My name is Rebecca Boganwright but most people just call me Becca. I grew up in the church era where ‘bringing my best to God’ meant I had to wear a dress every Sunday. My husband and I found Sandals Church when we moved to So Cal for college almost 15 years ago. We were immediately drawn to this idea of being real and as I look back on our time at Sandals, I am so grateful to be a part of a church that doesn’t just encourage, but lives and breathes authenticity.
Authenticity does not come without a sense of self-awareness.
I cannot be truly authentic with others when I do not know myself, which is so much more complicated than it sounds.
What does it mean to ‘know myself?’
One of the ways to know myself means to understand why I do the things I do and understand the emotions that drive my decisions. If you are a parent, or have ever worked with kids, can you think of a time you have asked a kid, “Why did you do that?”
Can you imagine with me the most common answer?
“I don’t know” (insert shrugged shoulders and baby voice).
Do you realize that most adults answer the same way?
Years ago my husband, in doing pre-marriage counseling, stopped asking couples the question, “Why do you want to marry this person?” Because more often than not, they couldn’t answer it! They knew they loved each other, but never stopped long enough to articulate why.
Why are you an organized/unorganized person?
Why are you always on time/late to events?
Why are you a morning person/not a morning person?
Why does a 2, 3, 4, 16-year-old have such power over your emotions?
Why do you and your husband keep coming back to the same fight?
You don’t know? You’re not alone.
Sometimes the answers to the ‘why’ questions elude us simply because we haven’t taken the time to really dive into the answers. Becoming emotionally healthy means that though we may not have all the answers, we at least recognize there is something to explore.
Being emotionally healthy means we recognize that God created us to FEEL,
not to bury or ignore our emotions.
Years ago, my husband and I were the first people on the scene of a car that had rolled and turned upside down on the road in the middle of the night. I talked to a women in this car as she hung upside down, trying to keep her awake until the ambulance came.
A year later, we again were the first responders to a horrific car accident on the freeway. An entire family was thrown from an SUV and one girl died. THAT SAME WEEK, we saw another car on its side on the shoulder of the freeway. We were the only people that pulled over and we approached the car, at night, in the rain, its radio blaring and wipers still going… to find that no one was in the car.
But the fear of what I might have found wrecked me.
THREE WEEKS LATER I witnessed a car swerve out of control on the freeway and slam into the center divider. This time… I didn’t stop. I couldn’t. I called 911 but then had a mini panic attack as I kept on driving. And most of the panic attack was over my guilt that I didn’t stop to help.
I immediately called my best friend who is a therapist and asked her for some free counsel. I recounted to her what had just happened and my immense guilt over not stopping. After a series of questions, she finally asked, “Becca, why can’t you admit that you were traumatized by the previous accidents and let someone take care of this one? You couldn’t handle it emotionally, and that’s okay.”
For those of you with previous church experience, you may have been taught that going to church means leaving your emotions at the door. Since you are a Christian, and you KNOW the right things, you should always FEEL the right things. Hurt, anger, sadness, anxiety are bad. Somewhere along the lines, some of you learned, either inside or outside of the church, that the best way to deal with these emotions is to not deal with them at all.
Why have we come to believe these things are negative when our Savior, the perfect Christ clearly modeled deep emotions for us?
John 11:35 – Jesus wept as he mourned the death of a dear friend.
John 2:13-17 – Jesus got so angry about the greed and injustice displayed in the temple that he chased people out with a whip and created chaos by turning over tables and throwing money on the ground.
Matthew 9:36 – Jesus’ heart broke when he saw that his people were lost, like sheep without a shepherd.
King David, a man after God’s own heart wrote song after song lamenting over the challenges in his life.
Psalm 57:6 – “I am weary from distress.”
Psalm 61:2 – “From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to safety for you are my safe refuge.”
Some of you may be ruled by your emotions. Your anger affects your relationships. Your anxiety squelches your faith in Christ. You are unable to say with confidence, “I am overwhelmed [but] you are my safe refuge.”
Jesus, David, and many others who have gone before us have all experienced the emotions of life while still maintaining a deep relationship with God.
We don’t have to pretend that everything is okay.
These emotions that can drive us toward a closer relationship and a greater reliance on the Almighty God. So we invite you to be real.
Real with who you are.
Real with how you feel.
Real with your sin, and…
Real with your hopes for the future.
Because in doing this, you will know God’s grace and love as you find a place to heal.
Join us as we grow together, pray together, heal together, and get real with the way we feel so we can become the women God has called us to be.
LET’S DIG DEEPER…
- Which woman do you more relate to – the one who suppresses emotion or the one who is ruled by her emotion?
- Think of a time as a child when you felt emotional distress. How were you comforted? How has this shaped how you process your emotions?
- Who in your life allows you to be real with your emotions? If you don’t have that relationship, what could be your first step to cultivating that?
- Reflect on 1 Peter 5:7, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.” How could actively practicing “giving all your worries to God” effect your week and help you become emotionally healthy?
Becca is one of the worship leaders at Sandals Church, primarily leading at our Woodcrest Sandals Church campus alongside her husband, Andrew, the campus pastor at that location. Becca and Andrew have been married for 14 years and have two sons, Kingston (11) and Isaiah (10) who were both adopted from the country of Ethiopia. Aside from her love of music, she is also a self-proclaimed science nerd and is a middle school chemistry and physics teacher. Becca loves Starbucks and spending time with good friends. One of her greatest blessings is being a part of a community where she can be authentic with who she is and who God has created her to be.