Originally published Wednesday, 13 December 2017.
How are you?
It’s what we all say. People like me might be willing to give a longer answer, because sometimes you just want to spew it all out. But the reality is that most people aren’t interested in knowing more.
Someone once told me that if they are struggling they might reply with, “Oh, you know, there’s some clouds hanging around.” I’ve also said, “Not so great,” or replied with the shrug of a shoulder when the pain was heavy.
When I’m meant to be in a room full of people wearing masks which express a modicum of emotion, and I’ve had an especially pain filled day, I oblige with attempted fake smiles. They don’t hide me very well.
I’m odd though. I feel deeply and think a whole lot. Add to this, the level of freedom which continues to expand in my life. I could be a freight train for saying all the feeling things.
Y’all, I’m working on it. OK? If you ask me how I’m doing, I might spittle hurrahs or release a little sigh. Yet, I commit to restraining myself from unloading as if you’re the local depository.
Goodness, though. I see so many people walking around masking pain and masking their true selves.
Among those in genuinely happy seasons and knowing delightfully delirious days, I also see hurt people, wounded pasts, chains of self, and stories that would make us ache. I see people afraid to admit when life gets hard, or purposed to never entertain anything but the positive.
Praise God for all the good we can find. We need to see more good in this world. God is here and so is his goodness. I’m a firm believer in pursuing happiness as part of God’s holiness.
We also walk among people unaware of each others’ struggles and the brokenness inside our real selves.
My passion is fueled to see the power of God in hearts everywhere. To see his glory unfold and his people unleashed.
Maybe it is isn’t appropriate to share our inner feelings with those who casually intersect our lives. Yeah, probably not. Doing so is unwise, unsafe, and unnecessary.
But there has to be a place where it is safe, because eventually our masks slip and our true selves will be revealed. Where can we let this happen? Where can we let down in order to let it out?
Where can we find the disrobing of pretension in order to put on the possibility of God’s redemption?
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The best place to begin is with God and with ourselves.
Do we feel safe enough to choose honesty with the One who already knows?
How many Christ followers have doubts about whether or not God is as good as he says is, or if he’ll follow through on in his promises, or if he’s really still there and does he seriously care?
How many of us admit to having doubts, or to the wrestling of our faith? How many would be audacious enough to tell God we’re down right angry and we wish he’d just DO something, for the love of – himself?
That was me. Not admitting to the real feelings harbored deep.
I’ve loved God from a young age. I wanted to please Him and be pleasing to Him. In all my efforts, I missed really knowing Him in the intimate way my propped-up heart needed.
Those moments when all the walls of self came crashing in, and I was faced with admitting I couldn’t keep going like I was, those were also moments where I realized I didn’t trust God as much as I though I did. In fact, I was downright angry but too afraid to admit it.
A couple of years ago I sat down with my personal journal. Finally. I got honest. I put pen to paper and declared, “God, I’m angry with you!”
I’d freely tell others that God could take it and he already knew our hidden anger, hurts, and fears. I know he wants us to come into the light right where we are, where ever that may be.
I needed to know. I got out a whole host of pent up pain as I scribbled hard and wept.
The history of David, Job, and others show me how to pour out an honest complaint before God,
My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” ~ Psalm 42:3
and in the end, in the midst of anguish, they find the strength to remind themselves of truth and proclaim it to be true.
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and my are you at turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. ~ Psalm 42:11
Honesty opened the way to healing. The heaviness in my heart spilled out before a God who releases burdens.
Hide not from God and He will not hide His good for you. You may not see it today, but it is still there because it is a part of who He is and He never changes.
He will not turn away merely because you’re unable to see the good around you. Instead, he will help you walk through the paths of pain and bring newness to life within you.
For more choices you can make to live well, see the full series list here: https://joleneunderwood.com/31-choices-live-well/
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