David may have been a man after God’s own heart, but he was a man who has an uncanny ability to give words to mine. Whether he’s shouting of God’s greatness (Psalm 35), or reassuring himself of God’s compassion (Psalm 34), David continues to remind me it’s okay to express my heart.
Even the agonizing parts I don’t want anyone to know about.
“I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, and he will hear me. In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted. When I remember God, I moan; when I meditate, my spirit faints” (Psalm 77:1-3).
Sometimes this walk with the Lord feels more like a crawl across the rugged terrain of a battle field. Arrows from the enemy feel more like exploding land mines or lobbed grenades. Forward motion is spent on your belly, crawling through the mire of disappointment and hardship. Just when you think you’ve grabbed hold of the truth well enough to help you to your feet, even that which you had such a good grip on suddenly slides between your fingers. People you thought would never do what your enemies have done… suddenly do.
The temptation to close your eyes and crawl into the fetal position is overwhelming. It takes everything in you to not drop it all and just run. Run as fast and as far away as you possibly can from all of it - everything. The voice comes, and doesn’t it sound so much like your own? So reasonable? So sincere?
“Just quit. This isn’t worth it. You’re hurt. You keep getting hurt. Just stop. Really, it’ll be best for you and for everyone else. You’re pushing them more than they can handle. It's pointless trying to help. If you leave they’ll be better off. You’re not trying to make things worse; you just do. It’s not your fault really, it’s just the way God made you. You really should think about spending more time alone. Self-care. Maybe go someplace far away where you can heal, be better…”
As I wrestle and grab another fistful of dirt to claw my way forward, exhaustion weighing me down and turning my legs into lead, my soul cries out to God, “What do you want from me?” The response is always the same: “Everything.”
And therein lines the dilemma - there's something we just don't give up. A belief. A habit. A hurt or shame. Unforgiveness. Resentment. Fear. Doubt.
What do you hold back? You know it when the light shines on it, because you immediately draw it back into the dark. The walls go up. Your smile fades into stoicism. You change the subject or say nothing at all, waiting for someone to shift the conversation. If you’ve ever attempted to talk about it, it feels a bit like trying to vomit a brick.
What do you refuse to give to God? What are you believing that makes you look at the Word of God and say, “that’s not for me."
It feeds the voice that tells you it's better to run than to hand it over.
Keeping it behind walls, in the dark and away from help, will not make it go away. Take it from someone who’s spent the better part of two decades trying. We have to persist in truth. We have to grab hold of the gospel, because it’s the only thing strong enough to tear down the strongholds.
Even when we express our heart and are rejected again. Even when we tell the truth of how it hurt, and we’re berated – again. Even when we speak truth, even truth in love, and it’s thrown back in our face. Even when we trust again, and we’re hurt again. Even when...
Persist in truth, even when it hurts. Love always perseveres, even when there are a thousand reasons not to.
The weight we carry, the hardship of this walk, isn't always because of something we're not giving to God, but often it is. It's hard to follow someone when you've got a ball and chain strapped to your ankles. So what do you need to let go of? What do you need to submit and surrender to God?
When we can give our whole heart to him, even the painful, most wounded parts, he promises to turn the pain into something purposeful (Romans 8:28).
So let him. Even if it's just for today. Today is all we have anyway.