Feelings on your shirtsleeves

The tiny vase lapel pin that I usually wear on Sundays is now expected by my fellow worshippers. The little lantana that graced it on a recent Sunday caught the eye of one sister, who knows that I also like to share a photo of a flower every day on social media, calling it my “daily dose of sanity.”

“Well!” she exclaimed, “I see you have your ‘sanity’ here with you today, right on your lapel!”

“Yes,” I said. “Portable sanity! I love it.”

We both shared a laugh and a hug. She knew I had been under a heavy weight of care recently, and that I do find comfort in my flowers. The One who clothes the lilies of the field is caring for me. That thought really does keep me from going crazy!

“But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!” (Matthew 6:30, NASB).

But to wear your “sanity” on your lapel….isn’t that a little superficial? It brings to mind that old expression “wearing your feelings on your shirtsleeve.” That phrase conjures up negative imagery and a warning about allowing those emotions to be too easily triggered.

One of the very nicest things about women is actually their lack of fear about showing their feelings. Don’t laugh…it’s true! Most of us don’t hide our emotions unless we feel it is necessary.

If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands. If you’re sad and you know it, shed a tear. If you’re angry and you know it, stomp your foot. We don’t keep things bottled up as much as our masculine counterparts, as a general rule.

It’s really a good thing, but like any good thing, it can have a negative side. For instance, showing disappointment in people who look up to us can have devastating effects on them.

There is also a big difference in showing emotion and in allowing our emotions to control our actions. Anger itself is not condemned, but the rash results of letting it control us carries a warning (Ephesians 4:26).

But let’s get back to thinking about sanity. How many of our brothers and sisters are walking around at their wits’ end (literally) but outwardly they are wearing their sanity — as it were — on their lapels? Maybe they are hiding a deep hurt or pain with a brave face.

It is up to the rest of us to compliment one another for wearing it so well but to follow that up with a hug for the hurt deep down inside.

Then there are those who have no lapel pins with tiny flowers in water to walk around with. They cannot or do not hide their sadness and troubles.

Again, it is the responsibility of the rest of us, as the body of Christ, to keep those hugs and kind words coming, and to be there for those who need a “dose of sanity” in their chaos.

In truth, sanity does not come from flowers, but from our faith in the loving Creator who used them as an example of his care.

“My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:2).

Let’s not wear that faith as an outward decoration or a “Sunday-morning-only” bauble, but let it give us the peace “which surpasses all comprehension” (Philippians 4:7).

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