Give yourself space to sit with it

My wife and I just did something tough. Don’t worry, it’s not detrimental or fatal— everyone’s fine healthy, and together. It was regarding our daughter and her school and possibly having to switch schools mid-year as a kindergartner.

Ugh… The anxiety of a parent is unceasing.

We really thought she was in the right place. During her short five years on this planet, we’ve moved her so much from town to town and from school to school. We wanted this school to be the one she could stay at for a long time. We saw her growing roots and finding friends and all the good things.

And we really like the people there. The founder’s heart is in the right place. But it just hasn’t been a great fit. It’s a great school, just maybe not… for her. And so, here we go, looking to uproot her again.

She’s resilient. She’s kinda looking forward to a move (though it’s hard to say). But were we throwing in the towel too soon? Should she (and us) learn resilience by sticking it out? Was this decision fear-based or faith-based?

Right when I pressed ‘send’ on a very pivotal email in the process, all the emotions rolled in.

As good as we felt about this decision to make a switch, I also felt… Sad. And nervous. And guilty. And confused.

I hate change. I hate conflict. And this move brought an intensity of both.

Immediately, I wanted to distract myself.

Reach for the phone. Jump into those emails that have been sitting there. Check the Instagram feed. Anything but feel this…

(And my story here is mild — think about the really heavy stuff that befalls us in life. The temptation to distract ourselves from our emotions are all the more present in the midst of great external turmoil and upheaval.)

I had to be with this as it moved through. I had to head into the inner desert and sit there for a while.

I resisted the urge to grab the phone and instead, I laid on the sofa and tried to let go of trying to figure it out. Instead, I just let it all show up — any emotion was welcome.

It was so uncomfortable, but oh so necessary.

How often do we do this? I sure don’t do it enough. Our modern world is wrought with so many distractions.

That thing in your pocket has an endless number of seemingly urgent things to easily address and resolve rather than tending to the swirling energies of your emotional landscape in the moment.

We don’t give ourselves time to just… sit. To rewind through our day — through our week or year — and process what we’ve been too distracted and busy to process. To tie up whatever loose ends lie unattended to and release to God what needs to be released.

Please, give that time to yourself. Yes, you’ll want to fill it instead with screen time or addressing the extraneous drama of the moment that fills your need to be busy. So be kind to yourself if you give in to these temptations. But it’s worth the emotional labor to resist checking off those boxes and tending to those notifications so you can just sit with the stuff swirling around in your belly.

On the other end is a nice, deep breath that cleanses the soul and brings new life.