Why do we do this? Is it pride? Is it that we believe we can handle things on our own and shouldn’t need to bring Jesus into trivial things like emotions? Sure, that can certainly be part of it. But, if we’re honest, we often don’t bring these things to God because we want to hang onto them a while longer, and we know that he would want us to let go of them. Whether it be anger, bitterness, or a sense of self-righteousness about a situation, we know that acknowledging God in the situation will force us to let go of our unhealthy feelings and emotions about it.
Pleasure in anger
We all do this at some point or another. But why? Why not just be done with the burden and walk away feeling lighter and free? For one thing, sometimes it just feels better to be out of balance; anger is a perfect example that we can all relate to. You are never more convinced of your own absolute moral entitlement than when you feel that you have been wronged. Sure you could just move on, but it’s more important that everyone knows how right you are. Maybe you are holding out for an apology, or maybe you already got one that simply “wasn’t good enough.” Or, maybe you have been furious for so long that you don’t even know how to let go. Unresolved anger can eventually become a vicious self-perpetuating cycle that can eventually evolve into you having an angry disposition at all times without even knowing why.
Embarrassment and pain
How about embarrassment? How many of us have lost sleep dwelling on that embarrassing thing we did or said weeks, months, or even years ago? We keep replaying the moment over and over in our heads as if we could somehow change the past if we only think about it one more time.
Or perhaps, it’s something much worse. Maybe you lost someone you loved: a friend, a spouse or a child. And since then the only thing that you have felt is a crippling pain that you don’t think you will live to see the end of, it hurts so much that everything else feels numb. Anything else would be better than this feeling, even to feel nothing at all, and that is exactly what you are trying to do.
The bravery of hope
In every one of these situations we allow our circumstances, whether mundane or life altering, to pull us away from God instead of driving us towards him. Sometimes we can be consumed by our negativity for so long that the idea of hoping for something better becomes too frightening to pursue. It’s easier to stay where we have grown comfortable, than to face the challenges that will certainly lie before us if we choose to step out and trust that God has something better for us.
Songwriter Reese Roper once said, “The bravest thing of all is always hope.” It takes to courage to believe that things will get better, and it takes strength keep moving forward. But here is the beautiful thing, it doesn’t’ have to be our strength, in fact it really shouldn’t be.
Sometimes we think that we can’t come to God with our emotions; that we have to work them out and get them under control before we can pray and approach him. As if God doesn’t already know exactly why we scream and rage and cry in the night. The majority of the book of Psalms is David pouring his heart out before God, asking why these things are happening to him and how he will survive them. There is nothing wrong with literally crying out to God and saying that you don’t like what is happening in your life; that you are afraid, that you feel alone. Jesus would rather you scream at him instead of running away from him, because it is those moments when you seek him that you will find peace. When we draw near to him, he will draw near to us. Like a father holding his frightened hurting children, he brings healing through the pain, and gives us hope in the darkness. So whether you are fighting to keep your world in one piece, or if someone just cut you off in traffic, no matter the circumstance, don’t wait to bring it to God. The idea that we should clean ourselves up before coming to Jesus is the complete opposite of grace, he is waiting to shoulder our troubles for us, and he says that his yoke is easy, and his burden is light. Don’t wait.
Rick is a freelance writer and worship leader, he blogs at culturemakerblog.com, and tweets at @Letsmakeadeal26