Over the last couple of decades I felt like I was constantly fighting for Joy, I wanted her to win. I wan’t everything to be good all the time and to only see the happy bright moments. I want to let her light just lay all over me and breathe in her excitement. I’d like to have my day planned out, my lists completed, my home all organized and my children well educated. I want to walk around my house with nothing to do because I’m fully capable of completing life by 4pm and then it’s time to be fashionably cute on the couch with my kids.

This is not how it looks in my real life. Every time I get something on that blessed list accomplished I am also writing down at least one more thing. I get a call from someone I love who needs me or one of my children can’t quite get the hang of this new math concept and I have to spend an hour on YouTube till we figure it out. God bless YouTube. There was one whole year of my homeschooling career when my children were asked where they attended school they would tell people, “we go to YouTube school” I had to quickly add, “we homeschool and use YouTube to help them learn new concepts in fun ways”. The looks on people’s faces would go from a look of disgust to understanding quickly enough that I didn’t walk away feeling like they might call DHS and report that I am that homeschool parent, that is saying she is educating her children while eating bonbons and letting her kids surf the internet all day.

There are times though when I can’t seam to find Joy, I look and look but I can’t see her. It’s like she has taken vacation without a formal written notice and I get lost without her.  Fear, Anger and Disgust get all suited up and want to help me in her absence so they jump right in and drive the streets of my day.

As they drive me around life happens. Lies and toxic thoughts cross our path and everyone freaks out. It’s like a road block that I can’t move around or climb over. So instead of taking it apart and understanding the lies it is made up of Fear takes over entirely. I don’t know if I let Fear take over but she sure does tend to be the first in a line of many emotions that line up to run the show.

I am learning what Fear is really here for and it’s not to run my day. When I come to a toxic thought that needs to be taken apart into many peaces that I can address individually I tend to get scared by the size and Fear has me hiding under the covers till I have backed up far enough that I am “safe”.

Once I am at a safe distance anger likes to show his fiery self and all hell brakes loose. I truly believe that I have a choice to live a life right now that is full of beauty and love, heaven here in this space or I can live in hell on earth. It’s not that there won’t be rough things in life or that I can get out of painful experiences just by choosing the right path. I believe that through all things I am being held. Held by the one who created me and I can either choose to curl up and be safe in his arms or I can choose to leave that comfort for the hell in front of me. When Christ came to earth and offered us a new way of thinking about God his life reflected a choice to choose love. He was persecuted and hated, he was beaten and died at the hands of people who chose the hell they where used to over the love being offered to them because it was too new and too scary.

When Anger takes over I give up. I know Disgust is next and not so patiently waiting for her turn at the wheal. I can’t function when Fear has my heart and Anger has my head. It’s like I am hiding in a corner while my ninja guard dog is fighting and attacking my enemy. Only in this case I am also the enemy because it is my own mind I am scared of. I am scared by what I don’t understand.

Currently I am running back and forth between emotions because I am trying to become something new. I am working on letting myself become who I was created to be instead of who I have become by default.

Here is what’s going on in my head.

I start out a typical day alone on my couch reading. Currently I am reading Rob Bell’s Tumbler blog “What is the Bible”. It’s a 72 part history lesson on the Bible and what was taking place when it was being written. I find it fascinating and feel like I could totally take on life. Then I write, I workout and I look over my list of what needs to be done. This is where I tend to see that big black toxic thought. If it’s going to show up it shows up right about the time that my coffee is gone, my stomach is growling and the family is waking up. Once I have seen the lie that I am not smart enough to get this right and accomplish what is ahead of me, Fear gets ahold of my heart and we start the slow even steps backwards so we don’t get the lie all defensive. Then like a ninja my guard dog shows up all angry and ruins every bit of running away quietly I was hoping for. He starts barking and growling at anything that moves. Everything including the kitchen sink (thats not a joke I have yelled out loud at my kitchen sink) is going to get barked at if it startles me. While I am all hunched down hiding with my Fear, and Anger is doing his thing, Discuss likes to stand there up against the wall of my heart. She likes to remind me that we are here again and that it’s just pathetic. “Its just exhausting to be here again” she says, “can’t we move on already?” Then we move on to berating every detail about my existence except of the one that is standing in my way.

Oh Sadness, she comes in like a warm blanket and soothes me into my heart wrenching bed of confusion and pain. I have always welcomed Sadness but kinda hated her for as long as I can remember. She has a tendency to calm everything down though so I lay there mourning the loss of the day, mourning the loss of a moment to conquer that toxic thought of inadequacy. I had it in my power to focus on what I could do, to focus on bit by bit until my day was over and full of small accomplishments. I ran and hid out with Fear however and now instead of falling asleep with Joy, I am falling asleep with Sadness hoping she is gone in the morning.

This is not my every day but it is more of them then I care to admit. Some days I wake up with Joy, tell Fear to calm herself down I am not in danger, Anger stays in bed and Sadness stands close by because lets face it this is real life. Life is hard.

After watching, re-watching and re-watching the Pixar movie Inside Out I felt like I had a better understanding of the value of each emotion. For too long now I have believed that if I am not full of Joy I am loosing. When Grief cuddles up and changes my mood from yellow to gray I give up, I fall into it and let it drive the day. After watching the movie I noticed exactly what the writer intended for me to notice. Joy and Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust all work together to make up my unique perfect me. I noticed that if I let each one do their job and only their job I can have more days where I breathe easy and remember who I am created to be and Who I am a reflection of.

I may not always let the right emotion drive me around but I know for sure that when I am breathing in my value and breathing out the lies I can see sound, I can hear new life like spring time and I can smell light.

May you let your emotions do the job they where meant to do and let the truth of your life be your oxygen.