Friday, May 23, 2008

Emotional Honesty

Yesterday was the day...the day to practice what I preach.

Last week I was able to encourage a dear friend who is going through a tough season of, we'll call, perserverance strengthening. The word was for her to be honest with herself in what she was actually feeling; not trying to positive talk her way through a moment of doubt, but to acknowledge it, to accept it, to embrace it. I wanted her to know that doubting God and doubting His plan didn't make her a bad christian; that if she was feeling beat down she didn't have to ignore those feelings or pretend that they weren't there. In fact, if she were to acknowledge them and take them to God (by praying, shouting, screaming, crying, etc...) that He would gladly take them from her and then He would be able to strengthen her in that weakness.

Well, like I said, it was time to practice what I preach. With my disabling back spasm, the past week has actually been amazing. I have felt so close to the Lord, closer to my husband, and completely humbled by those helping me with everyday tasks. But then along came Tuesday. I thought that I had been making small improvements, but when I woke up that morning, I was already in pain; I had regressed. I immediately felt defeated and hopeless. Thinking back to my recent advice, I decided that I needed to force myself to take it to God and not ignore my negative thoughts and pretend that they weren't there. So I sat on the bed, looked out the window, and cried.

In between my begging God to heal me and telling Him all the things that I couldn't do, the thoughts that poured out of my mouth were as follows: Why aren't you healing me? Have I not learned my lesson? What are you trying to teach me that I'm not getting? Am I being punished? Why is it that everytime I try to get into a sport or something physical it is taken away from me? I want to succeed and don't want to give up this time. Am I not taking care of my house good enough? Was I not being a good steward of my body? What is it? Why? Please,God, please!

The most overpowering mindset that I had was that I was doing something wrong that God was punishing me for, or some sin He was trying to rid me of. Which is interesting because the night before I had just read in 2 Corinthians how Paul had begged God 3 times to take away the thorn in his side and each time the Lord responded by telling him that His grace was sufficient and His strength is perfected in his weakness. And even before that Paul was explaining how works and following the Law does nothing for salvation. So wouldn't the opposite be true? Of course it is. All of these irrational thoughts are about me...not Him. These thoughts are suggesting that I'm still living under the law and not under His grace.

Regardless of this truth, I wasn't able to get there until I unloaded all of my emotions and irrational thoughts. And who better to unload them on than the One who can actually handle Father in heaven. I have to admit that I didn't feel all better when I was done. In fact, I didn't feel any better, just drained. It wasn't until the next day that I felt my spirits lifted, and not so much that I was on top of the world, but just enough to get my eyes back on the Lord; just enough to have a little hope again; just enough to see His strength being perfected in my weakness.


Leah said...

I understand completely.

Anna said...

Sarah that's awesome! I know that your word also really encouraged "the original recipient" but how cool that God used it to encourage you too! I actually needed to hear it too and I was encouraged last weekend when "the original recipient" told me what you had said. I have been going through a lot lately and when I heard what you had said I started to wonder if I was really trusting the Lord or just saying that I was trusting Him. It's a long journey and we are all a long ways from getting it right but at least God loves us through it all!!! Thanks for sharing.

Emily Faulknor Photography said...

Sarah, I love you and I love what God is doing in you and through you! I was heavily praying for you after we talked last week and I can't wait to reconnect and hear how the Lord has worked. You are a beautiful creation in and out. Thank you for the encouragement, the word from God that you gave me through all of this and for leading by example. :)

Amy said...

You are such an encouragment. I was feeling a little sorry for myself with my knee and all, and asking WHY!!??? You are in my prayers.