It’s okay to not be okay sometimes. This is simple to write and say, but hard to let myself live out. Being open and vulnerable about how hard life can be makes me feel pathetic and weak. I’m often tempted to think that if I’m close to God and doing everything right then I shouldn’t feel this way. That if I’m not okay or struggling to be joyful I can’t be godly. Lately God has been using a hard, deep trial to teach me that it’s okay to let myself be realistic about my pain and suffering because that ultimately draws my eyes back to Him. I hope that in sharing my jumbled thoughts and struggles on here you will be encouraged to share your own and grow to love and appreciate the grace of God in your life as I share about His work in mine.
I am so thankful for our church, and for our Elders who faithfully preach the Word each week. Over the time that we have been at Kenwood, Pastor Jim has been preaching through the Psalms. I have loved every bit of this study and it has been so nourishing for my mind and heart.
One thing that I have been learning is that it’s okay to be realistic about our struggles and how hard they are. Often, David was broken and down in the dumps. He cries out to God often through the psalms, about how the trials he is going through are crushing and weighty. David isn’t bashful when it comes to sharing his struggles. He doesn’t pretend everything is fine when it surely isn’t. Pastor Jim has mentioned numerous times how the transparency of the Psalmist is meant to encourage us. Everything is not always perfect and happy, and we shouldn’t pretend that it’s so.
Over the past year I have been walking through a trial of waiting that has intensified in the last 8 months. Right now, it seems like God wants us to keep waiting; to keep walking through this deep, dark night of the soul. There are many days filled with tears and discouragement. Many hours spent wondering why, when, what if. I’m tired of waiting, and some days I feel like I can’t go on.
I know and believe the truth that God is sovereign, He is good, and He is working out all things for my good and His glory. I understand that He is in control, and that His timing is best. But just because I know that truth in my head doesn’t always mean that my emotions go along with it. There are days of overwhelming sadness and heart ache, and it’s okay to have those days. Those are the days when the Psalms are especially precious to me.
I love how God perfectly orchestrates the timing of everything. This summer Matt Searles came to Kenwood and performed some songs from his new album, Tumbling Sky: Psalms for Weary Souls. God knew Matt Searle’s ministry was just what I needed during this time. If you haven’t heard of Matt before, I would highly recommend his music! Beautiful words and music that always draw my mind to the Word and my heart to worship God. I love what he wrote to describe his album:
“In a society uncomfortable with brokenness and suffering, and in a church culture where struggles and doubts may not always seem welcome, the Psalms are a precious gift, as God gives us words to pray to him in all seasons of life. The psalms teach us authentic spirituality – that brokenness is not a sign of spiritual failure, that sadness is not a denial of the gospel, that tears are not incompatible with the hope of resurrection we have in Christ. Jesus doesn’t say ‘Come to me you who are happy, come to me you who have everything sorted out, come to me you who have all your questions answered.’ Jesus says ‘Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.’”
It’s okay to be broken and tearful. Life is hard, and just because you follow Jesus doesn’t mean you will be happy all the time and everything will be flowery. Yes, there are beautiful, fun days filled with laughter, happiness and praise, but there are an awful lot of deep sorrowful, aching moments as well. Because of the sin, we will never be pain-free until glory. This world is broken, and its brokenness brings many trials that we will all have to walk through sooner or later.
Now just because I’m being realistic about how hard this chapter of our life has been doesn’t mean than I don’t have hope and joy in Christ. Even in the darkest moments, I don’t fully dissolve into despair because God gives me hope. He is always at work making things new and saving His creation, pushing back the darkness of sin with the glorious light of His love and grace. Because I know His steadfast love which He proved by giving Himself to die for me on the cross, I know He loves me still and has a good purpose for this trial. Yes, it’s the darkest road I’ve walked through in my life so far, but there’s always a Light shining somewhere in the sky, even if it grows faint because of my wandering.
My favorite song from Matt’s album is “How Long O Lord?” which is based on Psalm 13. Every time I listen to it, I dissolve into tears. David is really struggling, and God isn’t answering, but David knows he can trust in God’s steadfast love.
“How long O Lord will you forget me?
How long O Lord will you hide your face away?
How long O Lord must anxious thoughts arise in me?
And all the day have sorrow in my heart?
Consider me – give me an answer Lord
Light up my eyes, or my soul will sleep in death
My enemies threaten me on ev’ry side
And they rejoice every time I fall
But I will trust your steadfast love
Your grace and mercy shown to me
My soul will sing to you my Lord
For I know you have been good to me”
I hope to find the words to write more specifically about this trial sometime soon, but for now I wanted to share what God has been teaching me about how to deal with my emotions through this.
If you are struggling to hold it all together, thinking that you need to keep a smile on to be spiritual, know that it’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to be broken. Give yourself permission to acknowledge how hard life can be at times. That’s when God can use us best because His power works in our weakness. So let yourself cry. Pour out your broken heart to God, and let Him carry your burden and comfort you. Trust in His steadfast love for you, and hope in Him.