him and cared for him, but he didn’t know what to do with it. A little alien that was created in a lab could relate to the deep sense of wanting to belong. Have you ever felt like you didn’t quite belong anywhere? Misunderstood? Lost?

For me, this has been something that has really been amplified during the whole pandemic lockdowns. Belonging, loneliness, isolation, strained relationships, all the “fun” stuff. I’ve been camping in that space off and on in this season, and this past week was probably the worst I’ve ever experienced it. I’ve felt like Stitch. I have wanted to just run off, go sit in the woods and cry and wait for someone to find me.

I know the beautiful Christian answer here is that Jesus always find us, and when He does everything is made whole. And yes, I totally agree. I will yes and amen that every day of the week, because it is absolutely true! The thing is though, it isn’t always one clean swoop and everything is all better. Sometimes there is process involved. Sometimes it’s incredibly unglamorous and requires the not-so-fun stuff like discipline. We think that we can pray a prayer and everything is fixed… and yes, that happens. God can do it in a moment. There are times though, that God will intentionally take the long road with us. There are things you will see and get to know about him along that road, that you would miss out on if you took the quick way.

It’s like traveling by plane vs by car. Traveling with a plane gets you places faster and gives you a beautiful aerial view. You can see far and wide. You’re not really sure what you’re traveling over, or where exactly you are at any given point on the flight, but it’s pretty and you know you’re going to get where you’re going in the fastest possible manner. It’s not really about the details, more about the destination. Traveling by car though takes longer, often costs more and statistically there is more risk involved. But when you travel by car, you don’t just see the towns you travel through, you experience them. You can stop, explore, meet new people, sit down for lunch and make every stop an experience. This way of traveling is more about the journey, than the destination. They both get you to where you’re going, but the experiences are immensely different. God is into both. We just tend to show-off the one over the other sometimes. Whatever route He has us on, the Good Shepherd always finds us.

There is a paradox I’ve been battling with though, one that I have battled with many times in my life. The tension between feeling what you feel, and knowing what you know.

Sometimes you can still have the feeling of being incredibly lost, but also have the KNOWING that YOU ARE FOUND, YOU BELONG AND THAT YOU ARE NEVER EVER ALONE. The head says one thing, and the heart says another.

Feelings are powerful, but not always accurate. When you’re an “overly” emotional and sensitive person like me, the smallest scrape can feel like you’re losing a limb, so it’s very easy for me to be guided by my emotions, rather than the Truth.

These aches and battles FEEL like they are part of my shadow, but I KNOW they are not. It FEELS like I’m just an anxious mess, but I KNOW that God is my source of peace, I FEEL like I am blowing around in the wind, nowhere to belong, but I KNOW that I am safely in His hands. The feeling vs the knowing. When someone asks me if I’m good, I want to say no, because I don’t FEEL good, but I KNOW that I am.

My fellow sensitive ones, our feelings are so valuable, and they matter, but man we have to know that they don’t always show the truth. They might show A TRUTH, but not THE truth. And it’s important to pitch your tent in the right camp.

My tent has been blowing from camp to camp, moment by moment. And I’ve found it difficult to really find my grounding. It’s been messy. It’s been hard. And sometimes I’ve needed to drag the flat, wind-blown tent back to where it belongs when I just wanted to leave it and sit with Stitch in the woods.

This is where those unglamorous things come into play. Dragging my tent to pitch it in the right camp has looked like forcing myself to get out of bed when I could easily just stay there, because what does it matter. It’s not like anyone is here to check up that I do. It’s been forcing myself to eat a carrot when I’ve just wanted to eat every feeling I have in the form of copious amounts of sugar, even though it will never fix anything. It’s been putting my tekkies on with tears in my eyes because I don’t want to go for the walk that I know will make me feel better.

Being found requires action. Movement. Leading your heart, and not passively letting it wander. Have I done this flawlessly? Not at all. My heart has wandered, my mind too for that matter. I’ve ended up in a dark hole that I hadn’t been in for quite some time and have needed to be intentional with turning around and marching out. That’s why I know… The wandering amplifies every negative emotion, when being connected to the Father, soothes it and offers relief.

I wish I was writing this at the end of the battle with the victory testimony and a list of how-to’s for success. But alas, I’m still in the battle with you. So that is my offering to you today… you are not alone. If you’ve felt like you’re battling to reconcile the truth of what you know vs the truth of what you feel, rest assured my friend, you are not the only one there. And the One that can offer help, is right there with us.

My prayer the last few days have been simply this: “Jesus, please don’t leave me.” A silly prayer some might say, they might even respond with: “of course He won’t”. Yes yes, I know. This Jesus of ours is far too good and kind to ever do that. But that has been the cry of my heart. And so my heart will cry it endlessly, until the cry changes, and then that will become our prayer… and so it will go, until the seasons change once again.

I take courage from these inspiring words

“As far as I know the Father has never been overwhelmed by anything. Jesus is undefeated, and the Holy Spirit always leads us in triumph. All those three characters are on the inside of you, so the truth is we are condemned to victory!”

GRAHAM COOKE

Things can’t help but work out for those of us who believe (Rom. 8:28). Even Stitch found his family, his place of belonging by the end of the story. “Ohana means family, and family means no one gets left behind or forgotten” … that counts for you and me too.

How are you managing in this season? Where is your heart at and what is the Lord whispering in your ear during times that seem to be ever-changing? Feel free to share in the comments below.

One Response

  1. I really relate to how you are feeling, and as a Christian there is often confusion, as you know the Jesus is always there and then you start doubting yourself because you have all these feelings and they are real. However you think you are failing as you think that you shouldn’t be feeling like this. Thank you for showing me its ok to feel lost ❤

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