In the last post, we were taking a look at Psalm 77 and considering what it had to teach us about our response the losses and hard places in our life. If you are just joining in this post- you will want to go back to the posts linked below to get caught up. Then you can join us again and things will make more sense.
This is the third post in a series called Hope and Healing in the Holidays. The first post: Hope & Healing in the Holidays The second post: Have you noticed what you need this holiday? But actually you might want to start here to get some background on where this series is going: Looking at the BIG moments that Change Your Life
Let’s continue on in Psalm 77:7-9 to see another way he teaches us to respond. This is where the Psalmist, well, some people might say he was throwing a tantrum. But actually he is showing us how to get ‘unstuck’ by honestly EXPRESS our EMOTIONS.
Ok! Make a fist again. Open up the pinky finger from yesterday (NOTICE THE NEEDS) and this time open the ring finger as well to…
EXPRESS your Emotions Vs 7-9
7 Has the Lord rejected me forever?
Will he never again be kind to me?
8 Is his unfailing love gone forever?
Have his promises permanently failed?
9 Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has he slammed the door on his compassion?
And I said, “This is my fate; the Most High has turned his hand against me.”
I might say it more like The Message version says it:
Will the Lord walk off and leave us for good?
Will he never smile again?
Is his love worn threadbare?
Has his salvation promise burned out?
Has God forgotten his manners?
Has he angrily stalked off and left us?
“Just my luck,” I said. “The High God goes out of business just the moment I need him.”
Wow! That’s pretty honest.
How do you EXPRESS what’s going on inside of you? Or how you feel about God? Or do you?
I’ve noticed as I’ve gone through this grief process and worked with others in this place, that people try to say the right things in their grief. I know I did. I tried to say the right things (insert grimaced smile through clinched teeth here. )
But there were lots of times when I just wanted/ actually NEEDED to scream…
GOD, WHY DID YOU LET THIS HAPPEN?
WHY DID YOU DO THIS?
Does that seem harsh? Sometimes we feel ashamed of telling God how we really feel- embarrassed, guilty, disrespectful even.
But God invites us to be honest- to say it like it really is.
I remember envisioning myself sitting on God’s lap and not mincing any words. In fact, one particularly bad day, I yelled as loud as I could and used my fists to beat on his chest until I couldn’t beat any more.
The thing is- it didn’t bother God. He already knew what I was thinking and feeling. He wanted me to be honest with myself about how I was really feeling.
And the amazing thing is that it is at the end of the wrestling, when I was spent and I couldn’t fight anymore, where was I?
I was in his arms, sobbing with the little bit of breath left in me, comforted in the very way he would have wanted to care for me from the beginning if I hadn’t been so angry at him. It was a moment of deepest intimacy that I will never forget.
I don’t know what you think about God right now, but know this is the time you get honest. You can respond by EXPRESSing honestly what is going on inside of you.
Even if it is like the Psalmist did at the end of these verses.
“Woe is me- The Most High has turned his hand against me.”
Do you ever do that? Back of hand pressed against forehead, chin thrown up in dramatic fashion, “woe is me!”
What do you say? To yourself? To God?
The psalmist’s response is to just SAY IT!
Those of you that are walking with someone, please don’t shut them down in this moment. Allow them this space. It may come right away or it may take years. It might be really ugly and messy.
Don’t judge them for it, Chances are this is not their “forever” thoughts. But It has to come out or it will fester inside for much longer.
Somewhere they/ you have to speak how you really feel.
BUT NOTE: I wouldn’t pick the family gatherings to do it.
- Too many people
- With too many emotions of their own
- Too many places to get misinterpreted
Choose one- maybe two people to whom you EXPRESS how you feel.
I know the holidays are supposed to be full of gratitude and gift giving. But what if the gift you give this year is you. No, you are probably not through your grief, but perhaps you can be less tense, less tangled in emotion, with more capacity to allow others in your space.
N- Notice your needs
E- Express your emotions-
Honestly in both instances.
Give yourself some space this weekend to consider your needs and emotions. See what you discover about yourself, about God, about your ability to respond in a way that brings life.
That’s two fingers open. We will look at the last two letters tomorrow. See you then.