"...but it is hard to be honest with God when we are not being honest with ourselves."
Scripture Reference: Psalm 22:1 “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
The Bible portrays a wide range of lived experiences, from kings and shepherds, men and women. We see joy and triumph, but we also see grief and pain, fear and loss. The Psalmists cover a rainbow’s worth of agony and confusion, with every emotion painted in its deepest colors. The Psalmists delight and shout, but they also mourn and weep. In fact, the Bible itself assures us that there is a time for each of these emotions to be expressed, for dancing as well as for mourning. (Ecc. 3:4)
But it is often not that simple.
Lately, I have been feeling broken for our nation and our world. Grieving often feels natural, even when it doesn’t feel good. But the tragedies we face as a country these days leave me feeling unnaturally stuck, unsure how to move forward, how to grieve, or what is the next right thing to do. I feel stuck at home because of COVID, and stuck with my emotions, unsure of how or where to express them, unsure whether to sit in them or try to move past them, and begin something new.
Sometimes, we fear our emotions, especially the ones we label as “negative”. In fact, we tend to put things in the “sin” category for which God never meant us to repent. Conflict, righteous anger, sorrow, and grief are all hidden away like open wounds that we fear others will condemn if seen in the light of day.
We try to get on our knees before our creator, but it is hard to be honest with God when we are not being honest with ourselves.
Here is the truth: God never meant for us to hide these feelings away, and His work will not be finished in us until we take honest and vulnerable responsibility for the feelings we have. How, after all, are we meant to show the world what the true redemptive life of Christ looks like if we ourselves are only living a half life? If we constantly hide from mourning and pain, from disagreements and misunderstandings, we put these things in the dark, where they fester. Rather than keeping them there, we must vulnerably share them with God, seeking to expose them to the holy light of Christ.
God knows our walk with Him will contain “many trials” (James 1:2), and he aims to share them with us. In Psalm 22, we see a shadow of the pain and suffering Christ himself will experience on the cross, and He does not hold back. God came to this Earth in human form to be its saviour, and the salvation of our souls and the sanctifying of our lives starts the moment we fall to our knees before Him. If we aim to seek refuge there, we must offer everything we are, including the very emotions He has hardwired into us.
Questions to ask yourself: What emotions do you need to confess to God? Don’t limit yourself to only “good” or “bad” feelings- God wants them all.
When you are finished talking to God, what do you hear Him asking you to do? Do your feelings need to be shared with a trusted friend or counselor?
Finish with this prayer if you’d like: Lord, teach me to accept counsel from You in all things, by offering all things to You. Show me how to submit myself and confess my emotions to You. Renew my mind to hear Your wisdom and strengthen me to do Your will. Amen”