This is follow up from a post I wrote a few days ago. Check it out here.
Too often, I stuff my feelings in order to protect myself or those around me from uncomfortable topics and emotions.
In my previous post on this topic, I mentioned that sometimes I just want to be able to share, to get some of that out.
While there have been many times I could have used a shoulder to cry on I an ear to hear, realistically, it’s not always or even often available. With that said, how do we get through the tough times without feeling like a burden to others?
I am learning that turning to God in everything, praise or problem, is key in my life.
Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Even though there have been people in my life I could have turned to in tough moments, I have always worried about becoming a burden or pushing them away with my baggage. I’m slowly learning that it’s okay to open up but even more so, I’m learning how to turn to God in those moments when my heart is so heavy.
Scripture, prayer and music have all been huge in my life in recent years.
Music has always had a huge part in my life. Anytime I was feeling down, I would drown myself in songs that I could relate to, songs that poured out the same feelings I was feeling, songs that made me feel like I was not alone. I clung to the lyrics and played them over and over. On a side note, many times the music I chose reflected the world I was in which was not always good. While it left me feeling like I wasn’t alone, I see now my choices in music weren’t always the best choices and sometimes fueled my negative thoughts and feelings. I’m a big believer in garbage in = garbage out (just ask my kids how many times I’ve used that on them, lol!) and am very thankful so many Christian artists are out there now. You can find music in any style – hip hop, rap, country, normal – in Christian music. It’s refreshing!
Prayer has not always been an easy one for me. I have always prayed but I admit, I’ve gone through moments of doubt and have asked questions like, “If God knows everything, why do we need to pray?”, “Why would God want to listen to me?” and “Will my prayers really make a difference?”. Some days, I still battle those questions but I do believe prayer is important. I believe it’s one way for us to build/grow in our walk with Christ. I believe God uses prayer as a way to keep us connected to him. When we pour out our hearts in prayer, we are seeking him. When we fail to pray, we are trying to do too much of the work on our own.
Scripture is a tool. Did you know that? It’s not just pretty little letters typed into a nice leather bound book. It’s history, it’s real peoples lives, it’s their stories, their trials, their triumphs. It’s the emotions they felt, the mistakes they made, the faith they held tight to, the distress and loss, and so much more. There is really nothing I could face today that I couldn’t find similar responses or emotions to in the Bible. Every time I have looked a particular subject up, I have found verses that encourage me, words that speak to me, stories that that I can relate to. Scripture is a tool for when you are weary, hurting, in need of encouragement, hope, peace, to strengthen your faith, give you courage, guide your steps, bring light to your life and so much more.
I haven’t always had a lot of friends. I still don’t have a lot, but the ones I do have, I love with all my heart. I put 110% into those cherished relationships and my heart aches for the friendships that have passed. When someone takes the time to accept me, get to know me and love me just for being me, that means the world to me. The thing is, to be a great friend back, I can’t put unreasonable expectations on them. I can’t expect them to be here for me every waking hour. I can’t expect them to drop everything and rush to my side every time I feel sad or down. I can’t expect them to know the right words to say all the time or to read my mind. Sure, they may want to do those things at times, but to expect that from anyone would just be too much.
That’s where God comes in. He is available anytime, any day, any place. All he wants is for us to come to him. If that’s in prayer, then I pray. If that’s through Scripture then I soak myself in his words. If that’s through music, then I crank up some Casting Crowns, Third Day or my current favorite, Rhett Walker Band.
He has never failed me. I have failed him. I have turned away from him. I have been angry, doubted his love and concern for me but he has never failed me.
Psalm 118:24 This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 136:1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever.