If you're familiar with my blogging style, you'd know that I usually spend the first minute-and-a-half either explaining an interesting, unknown fact, answering a question I asked you myself, or—of course—trying to make you laugh with some cheesy, God-awful joke that others have already told me isn't even funny. I begin this way not because it's the way my honor English teachers trained me to start out all of my essays. Instead, it's my way of letting you know that I'm going to be myself around here. I'm going to spend the rest of my blogging days opening up to you, keeping it 100% real. And, because I gave myself that permission long ago in 2019, I want you to know that I'm giving you that same permission too.
After all, you and I consume enough polished content, where the creator lives a fairytale Christian life, has all the answers, and does everything right all of the time. You and I both know that we're only getting their highlight reel. The truth is that we all live on planet Earth and everything ain't always Gucci.
That's why I've decided to start the blog off a different way today, sparing you from my non-interesting fun facts and embarrassing jokes.
Today, I'm going to get straight to the point.
After realizing that I didn't want to enter the second half of the year struggling to see the beauty ahead of me because I was still burdened by all the heartbreaking things that happened behind me, I came to an earth-shattering conclusion with the Lord—
I had no clue what to do with all of the remaining pain I was in.
In other words, I realized I was bleeding out and actually didn't have a clue how to stop.
What I did know to do?
I knew to forgive, to apologize, to stay hopeful about better days ahead.
But, the anger, the hurt, the pain—
What the heck do I do with all of that?
Where do I put it? Is it wrong to still have it?
If I'm not supposed to have it, how exactly do I get rid of it?
These are all questions I thought I had answered because of the answers I was given throughout my faith journey.
If I was upset with someone?
If I expressed sadness?
THE JOY OF THE LORD IS YOUR STRENGTH.
If I was struggling to understand a true injustice?
WE LIVE IN A FALLEN WORLD.
In other words, before I even had the chance to express any of what I was feeling, I was met with a handful of Scripture verses that—in the moment—meant nothing to me. This kind of response not only taught me to suppress my feelings, but it also made me feel like a hot, filthy sinner for feeling them.
Now, granted, every person who responded to my expressions with Scripture had only the best intentions for me. I know that with all of my heart. However, the quick dismissal of my feelings shortly after expressing them made me think that God Himself preferred that I was some kind of robot.
But, then one night, I broke.
And, I mean, really, really broke.
What I would usually tell a mentor, parent, or trusted friend, I made the best decision of my life and went to God instead.
was I honest with Him.
I wept. I bawled. I swore. I cussed.
I told Him I still couldn't believe it. I told Him I wasn't over it.
I confessed that a piece of me blames Him for it.
I told Him it wasn't fair. I told God what I wanted Him to do about it.
I admitted what I wanted to do about it.
I went through a whole pack of Kleenex.
I was in tears for hours.
And, when I had let out the last sob left in me, I looked up from my soaking-wet tissue and was surprisingly met with the most genuine, abundant waves of peace I have ever felt in all almost nine years of walking with Jesus.
He didn't judge me.
He didn't tell me to watch my mouth or "Matthew 6:14" me to death.
I've never felt God more near than I did when I told Him exactly what I was feeling.
In other words, there's been plenty of moments where I walked away from prayer feeling like I talked to air for a good hour-and-a-half. There's been moments where I closed my bible frustrated because even while I was trying so hard to connect with His heart, I just couldn't.
"I don't have the words today, Lord," I would tell Him at the beginning of my devotional time. "Tonight, You're just going to have to speak."
And, a few chapters of the Bible later, I would quit.
I have no clue what You were even saying, I would grumble to Him, climbing into bed.
What I realize now, though, that I didn't know then is that I did actually have the words to say to Him in prayer. I just didn't feel safe enough to say it to Him.
My mom knew the truth of how I felt.
My sister knew all too well what I was experiencing.
But, when it was time to talk to God?
I wouldn't tell Him the truth.
I would tell Him what I thought He wanted to hear.
But, the night soon came when I was tired of it, and I realized He was tired of it too.
More than I was, in fact.
He was tired of me telling my mentor the raw truth of all the anguish I've been in and not Him. He was tired of me keeping my mom up at night re-explaining the situation for certainty that I did everything I could to make it right, but only telling Him a couple of memorized Scripture verses instead.
He was tired of me being open, honest, raw, and vulnerable with everybody—except for Him.
And, can I tell you, reader?
He's sad that you won't be open and honest with Him either.
Don't you know that He sees every phone call you make—every text you send—trying to see who's available for you to vent to them? Don't you know He has overheard every conversation of you cussing them clean out in your head while watching you only recite to Him the prayers your pastor told you to pray? Don't you know He wants in on that? That He doesn't want you to keep all of that inside?
Alongside God, I am begging you—today and forever—to process your pain with God.
Tell Him that you're pissed.
Drop the four-letter-word. (And, I'm not talking about love).
Tell Him you can't believe He would let all of this happen.
Don't go into prayer closing your eyes, wishing upon a star, all the while worrying about everything that's going wrong. Open up your mouth, and tell God what's happening on the inside. Tell Him the truth—the whole truth—the ugly, gut-wrenching truth that you're too ashamed to even admit.
When you express that truth, I can testify that there's freedom on the other side. When I told Him the raw reality of what I was feeling, those Scripture verses about forgiveness didn't bother me anymore.
I really, truly forgave.
I felt it in my heart, in my core.
I released my record of wrongs.
In fact, in prayer, I began to bless those who hurt me. And, it wasn't the old show I put on before the Lord anymore. It wasn't just an expression of what I thought God wanted me to say.
It was honest.
It was truthful.
I genuinely could let it go.
And, I will always credit that kind of moment with God as my greatest superpower.
One of my favorite preachers once said:
"The presence of God isn't the place to bypass your emotions. Instead, it's the place to process them."
I couldn't agree more.
The secret was never just to "proclaim" and "decree" over yourself that you're "releasing it," "forgiving them," and "moving on" without any honest expression of grief and anguish.
The secret is to tell God you're still upset. It still hurts. And, you're so angry you could spit. When that is what comes out of you in prayer, the turmoil inside stops.
Because it's spilling out in the safest place emotions like those can spill—in the presence of God.
Professional therapists have said that the best outlet for pain is by venting to someone. Look it up! Experts say that. And, it's just like Omniscient God, knowing that in advance, making sure every single person on the planet will have someone to vent to. Because while it may not seem like you have anyone, there's good news today—
You have Him.
God says His doors are always open. His ears are always ready to listen to those who call on Him. If you need a friend, He's there, and He'll be the shoulder you've been looking to cry on. Because even the Lord knows, the only way to let it go is to let it out. Tell Him the truth. Process your pain with God. Only then you'll be able to embrace the truth of the Scriptures. Only then you'll be able to bless those who hurt you and not curse them. Only then can you really, truly love—refusing to keeping a record of their wrong. You have to tell somebody the truth. And, no place is safer than the Lord.
So, as we enter into the new quarter of the year, don't step into it with old wounds you haven't grieved yet. Grieve it, so you can go and truly move on this time, letting the truth of the word of God spur you on. You don't have to wait either! God is not like your mentors or therapists or trusted friends with busy schedules who can't get to the phone 24/7.
God is available all of the time.
So, as soon as the pain comes up, tell Him about it—anytime, anywhere. At your desk, in your car, at dinner. Heck—in the shower! He sees all of your tears, hears all of your whispers, and is very present to help in times of your trouble.