Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Just Keepin' it Honest

We seem to get used to the way the psalms are frank and honest about emotions and feelings. Somehow it's perfectly okay for a psalmist to say they were overwhelmed, feeling oppressed or forgotten and generally without hope. I find myself in the psalms a lot just because of the openness about emotions. But I really didn't expect it from Paul!
Over the weekend I read 2 Corinthians and just let it soak in. One thing that really stuck out this time was how open and honest Paul was about his feelings.

In the eighth verse of chapter one, Paul uses three phrases to describe their "affliction" while they were in Asia:

burdened excessively
beyond our strength
despaired even of life

While our days as caregivers are challenging, and that's putting it mildly - I don't normally have all three of these feelings at one time. Oh, trust me, there are those times when we are totally overwhelmed and we feel these three and can add some more to the list! 

I guess it just surprised me that God allowed this kind of language in the Bible. I am saying that facetiously of course as we actually see it throughout. It's just that the faith-ers have forbidden this kind of honesty about what we really  feel. We are not allowed to say these and others like what we see in the psalms particularly because it's a lack of faith. But somehow - lying about how we feel demonstrates faith? I get confused! lol

For over seven years now I've been riding the emotional roller coaster called Caregiving. I have learned the best way to battle all the crazy emotions is to be totally and brutally honest about how I really feel. I cannot deal with anything I will not acknowledge. It's not lack of faith to state how we feel on any given day - when presenting it to God - it's actually total trust. 

Most of us have encountered "church people" who condemn our thoughts - which we must often work through to find a resolve. We are not allowed to say things like:

I'm really discouraged right now
This is so frustrating
I'm so tired I can't even think
I feel hopeless 
I am at a loss
My life is a shambles
I can't go on...

There are so many things we really cannot express without having it thrown back in our face by people who don't even have a clue. And of course, some of our thoughts cannot be shared out of fear someone will think we are unable to take care of our loved ones. People might think we were really crazy if they heard all our thoughts - or maybe that's just me!

But here we have Paul just laying out there - open and honest about how he felt when they were in Asia. He goes on to thank the Corinthian saints for joining them and for helping them through prayers. I can say there have been times when I knew someone was praying for us and that was what was carrying me through. 

It's okay to say how we feel. I absolutely think God is okay with our honesty and despises our lack of it. His shoulders are big enough to carry our true thoughts and His heart is big enough to allow us to work through them as we figure out our own crazy emotions. And I really think He prefers an honest heart over one that is trying to hide its true feelings. Even Jesus said in Matthew 26:38 - My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; and in the next verse He said Father, if it is possible let this cup pass from me. It's no sin to be honest. It's a sign of absolute trust.

While we can't tell other people how we really feel, we can tell God. He does not condemn. He does not detest or despise us - He accepts us. I think He understands. And even though He doesn't always change the circumstances, He continues to walk with us through them. He continues to hold our hands and our hearts in His as we navigate our way through caregiving. 

Today I'm going to meditate on His total acceptance of who I am and where I am on this journey of life. My thoughts will be on the fact that He is with me - as crazy as I can be - and He's as committed to the journey as I am to the caregiving journey; and He's got no plans of leaving me...ever! I'm going to rest in the fact that He's content to stay by my side when many have walked away - and I'm just going to lean in to Him just a little closer today and let my heart rest in the fact that He's still there. Will you join me?










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