Redeeming Excitement

The rush. The sudden burst of feeling that combines both physical and emotional. It’s electric.

I was very excitable as a child. I craved that rush of feeling. I could have been labeled hyper.

But I was also very lonely as a child. When the wave of excitement wore off and the source of the rush went away, I would either become very mopey or I would force it – meaning I wanted to make the feeling last.

It was very immature of me. But I didn’t know better.

As I matured and learned to temper my excitement, I started to realize that some sources of excitement were sinful. Like compulsive spending or staying out way too late at a party. I was burdened by guilt when this excitement wore off.

And that’s when anxiety crept in. Subtly and without an invitation, it whispered to me that excitement would hurt me. I slowly began to fear the very feeling even when there was good cause for it. I was losing my freedom to embrace feeling alive. The anxiety clamped down on all my feelings and attempted to snuff it all out.

This was all before kids.

I remember how I felt after having my firstborn; I didn’t allow myself to freely enjoy all of her littleness. I would pass her off to her dad, grandmas, and friends while holding my breath. I could see that they were able to experience the rush of emotion with joy.

And that’s when I realized that something was wrong with me.

Now I see that this was the beginning of my struggle to own love. I wasn’t sure if I knew how to show love because I was always afraid. I couldn’t base my ability on a feeling because my feelings were currently being held hostage by anxiety. I knew in my head that I loved my newborn daughter more than the air I breathed. But to feel it in my heart and be comforted by that connection of body and soul?

No, I lacked that comfort.

Then, as if anxiety weren’t enough of an opponent, adrenaline made its way into my life. This obnoxious beast forced its rush upon me. At first, I was thrilled to have the strength and vigor to get things done again. I felt satisfied again with myself and the ability to accomplish tasks.

Until I lost sleep.

Adrenaline was exciting but very costly. I didn’t realize that once adrenaline was turned “on” there was no turning it off. And I became scared of this too. I didn’t want to become too tired in fear causing of the forceful power of adrenaline to take me over.

And little by little, all this fear and failure to feel robbed me of all joy. I over analyzed my feelings. Not wanting to be guilty of wrong or suffer because of weakness, I was actually trying to get to a place where I wouldn’t feel anymore.

But, thank God, I have my children because of living with them and their beautiful joy – I am learning to redeem excitement in my life.

It has taken years for me to see that I was living in a prison of fear. And it has required even more strength than time for me to be able to fight back against the thoughts and habits that once ruled my behavior.

One example of how much I have to fight is when I share with my Bible study group. I am filled with excitement because of what I’m learning and yet to open my mouth and speak creates an intense fear that I won’t be understood or that I will say too much, and I tremble (literally). But each week I am thankful for the opportunity to put my fears to the test and find that they don’t have to rule me.

As I regain my emotional strength, I am seeing how I need to aid my children in moderating their feelings. And what a joy it has been for me to see my own childhood excitements through their eyes. I can now look back at myself with compassion and look forward for my children with freedom. I stop myself from projecting my fears and failures onto them, and I can start to see how they process excitement versus fears.

My 5 year old talks when he’s excited. It’s easy to know that something has brought his spirit to life because suddenly he has an extra 1,000 words to share with any listening ear. My 7 year old writes when she’s excited. If she’s been invited to something or received a gift then she’s immediately writing a thank you card or journaling the feelings she has because of it. And my little guy hugs and dances. He can’t contain it and I wouldn’t want him to. It’s the sweetest, purest emotion.

And I can see excitement now for what it is: a right response to a life giving experience. Slowly, little by little, I’ve entered into it and found that my spirit can come back to life too.

Love came down and rescued me, love came down and set me free.

Excitement can be redeemed.

Redeeming Excitement


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