Oh Lord, hear me as I pray; pay attention to my groaning.
Listen to my cry for help, my King and My God.
At last evening’s Healing Service, Pastor Steve gave a wonderful sermon about the Biblical basis for grumbling and complaining. I think it caused quite a stir for many of those in attendance. It isn’t often that you hear a Priest speak about it being okay for Christians to grumble and complain to the Lord.
In fact, for years I thought it was taboo for a Christian to even think, much less verbalize, about grumbling and complaining to the Lord. Because I was under the impression that when I accepted Jesus into my life all the bad stuff would miraculously disappear. And if I even acknowledged, for a moment, that there was something in my life that wasn’t perfect then I must not have enough faith. That is a terrible burden to put on oneself!
For a majority of my life, I kept my emotions bottled up inside of me. To me showing emotions was a sign of weakness. If anyone could see my emotional response to a circumstance then I felt like I had given them the upper hand. If I gave them the upper hand then they had the power to hurt me. So, I refused to even acknowledge that I had emotions.
Having no healthy outlet to express my emotions led to me directing all my anger and frustration at myself. I had the art of self-loathing perfected. When the anger/frustration built up to the exploding point I had no choice but to react.
Those emotional explosions lead me to cutting myself, punching myself, and burning myself with cigarettes. The horrible physical pain I felt from those emotion driven acts gave me the false sense of freedom from being strangled by anger/frustration. The self-inflicted violence was my way of giving voice to the torture I was experiencing inside.
I sometimes wish I had known then what I know now.
God’s greatest desire is for us to be in relationship with Him. He created us with emotions. Emotions that He knew might some days get the better of us, but that could also allow us to fall madly in love with Him. I can’t believe that He wouldn’t have given us those emotions if He didn’t want us to express to Him their full range. It is in our moments of emotional vulnerability that we often draw the closest to Him.
I know now that it broke God’s heart to watch me suffer silently – never verbalizing my pain. I can’t tell you how many Christians God put in my path during those dark years. It was His way of trying to save me from myself. I was awestruck at the way they had peace during the worst of circumstances. Time and time again they told me that a relationship with the Lord was what got them through it all. That being able to cry out to Him with all their anger and pain was what enabled them to deal with all the bad things going on in their lives.
Well when I finally did get into a relationship with Him, I had a hard time breaking my past cycle of bottling up all my emotions. It wasn’t until I began reading the Psalms that I realized that it was okay, actually it was healthy and good, to be completely open emotionally with God. The Psalmists grumbled, they complained, they cursed their enemies, they yelled at God, and they bawled their hearts out. They ran the gamut of emotions that dwell in every human. And then at the end of their lament they praised the Lord. It was like they vomited out all the negative emotions so that there was room for the Lord to heal them through their praising Him. They found their freedom in expressing all of their emotions…the good, the bad, and the ugly.
If you have been bottling up your emotions, I encourage you to come to the Glennon House for an appointment with our trained Prayer Ministers. They will stand beside you as your grumble, complain, cry, yell, and praise the Lord as He sets you free and heals you.