I was on a Zoom call with my writer friends and Julie was sharing the technical headache of setting up her email list. She had blocked out a day to tackle this huge item on her to-do list and nothing was working. The test emails weren’t going through and on the day she thought she would get it done, she was throwing up her hands. 

Then she said, “I’m trying not to be frustrated.” 

Julie has been diligently working on a devotional for months to send out to her growing email list. And after so much careful work, nothing was working right.

I replied, “You have permission to be frustrated.”

I love rules. I love the clarity they bring and the mental organization they provide. But when I have deep lingering feelings, which is often, I ask myself, Is this warranted? Is this emotional reaction justified? Do I have permission to feel like this? Because feeling anything other than what’s related to joy or neutrality feels like breaking a rule. 

Sometimes I have to make the conscious decision multiple times that yes, I get to feel this. Or I ask my wife multiple times to agree that whatever I’m upset about is upsetting. 

If you’re reading this and thinking, “Wait this is me, too!” – I’ve got you (and also let’s chat because this way of living is hard). 

You have permission to be frustrated with your family for not getting it. 

You have permission to feel sad. 

You have permission to question what you’ve been taught and what you used to believe. 

You have permission to be angry. 

You have permission to limit interactions with only those who are affirming. 

You have permission to draw boundaries without explanation. 

You have permission to all at once feel excited and scared, hopeful and somber, and worried and fulfilled.

You have permission to say all of these to yourself because it was never my permission you needed. It’s your own.

My monthly reflection is coming to an email inbox near you tomorrow, the last Saturday of the month. I’d love to share it with you.

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  1. I truly love the expression “SEAT SAVER”… I Left organized religion because the seat they gave me was way too painful. Never, ever measuring up to the church’s standards. Never ever feeling good about who I am as a gay woman. Scared to leave because I didn’t want to lose the connection between God and I. However, leaving gave me the best seats in the house. I found so many that were willing to sit with me and YES, THAT’S IS WHERE I FOUND GOD…


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