About the Author

Emily P. Freeman is a writer who creates space for souls to breathe. She is the author of four books, including her most recent release, Simply Tuesday: Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World. She and her husband live in North Carolina with their twin daughters and twinless son.

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  1. This right here…”And in the seeing, in the feeling, the fear and the worry spilled out and lost their hold. That is the power of community.”

    Shouting from the rooftop, “A to-the MEN!”

    When we share what’s going, we bring light to the dark. The Light overpowers the Enemy.

    Again, AMEN!

    I love, love, love this, Emily!

    PS: This post also gets me giddy about your book, too. 🙂

  2. I am learning the hard way that the gift of Community is something to be fought for with tenacity. I have been isolated for the past five months, and it has been so much harder than I thought it would be. And I kick myself for all the opportunities and options I had before I moved, that I chose NOT to take because of busy schedules or a messy house or our kids not getting along perfectly.

    It seems that back then, I just didn’t keep enough margin in my life or schedule or heart to be open to pursuing Community in a way that I wish I would have. Dangit.

    Thanks for the excellent writing and fantastic encouragement, Emily.

    Love, Laura

  3. I thought for sure you were going to say this was about a girl named Lisa H. ! It really could have been me you were writing about!

  4. You just described me perfectly Emily. Sometimes we are so hard on ourselves. We have such high expectations and feel vulnerable and weak when we show emotion. It’s hard to just let go. Glad Kendra was there for you. Thanks for sharing. Blessing to you – April

  5. I recall a moment so much like that – between you and me. Me fighting back tears, you checking if I was okay. I think I made a joke about having my daily panic attack and fled the room. So, yeah, I know about the hiding. I do it pretty much all day everyday in fear of not being good enough.

  6. Emily, I needed this. I was discussing with a friend on Monday how I always feel like I need to hide or that I don’t belong. This post is so freeing for me.

  7. I do this too…for all the same reasons…
    But, I’m doing it less and less…..thank God for growth and freedom!

    It feels good to be authentic….to be real.

  8. There is no way that I can’t believe in a God active in my life, because this morning I am feeling all of those things you describe. Feeling prickly, unloved, over-sensitive, judged, you name it. And then I read this beautiful post about letting those in who get you, who want to love you, and letting them be your community – it was like getting a beautiful message from a friend and from the Divine all at once. Thank you!!

  9. For most of my life, I was a master of disguise (at least I thought so!). I fought hard not to show the real me. People saw what I wanted them to see. I am so very lucky now to have community. Sometimes I begin to slip back into my old masks but I catch myself. Thank God.

  10. Beautiful post Emily! Thank you for speaking straight to my heart. Are you sure you weren’t with me yesterday?

    one of my favorite parts? “But in the hiding, we miss out on the relief of being found. We miss out on the opportunity to experience love and support. We exchange connection for control. And community is lost, or never even found to begin with.”

    Grateful for you today.

  11. Yes! And God is an emotional God. So here we are, made in His lovely image. 🙂

    I really liked the feet pic. I have a thing about taking feet pics when I meet people at conferences. I guess that makes me a feet girl too. 🙂

  12. That Jesus “felt fully and completely. He did not try to change how he felt” is some truth I really needed to hear (or read, I guess). Thank you, friend.

  13. I don’t want to comment here just now. I don’t want to un-hide, to be intentional about seeking out this community you’re speaking of.

    It all spilled over last night, you know. “This is my life,” I told my husband through my tears. “I’m always on the outside looking in, wanting so much to give and knowing I can, feeling overlooked.”

    I don’t know how to do this. Can somebody tell me? Online, it’s hard, it is. I think all our hearts are in the right place, we want so much to be open and approachable for everyone we meet here – but the reality is that we are still just human and still quite limited, and we have to prioritize our time and attention. Somebody will always be left behind.

    I half want it to be me so it’s not somebody else; I half want it to be them so it’s not me.

    Thanks for this post, Emily, for the invitation.

    And can I just say again, I LOVE coming here now – the redesign does wonderful things for my eyes!!!

  14. I love this, it’s perfect for me! I too try to figure out all of my wacky emotions when I really should just let them be!

  15. As I read this, I thought, “She’s done that for me so many times.” Then I saw my name. I’m glad you’re my “you get me” friend. It’s fun to see how you encourage so many people with your words. I would be anyway, but I’m super proud of you.

    • I’m so glad you came, Kendra. And not just this morning to this post. I’m so glad you came into my life, into my space, into my junk. Thank you for not just noticing, but really seeing. You are a true friend to me.

  16. I so resonated with the concept of exchaging connection for control. For many years I thought that being in control of myself (and sometimes otheres) was the key to life. I’m learning, through painful experiences, that my control was only an illusion that isolated me from true connection. There is great reward in being open.

  17. Emily,
    This is so refreshing to read because it’s so honest and open. We all belong to “communities” and yet sometimes we feel hesitant to embrace that community. We don’t hesitate for a moment to help in the community when needed, take over a meal, offer our car, but to be the one to “need” the help or support is often challenging and difficult, at least for me it is. I love that you are encouraged by those around you and that you have them to lean on when you need them.

  18. Love this…as a fellow Emoter (laugh loud, cry often, love much!) I get so excited when I come across others who share my empathy and excitement for my own situations and those of others, for happy souls and sad souls. It’s funny how sometimes it’s easy to forget that God was the original Emoter and created us to BE emotional, but thanks for that wonderful reminder!! A great read to start my day!

  19. Did you write this just for me? I have only a few friends who know me well enough to KNOW me. At my brother’s funeral, I was being strong for everyone and keeping busy and wrangling kids and as soon as my best friend (since kindergarten) walked in and gave me that look, I let it all go. It was almost as if I just gave her all the grief and sadness and how-in-the-world-is-this-happening? and she held it all for me so I could breath again.

    I can’t wait to read your book Emily!!! I think every woman I know (me included) is just like you!

  20. WOW..I was coming home from a Bible study group last night kicking myself for being too much/too little/bared myself too much….ARGH!!! God is working and He keeps chiseling away at the walls I have built not sure what it looks like on the other side, but I guess I am gonna find out!!!

  21. Have you been reading my diary again? I bet I’m not the first one to say something like that. You always have a way of getting right to the heart of what we girls think and feel but don’t quite know how to say. I have perfected the art of retreat over the last few years. I both long for and run from community. I’m not sure why but something about how motherhood made me an introvert…I think you wrote about that one too. : )

    I love that line about being too busy figuring out our emotions that we don’t allow ourselves permission to simply feel them. Ah, the curse of being both introspective and emotional. I am right there with you, have especially been there this last week. Thank you for giving me permission to give myself permission and for being the ever-wise girlfriend to us all.

  22. God has been convicting me lately about this very topic of community. Thank you for sharing your words as a reminder that connecting with others can be refreshing and encouraging. Perfect timing!

  23. “We exchange connection for control.” That nearly sucked the air right out of my lungs; I have to call it what it is, I guess – another control issue, another opportunity to open up my hands, to bare my heart.

  24. So good! I am an emotional girl too! {although, never was until I had kids…now I cry at any thing, laugh to the point of embarrassing my kids, and am on the roller coaster of life}

    However, I have been known to hide when some emotions over flow…crazy why we do that? I am going to try to let me be ME.

    Woo Hoo! Kids beware…mom is coming out! HA!

  25. First time here…I am sobbing…I am overwhelmed with words and the power they have…the way He can speak to me through them…from someone else to me—miles and miles away. Just maybe I do belong…but where? and how do I get there? Thank you:)

  26. This really opened my eyes. I had just never thought about it that way.

    One example. I remember, clearly, telling others “When I get depressed I figure out what it is that is depressing me and fix it.” I don’t mentioned the tortured days or weeks that I spend, alone, trying to fix me!

    My God bless you and may you always have community!
    Love you!
    Grandma Patty Ann

  27. So loved that quote posted by Max Lucado today on Twitter, “Fear knocked at the door. Faith answered. There was no one there.” I felt your post today was me talking. I am that woman! I don’t fear being who I am, but I do fear not being all that I long to be. If that makes sense. Great post and one that made me search a bit deeper today. Thanks!

  28. I’m always second-guessing myself when it comes to others. Maybe it’s why I’m more comfortable with animals. I don’t find they will look at me funny or think I’m weird. Sometimes the “what-will-they-think-of-mes” take over far too much in every day life. I wish I could feel more comfortable around people than I do. Maybe it’s how I was raised. My mother always asked me things like, “you don’t want people to look at you funny, do you?” or “you don’t want people to think you’re odd, do you?”. It’s all I heard all through my childhood. It’s to how I dressed or wore my hair, etc. It got tiring. Now, I don’t care. As I told my mom, if people don’t like me for me, I don’t want them around. I don’t want people hanging around me because I wear makeup, have my hair looking just so or wearing the latest styles. It’s not me nor will it ever be. I just want to be the me that God made, without makeup or the latest styles.

  29. I LOVED this, Emily. I have been trying to come to peace the last two years that God made me a sensitive, feeling person, and that’s okay. I don’t always have to be strong and neatly wrapped up. More than that, He knows how sensitive I am and still protects me (when I let Him).

  30. Me too, girl. Me too. Emotional. My man says I feel things bigger than others do, which is why my responses are sometimes bigger too.

  31. “I try to figure out my emotions rather than give myself permission to simply feel them, then let them fade.”
    My counselor basically said the same thing last week. Why do I have to figure it all out? What can’t I just allow myself to feel? And I work so hard to keep the mask on so no one knows.

    I have written about this quite a bit on my blog. Some days I feel I am doing better, and other days it is worse. http://bernicewood.wordpress.com/2010/08/13/the-topic-of-depression-from-eat-pray-love/

    Thank you Emily for such wonderful words!
    Bernice

  32. it seems like…any community, other than online, that is around me is, like me, all too busy to see and be seen. Can’t be found if no one is looking. And can’t find others whle we pass on the road from here to there. Only two places do I get to stop and park….my office at work,, and when I look on the internet in the cracks of my time.

    🙁 How do you have community when all are so busy (and babysitters so expensive? 🙂

    • It’s a good point you make here, Sandee, and I have to say that my life seems to run in cycles of community and isolation. Sometimes I’m good with the isolation, because I need the time to myself – I’m an introvert disguised in an outgoing personality.

      Sometimes I’m the finder, I’m the one who is pursuing, I’m the one who is on the lookout for my friends. Less times, I’m the find-ee. But when those times present themselves, I have to make the choice between hiding and being found by someone. I’m learning how to open up, to be willing to go there, to connect. It doesn’t happen every day. But when those times come, I’m trying not to overlook them.

  33. “But in the hiding, we miss out on the relief of being found. We miss out on the opportunity to experience love and support. We exchange connection for control. And community is lost, or never even found to begin with.”

    Wow, powerful word Emily,thank you! This is SO me. I’m emotional, and I’ve always felt like a giver, and that I had a lot to offer. I even started a blog, out of my desire to encourage others. But too many times in my life I have been the *only* one doing the giving. So many ‘friends’ have crossed my path who don’t ‘need’ friends, or don’t know how to be one. Our society has turned so ‘techno’ that we’re losing the human connection. So I think I became hurt and and quietly jaded. And perhaps in my desperation for friendships, I’ve probably in turn isolated myself for fear of being hurt and rejected. Especially since I’ve had my kids (6 &2), it’s been actually easier to isolate myself. But I’m working on it, and trying to really let it sink in that God is in control and has a plan for my life if I will only let Him in and allow Him to work thru me, and to love me & hear me as no one else can! Thanks again…

  34. Oh my goodness! You are me. Every single word, I’ve been there. I’m a social worker and so used to taking care of others that I’m at a loss when people truly see me and invite me to be taken care of. I’m trying to be more open and vulnerable. I’m trying to let people in on my hurts when they’re happening…not just down the road when I’ve already processed it and moved on. I’m trying to let my friends actually be friends. And I’ve realized in the past week that when I do that, God is at work and beautiful things happen in my heart.

  35. I always feel like I am the one who helps others and haven’t always been able to share what I am dealing with. Thank you for this post. I love community, and need it more in my life, for sure!

  36. Sometimes when I look in the eyes of my Kendras, I feel like I might fall apart right there. I spend so much of my time not feeling the intense, broken, frightened emotions of a mom with two intense special needs foster/adopt kids… But like you said, I do long to be found. I just have to be okay being found emotionally pulverized on the floor.

    Thanks for getting this out to every one. I know I needed the push.

  37. This is my today! I have an awesome husband. He listened while I tried to explain my extreme emotions. So, of course he let me read this to him. He really appreciates you writing this. I’m sooooo thankful you wrote this. It helped me see me too.

    “He felt fully and completely. He did not try to change how he felt.”
    I specifically heard God say to me earlier tonight, “go make some time for yourself on the back and give yourself a few hours to sit and feel it all. I’ll be with you.”

    I decided to check email tonight. I wouldn’t have seen this until afterwards.

  38. I am in the throes of an “emotional state” of which even when I am alone I find myself apologising to God…being sorry for being so angry,so hurt,so sad,so……something.As I read through your words I am brought to tears….again!And again I berate myself for being so……something.

    I have been on my own for so many years raising a special needs child and Laurie’s comments of being found emotionally pulverized into the ground” had caused me to audiably gasp.But being strong has become my security,my protection,my defence even to myself….even to God.To succumb to my emotions I consider a weakness and to a degree “less than” and failing somehow.

    A conundrum…..how do I begin to “let go and let God”?

    • Hi Dilia – Though I cannot fully understand where you are emotionally with raising a special needs child all on your own (how difficult that must be), I definitely relate to using my strength as my own protection and defense. I have been at the place where I feel like if I let the emotions out, they may never, ever stop. There is a lot of fear in that place.

      I can’t even imagine how difficult the idea of being found in that place must be, to be seen in the midst of such need. One thing I do know is that Jesus hangs out with broken people. And you sound like you are in a place of recognizing your deep need for a strength that is bigger than your own. I think that is a great place to start.

  39. I love this Emily — I am late in reading and commenting…but I love it. And I can relate. When times get tough, I tend to want to hide, to bury myself in my house and routine. Friends reach out; I push them away. This week I am learning about the power of community, as my friends sustain during a very difficult time. I am so grateful for their support…and I am so grateful I am letting them support me.