The Safest Space
One of my favorite things about God is my ability to be completely honest. As someone who has struggled with rage in the past and who deeply regrets wounding people out of my own wounds, I’m thankful to have a place where I don’t have to watch my words.
Working with kids, at different stages there’s different ways you help them process their emotions. One of the most common reflexes kids can have when they are feeling something they don’t like and can’t express is to kick or swat. As the adult it’s my job to let them know it’s ok to be angry or sad, but we don’t use our bodies to express anger in a way that can hurt people. The way we communicate this and draw boundaries is different at different ages.
The most taxing age can be the toddler age because they just don’t have tools to communicate what they’re feeling and just aren’t able to know how to regulate their emotions because of brain development. And it’s our job to help them in this process.
There are lots of deep breaths involved, not only for them but for me and there are days when staying calm and making good decisions is exhausting. It’s rewarding and amazing, but more exhausting that a 5 hour hike.
When it comes to my relationship with God, I’m thankful that when my natural response is that of a toddler, I don’t have t
o think about how to healthily express my emotions. I can be fully honest without worrying about hurting the feelings of The One Who Loves Me Most.
My husband, Chris, and I had talked about this when we first met and both loved that we had a safe place in Th
e Creator, but the first time he heard how I talk to God when I’m struggling.. haha he was shocked.
It was a moment of deep pain that God could have stopped and intervened and protected. As we rode in the car and I unleashed all my heart was feeling and my anger at The One Who Loves Me Most, my husband was in the driver’s seat quietly lifting up prayers like “she doesn’t mean that, God.” Afterwards when he and I talked about it I assured Chris I meant every word. God already knew what was in my heart so I believe to try and pretty it up would be pretense and offensive.
Just like adults can create safe spaces for toddlers to feel all their feels, God provides that safe space for us, only better. Because as adults we have the ability to process things afterwards that a toddler doesn’t. So in the moment, God doesn’t need to help us regulate and learn how to express ourselves in a healthy way. And God is so loving and strong our anger isn’t disrespect but rather the an expression of complete trust.
As I write this I think of times the kids I take care of have been angry at me and I love when they feel safe enough to tell me. It’s so honoring to know the little ones I love know I love them and their actions will never change that.
And sometimes in these moments I apologize because I was wrong and I work to make it right. Other times they’re angry for a boundary I must enforce because it is what’s best for them, and I do my best to convey that. And the beautiful thing is, when they trust me, even if they don’t agree with my decisions in the moment, the relationship is strengthened because love is expressed.
How much more is our relationship with God strengthened when we are honest with him about what we’re feeling in our heart?
This morning my reading for Lent talked about the messy lieage Jesus was born into and how no matter what state my life is in, God can bring something good. Sometimes that means circumstances change. Sometimes its ‘s peace in the pain. But it’s always the ability to be completely honest knowing I’m safe in the presence of El Roi, The God Who Sees Me.
If you find yourself reading this today, I’m praying that you find what your soul is craving in the presence of The One Who Loves You Most.