Poured Out

Psalm 38: 9 – 10

Lord, all my desire is before You; and my sighing is not hidden from You. My heart throbs, my strength fails me; and the light of my eyes, even that has gone from me.

I am moved by David’s passion and how he lays his heart out before the lord. Is this something we do? Is this something I do?

When I am under stress, I turn into a turtle. I withdraw into my shell and hold everything inside. We all know, at least intellectually, that this is not good, not healthy, and completely non-productive. David had a better system. He poured out his heart to God, his beloved, his father. He emptied himself of every thought without judgment. He just said was he was thinking and what he was feeling without restriction or prejudice.

I know there are many things that we think and feel that we also know are completely invalid. We don’t want to say them because we know they are ludicrous. There is some sense in that but that mature, logical theory does not apply here. When we talk with our Father, we need to feel free to pour ourselves out as David did. You can be as irresponsible as a child and say everything you think, express every emotion you feel. It is His job to pick you up and put your feet back on the right track. We get so busy being grown-up with our stoic faces and stiff back that we functionally shut out our Father and His healing touch. We never let Him rescue us much less touch our broken hearts because we won’t allow ourselves to be completely open to Him. It is as if it is against the rules to let down our guard for even a moment.

We really need to learn that we can run into the shelter of the most high where there is no need for our guard, where we can exhale fully and let ourselves feel the depth and richness of human emotion. God is passionate, you know that right? And we are made in His image. He did not create us to be stiff upper lip, intransigent robots.

God said that David was a man after His own heart. We can meditate on that statement for days, weeks, even years. What was it about David that moved God’s heart? Why is it that we don’t find God saying of David that he stirred His imagination or made Him think? In other words, God reveals that David wasn’t a child of His soul or His mind. I am sure that David and God had great thoughts together. Of course they shared great images from their imagination. Yet when God described David, He reveals him as part of His own heart. David lived in the center of God’s being and I am sure that, to this day, David lives to sing his lovely songs to the Father and they share great joy together. However, when David lived on earth he shared all he thought and all he felt with the love of his heart, his first love, God the Father; Lord and King but Father above all.

Or should I say parent because Yahweh is both Mother and Father. He is One, the One. He is not segregated into Mother and Father but is both. All in all, all in one. He is everything we need. It is just an unfortunate result of language and our humanness that we have gender specific pronouns. Yahweh is as female as male so when you need a trait that we on earth define as feminine have no reservation for that which we need abides in our beloved in richness and fullness. H/she is all the compassion you need and has the answers to every hurt and every problem. We can, therefore, trust in an unhindered fashion. We can, and should, pour out our hearts which are full of fear, frustration, anger, worry, and anxiety. And when we pour it out to our God and Father, then we are no longer full of those negative emotions. We can safely give them to “Him”, and He will give us back the reassurance and confidence we need. The truth of that statement is readily detectable as you read the songs of David.

David’s psalms often begin with expressions of anguish. Sometimes all but the very end is full of the suffering, anger and torment of his situation but always, by the end of the psalm, God has restored him. In the end of every calamitous event is the resurrection of Jesus and the lifting of our own heads.

Here is the morale of the story – God cannot lift our heads if we are stiff necked and proud. It is when we bow our heads that we allow Him to be God. When we pour our guts out on the floor before Him, He can lift us up. Remember, it is in our weakness that we are strong for God teaches us, “My power is strongest when you are weak,” (2 Corinthians 12: 9). The revelation of that statement caused Paul to write, “When I am weak, then I am strong,” (2 Corinthians 12: 10). In other words, we can never put on His strength if we never abandon our own. Ours is just a shadow anyway. It is just a projected image of the true strength which is in our Dad.

God makes a trade with us, taking our misery and giving us His glory. Isaiah 61: 3 foretells this as Jesus’ calling, his ministry, “Giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.” We take our sadness, sorrow and misery, all of our challenges and frustrations to the Father and He trades with us giving us all of His goodness. He freely offers to trade happiness and joy for our sadness and grief.

So, be like David. Pour out your heart to God. Purge yourself of those toxic emotions and receive back joy unspeakable.

Kindly

Ephesians 4:32

Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

Let’s not leave this kindness topic just yet. In fact, for those of you who do word studies, look this one up on BibleGateway.com (There is also a link to Bible Gateway on my website). You will be impressed at how many times God brings this up.

Today’s verse gives us a little better insight into what kindness looks like in application. The first is so obvious that we sometimes miss it. Kindness is Christ. As we read the scriptures and watch his interactions with the world we begin to see what a sanctified life really looks like. Jesus was moved by compassion. That means that he did something. He was moved to do something. Also, though, let us not lose sight of the fact that he felt compassionately. What does that mean but that he allowed his heart to feel something for someone else’s situation. Of course, we know that love is not selfish but when I think of Jesus experiencing emotions based on a life not his own it makes me think how I should be less absorbed with how I feel about my world. It also highlights for me that Jesus was a person of emotion rather than one of a stoic stiff upper lip. We should feel and those emotions should not be spent only on our own stuff.

Secondly, God wants us to be tender-hearted. What? Does He not realize we are western, rugged individualists? What is He thinking? I remember a commercial from many years ago were the announcer declared that something was “rough and tough like alligator bags.” I was young and was influenced by that slogan. I thought we were all supposed to be rough and tough. I have worked on it for many years now and believe I have developed proficiency in this only to find that Abba, Father wants me to be tender-hearted! What a kick in the teeth. Don’t you feel like you open yourself up to being hurt if you go through life tender-hearted? Well, I certainly did but I am learning a new reality, a reality born of the Kingdom of God rather than of the world. It turns out that when we live in the Spirit, walking hand in hand with him, he cares for our hearts. We can be tender because he has our hearts in his hands. Who knew?

Kindness is important to God. If it is important to Him then it stands to reason that it should be important to us as well. Is it? Have we ever prayed asking Him to teach us and lead us in kindness? Most of us need that kind of help. There are some of you who are just nice but the rest of us need direction. We can no longer be self-centered and achieve a kind heart because kindness requires us to think of other people’s needs and comfort. This is an area that we really must proactively pursue with God. It may not always be easy but it is the way of God’s heart.

Recovery

Psalm 35: 26 – 28          NIV

May all who gloat over my distress be put to shame and confusion; may all who exalt themselves over me be clothed with shame and disgrace. May those who delight in my vindication shout for joy and gladness; may they always say, “The Lord be exalted, who delights in the well-being of his servant.” My tongue will speak of your righteousness and of your praises all day long.

It has taken three days to share with you the insight and emotional outpouring of David which is found in the 35th Psalm. I wanted to give you this psalm because I know that we all have been in David’s shoes emotionally.

One of the key points we can glean from this passage is that David knew his Bible. In this passage he essentially prayed Genesis 12: 3 which reads, “I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse.” It is always wise to pray the promises God has already given us. Where there is a passage which relates to our circumstance then we already know God’s will. In this case, all we have to do is line up our prayer with the promise God has already given.

The other point which I think is key is to notice how David ends this Psalm. He was certainly in great distress and poured out his heart to God but when he gets to the end he has reached the point of declaring God’s greatness. That is one of the keys to David’s success and to his great relationship with God. There are other psalms wherein David begins with a recitation of his troubles but always at the end he has laid his problem at the throne of God and taken up his instrument to sing praises to the Most High. This is a very valuable lesson. It is acceptable to lament your woes. It is okay to tell God your troubles and your feelings, but do not end your conversation there. Keep communicating with God until you reach the praise and thanksgiving stage. Keep praying until your trust in His saving grace has returned to you. Remember too, that our New Testament instruction from Jesus is to pray for our tormentors. Their actions will return to them because of the bad seed they have sown. However, we now have the power and authority to even save them from themselves because in Jesus we can pray for their healing and a reversal of their fortunes. It certainly is not the easiest thing in the world to do but we have Jesus, and in him all things are possible, even praying for our enemies.

Knowing Truth

John 11: 35

Jesus wept.

No, I didn’t leave anything out above. That is the entire thirty-fifth verse of John 11. Is anyone other than me surprised? There is no possibility of misinterpretation of this verse; there is no gray area. It’s simple. Jesus was a man who wept; a man who was comfortable in his skin; a man who knew how to express honest emotion.

If you have not read You Are the Placebo by Dr. Joe Dispenza, let me recommend it to you. Within its pages you will learn about the most revealing and amazing biology and neurobiology discoveries of our times. Scientists are uncovering the hidden secrets of human function. They are also discovering that we can determine these outcomes. Our thoughts and emotions play a key role in this self-determination. In the foreword Dr. Dawson Church writes, “Joe is one of the few science writers to fully grasp the role of emotion in transformation” and that you can “heal yourself by simply translating thought into emotion.”

There is a reason God gave us emotional capacity. The expression of legitimate emotions is a critical, if misunderstood, feature of a healthy body and mind. None the less, we are increasingly becoming people of limited emotional content much less emotional expression. Whole countries have adopted a stoic persona. Men are frequently heard to say they are not supposed to show emotion and women have become victims of the same bad teachings. It has become a universal problem. We are living a lie. Our emotional lives are one big, fat lie.

I remember making a decision at age three that crying was “bad” and that I was not going to do it. Bit by bit I anesthetized my heart so that I wouldn’t feel. If I couldn’t feel, then I couldn’t hurt. If I didn’t hurt, I wouldn’t cry. People actually taught their sons not to cry. Then these sons married and their wives were constantly disappointed in the lack of emotional connection they shared with their husbands. These same emotionally bereft humanoids created the world of commerce. Then when woman began entering the business world they were increasingly trained to check their emotions at the door. We didn’t create robots. We became them.

If we would tell the truth, though, not all emotions are banned. The expression of anger is very much in vogue. So, we channeled all of our emotions into expressions of anger. Are you tired, sad, frustrated, intimidated, worried? Then throw a fiery fit in order to release those pent up emotions. Yell, scream, cuss! That is the only viable way to release all of the energy those emotions are bringing to you. You see, the truth is, it is only the tender emotions that we have banned. We’ve made it all but impossible to express gentleness, kindness, empathy, love, concern, caring and all the rest.

And while we are telling each other the truth, let us consider sports. We confess that we are not emotional and yet, has anyone watched a soccer match or a US pro football game? Are you going to try to convince me that the spectators are unemotional and cannot express emotion? Really? Perhaps, though, the fact that people can go to a sporting event and emote all over the place explains their popularity. The arts are dying in this country but sports are ever on the rise. Why?

For my part, I am tired of hearing people confess that they are unemotional or can’t express their emotions. That is a lie right out of the pit of hell and if that is your confession my advice is to revise your confession. Why would you continue to confess something that is in direct violation to the person of Jesus Christ?

In my studies I learned that each time we cry the biochemical make-up of our tears is different. The chemical make-up of our tears is bioengineered by our bodies to counteract the chemicals being released into our body. So, the release of tears, crying, is good for your body as well as your heart. It is detoxifying. God knew exactly what He was doing when He created us.

Let’s get a revelation folks. We’ve been played. Our emotions are God given and God inspired. And here is one other little insight; you are going to have a real difficult time getting close to the Father without a healthy set of emotions because He is one emotional dude. He wants to live in your heart and emotions. If you turn them off where does He go?  

There is help, though. When you truly and honestly open your entire heart to God and quit holding onto the lie, He moves right in and brings healing with Him. He will touch you in the tenderest of ways. Don’t be afraid. You are completely safe and He will give you such security and comfort. You were never made to be strong. You were made in tenderness. Take some time alone with Dad and let Him remove the calluses and fill you with love. It is a great way to live!