There’s no worse feeling than the feeling of being lost – lost in grief, lost in self-pity and pain, lost in fear and despair, lost inside your own inner agony. I hate feeling lost! I much prefer certainty, easiness, and peace. Who doesn’t? So a lot of times I run away from those moments. I force myself forward, try to let it go, and keep on keeping on.
Now there are times in my life where that was exactly what I needed to do – shake it off and move forward. That was enough to help me find my path again. The challenge comes when I’m trying to shake something off but it keeps following me, mercilessly! No matter how hard I try to let the emotion go, it clings to me like a bad hangover, ugly and determined to make me miserable.
Unfortunately, I think sometimes we can confuse having times of weakness and pain with being a weak person. So we fight harder, stuff the emotion deeper, and hope to somehow suppress it until we choke it out. Never mind that we gain weight, work too hard, drink too much and alienate loved ones in the process. We’re lost in survival mode, never realizing what we’re doing isn’t really helping us find our way out.
Probably one of the greatest gifts I have learned from all the trials I’ve been through is to simply allow what I’m feeling to be. In other words, if I’m feeling deep pain and hurt, it’s okay to allow myself time to acknowledge and feel it. If I’m bogged down in self-pity, I give myself time to wallow there awhile, and permission to explore the whys and the hows, to discover the roots of the issue and the lessons to be learned. I allow myself to feel what I’m feeling without apology. I embrace my emotion.
Admittedly, it’s scary at first. Emotions can be messy, ugly things. And it’s easy to wander down your own rabbit holes, justifying your actions instead of looking for paths of growth. Yet even that has value; even wandering a bit off course teaches you some things about who you are, what you need, and ways you try to protect yourself to your own detriment. If you’re like me, you may also be afraid if you allow yourself to go there, you’ll never get back out again. Amazingly, you can and you do, usually much quicker than if you’re running from the pain.
I’ve found the best place to start is by crying out to God. Trust me, He’s got really broad shoulders – He can take it! In fact, there’s an entire book in the Bible called Lamentations written purely to express the grief God’s people were feeling when they were physically and emotionally lost and oppressed. The author Jeremiah says things like, “I weep and my eyes overflow with tears. No one is near to comfort me, no one to restore my spirit,” and “He (God) has broken my teeth with gravel; he has trampled me in the dust. I have been deprived of peace; I have forgotten what prosperity is.”
Sometimes I think we’re afraid to be real, painfully real, before our maker. We tend to sugar coat things because we know we’re standing before the creator of the universe, the Great I Am. For me, sometimes I’m so busy knowing what I should be thinking, about what’s right and wrong about my thinking, that I forget to take the time to discover what it is I actually feel—and get it out before God. I get caught up in the good little girl syndrome again.
The truth is God knows exactly what you’re feeling anyway. If you’re angry with Him, He already knows it. If you’re feeling disappointed with Him, or selfish, full of pity, depressed, bitter or hateful, He knows it anyway. Hebrews 4:13 says, “ No creature can hide from God: God sees all. Everyone and everything is exposed, opened for His inspection; and He’s the One we will have to explain ourselves to.” (Voice) He’s not afraid of your anger, your curses, your hurt or anything else you can throw at Him.
Yet there’s something about getting out our true hearts before God that is freeing. In Psalm 62:7-8 it says, “My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” (NIV) When we learn to get real with God, to not be afraid to be messy, He becomes a place of refuge for us, a shelter from the storms of life. We begin to realize in a very deep way God is not out to judge or condemn us, but to listen and be with us, no matter what.
There’s a Coldplay song I love called, “Everything’s Not Lost.” He sings:
When I counted up my demons, Saw there was one for every day, With the good ones on my shoulder, I drove the other ones away. So if you ever feel neglected, If you think that all is lost, I’ll be counting up my demons, yeah, Hoping everything’s not lost.
Don’t be afraid to count up your demons before God. He willhold your hand and help you find your path again!
For further thought: Are there any demons/emotions/situations you need to confront in your life? Carve out some time for yourself to really dig in to what you’re feeling so you can begin to work through it in a way that’s genuine and real.