Written by Kaylee Page
He’s driving me crazy! My friend’s voice proclaimed over the phone as I pulled into a parking lot and brought the car to park right outside the front of a 7-Eleven.
I listened to my friend explain how her first-born little girl had been so easy because she would just play by herself, but her second born was a little bit needy and would just haaaaaang on her.
My first reaction was to laugh because I knew the feeling all too well.
It’s our basic human desire to have two things, I said to my friend — to be intricately connected BUT ALSO, completely and totally free. I think, in some weird way, the fact that you get annoyed when he is climbing all over you is simply a truth that God made your body one hundred percent whole without another little being. Your little guy wants connection. You being annoyed is just one truth. The other truth is that you do love him and you do want connection. There are two truths sitting together in the same room. So maybe you just say: I see your annoyance. Thank you for telling me I DON’T NEED another human being to complete me. Thank you for that truth – now please go take a seat somewhere else while I lean in and hug and enjoy this little moment of physical touch with my son.
Kaylee, you always wear your heart on your sleeve, a high school teacher once told me when I was disappointed I didn’t make the cut for an upcoming competition. I felt embarrassed and ashamed of my heart as soon as she said the words. It was then I assumed feelings were something to hide and my heart was not to be shared with anyone.
And so, years later when I heard someone say, I’m trying to live a life led by faith and not feelings it sounded noble. Like maybe that was the “right way to live.” I felt a deeper nudge to hide even further; convinced that to honor God was to hide my voice and how I felt – to just follow the rules and do what I was told.
I believed feelings were a sign of weakness.
But slowly, God has invited me to see feelings differently. The past few years my counselor, Doc, would always ask how I felt about whatever it was we were talking about, and he always used those feelings to help me better understand who I was and what I was wanting and desiring in my relationships.
Thing is, I was never scared of the happy feelings.
I was petrified of the not-so-happy feelings.
Feelings like grief, anger, fear, annoyance – they all were feelings I tried to push aside. I was convinced Christians were always supposed to be happy, always thankful even in the losing, never angry and never annoyed.
But grief tells us we lost something that meant something to us.
Fear tells us that something we have means a lot and we don’t want to lose it.
Anger tells us we got hurt and the reason we feel hurt is because we value ourselves.
I started to see the feelings I had run from for so many years were actually a gift; that God gives us the not-so-happy feelings to reveal deeper truths.
What would happen if we started honoring our feelings, listening to them and letting them inform and guide us? What if instead of running or hiding from them we used them as a tool to help us lean into our relationships with deeper understanding and connection?
Kaylee Page is author of the children’s book, Pursey’s FPIES Surprise. She is a featured blogger at the International FPIES Association (I-FPIES), where she also sits on the advisory board. She was a guest blogger at Plywood People, and her essay “Stillness in the Shadow” can be found in It’s a Good Thing Children Are a Treasure: They’ve Broken All My Other Ones.
Post-graduation, Kaylee spent 10.5 months in AmeriCorps aiding those affected by natural disasters at the Red Cross Greater Carolinas Chapter. Upon returning to the midwest she worked as Project Manager for C2 Media Productions producing curriculums for Zondervan Publishing. She later joined the team at Pomegranate Studios working on projects such as ArtPrize and 5×5 Night. She’s currently Project Manager at Start Garden, helping to build the start-up ecosystem in the Midwest region.
Stop by to visit Kaylee at www.kayleepage.com.