When Your Emotions Are a Little Tricky to Navigate
There is one question I have received a zillion times this summer:
“Are you excited to go back to DC?”
The poor people who ask me that are probably just hoping for a quick answer: “Yes, so excited, thanks for asking!” and for the conversation to move forward. But it’s actually been incredibly difficult for me to answer, and, depending on the asker and how much time they have, it often leads to a 10-minute exposition of my emotional state (which also shifts depending on the time of day/week/my level of hunger, etc.) And it usually ends with me saying, “Sorry for the long answer to the short question!”
But this week, a friend listened so generously and thoughtfully to my response, and when I was finished she said, “Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Have you heard about parts theory?”
The basic premise of this psychological theory is that we hold different parts within ourselves – many prominent Catholic therapists also speak about it at length (see Dr. Peter Malinowski who has 100+ podcast episodes on the subject and Dr. Bob Schutes who has also shared his experience on his podcast). For example, one “part” of me can be excited to go back to DC, a city I love filled with people I love, while another “part” of me is mourning the life I lived in NYC and the freedom of being in school.
We are often wary of complexity and contradiction; we crave simplicity, even when we know that life is anything but simple. But in every change, it’s very unlikely that we’re feeling 100% excited or 100% ready – there are often parts of us that also feel nervous or uncertain or sad or maybe even a little afraid.
And so I’ve come to a new peace with my answer: Yes, I am so excited to return to a city that I love. I’m ready to get back to work, and looking forward to the new people and challenges that await me there. But I’m also a little uncertain about what my life will look like, even though I trust that God has prepared the way for me and that He will provide everything that I need. I’m sad that I will watch movies about New York City and not be a stone’s throw from the shooting location. I’m mourning that I won’t be seeing my friends six times a week, working on group projects late into the night, and hitting K-town for karaoke after a happy hour. I’ll miss my summer in California, getting abundant quality time with my family and catching up with friends who I hadn’t seen in years. But I’m also excited for what’s to come. As Kacey Musgraves said best, I’m happy and sad at the same time.
Jesus offers us a beautiful example of this: in the Garden of Gethsemane, He prays, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me” but then follows up with “yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39) Jesus trusts the Father and desires to do His perfect will YET He also experiences the fear and agony of knowing what He is about to endure.
We can trust God, and still hold fear (even though He tells us 365+ times not to be afraid in scripture). If we ignore our fear, our sadness, and our apprehension, we are holding ourselves back from a true relationship with Him. If we don’t give Him everything, how can we expect Him to heal us? Honesty in prayer was one of the hardest things for me to learn, but since I’ve taken off the masks of striving and perfectionism, God has been able to heal me in ways I never imagined.
I don’t know what transition or change you’re walking through right now, but I know that there is always something. Take this as your permission to acknowledge those different parts of yourself that make you who you are – and invite Jesus in to heal any fear, anxiety, and worry. Please know of my prayers for you, and please pray for me!
What we’re loving lately:
Podcast Episode 81: Self Control with Bridget Handy | Fruit of the Spirit Series
- My girl Bridget is back on the podcast and we’re talking about everyone’s favorite fruit: self-control! We discuss sobriety, friendship, discipline, freedom, vulnerability, avoiding “perception management” living and so much more. Enjoy this next episode in our Fruit of the Spirit Series! Tune in here on Apple Podcasts and Spotify!
Sound of Freedom movie
- I finally saw the Sound of Freedom movie last night, and just… wow. If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend it. They are giving out free tickets and you can get them here!
Summer book recs!
- As my summer swiftly comes to an end, I thought I would share some of the books I’ve absolutely been devouring recently:
o The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis: This is the first in the Chronicles of Narnia series and it was SO good. I read in a couple of hours! Excited to move on to the next in the series.
o The Last to Vanish by Megan Miranda: A classic thriller that takes place in a mountain town, following the disappearances of six visitors. Another speedy read!
o Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt: A super cute story about an aquarium worker who develops an unlikely friendship with an octopus, who is a great narrator and who also helps solve a mystery that occurred in the worker’s past! Cute and lovely.
o Let this also be my shout-out to book boxes – I got all of the above books in book boxes around my neighborhood! I am a massive fan 🙂 And let me know what you’re reading by responding to this email!
- For a special intention
- For my friend Emma who is getting married this weekend! Yay!
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Jane was born in Australia, raised in California, and is overjoyed to now call NYC home. She graduated from UCSB with degrees in Political Science and Communication and spent the past two years working in criminal justice reform. She is currently an MBA student at NYU Stern, focusing on entrepreneurship and strategy.