"We must come out of denial about our losses,. Where formerly we had numbed our anger and pain at life's disappointments, now we must come to terms with our losses and all their accompanying emotions...Grace is freeing me to no longer minimize, justify, or deny my losses, but to face them with integrity and grieve over them. Coming out of denial about past losses has been critical to my healing process. ~ Nancy Groom
This quote was in my Bible study this morning. I am doing Becoming a Woman of Freedom by Cynthia Heald. I thought this was very interesting because I think, sometimes, in the Christian community it is almost as if people are afraid to feel their feelings. At least any negative feelings. If someone hurts us, our first response it to brush it aside as if it didn't happen or didn't hurt.
The truth is, those wounds that are not acknowledged and bound up, tend to fester. So we have people sitting in church that are covered in these small, festering nicks and cuts. Sometimes, it isn't anything big - like nobody thanked them for organizing all the funeral dinners or passed the praise onto someone else. Sometimes, it is bigger and deeper hurts. Whatever kind of wound it is, though, big or small, if we minimize, justify or deny those hurts, they tend to fester and instead of going away, they get bigger or deeper.
Why do we do this? Maybe it seems more spiritual if we pretend nothing bothers us or hurts us. BUT, we don't see this example in the Bible. If you look at the Psalms, it is filled with David crying, whining, complaining and basically just pouring every emotion he had out to God. It's interesting that by the end of the Psalm, he was usually praising God. He could do that because he wasn't filled up with bitterness and hurt.
In Psalms 116:1,2 it says, "I love the Lord, because He hears my voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live." It doesn't say, God wants you to suck it up and never acknowledge your feelings or even that you have any.
Personally, I think a lot of this stems from our desire to be "nice." We tend to be passive aggressive. I used to be passive aggressive. I'd smile and nod but inside I was thinking, "You jerk!" I thought I did this because I was a nice person and just didn't want to upset anyone, but I really did it because I was protecting myself. I wanted people to like me and think of me in a certain way, and they wouldn't if I let loose with what I was really thinking! What changed me from being passive aggressive? When I realized other people were doing the same thing to me and it felt like I was being lied to. And don't let anyone fool you, saying one thing, while feeling something totally different IS a form of lying. If I tell you, "No, no, it's fine - don't worry about it" but inside I am seething and angry and stop calling you - that is dishonest to you and not very fair. You have no opportunity to make it right. You are left in the dark and wondering why I am no longer calling you.
We walk around with these facades with other believers - yes, everything is fine; yes, my family, my kids, my marriage - they are all perfect. But inside, we're dying. Our families, our kids, and our marriages aren't perfect, but we have to keep up appearances. I am NOT saying you need to stand up in church and air every shred of dirty laundry in your home or life. There is such a thing as discretion. What I am saying is that you CAN say, pray for me, I'm struggling. You can let down that facade and let people in - you will be surprised at how many there are that really care about you and want to help.
The church is supposed to be fellow believers helping each other to live as new creatures here in this fallen world. We aren't called to pretend with each other or to tear each other down. We are called to speak truth to each other in love. And you know, the Bible tells us, "The truth will set us free." So, take out those old hurts that are moldering in the back of your mind and heart. Acknowledge that YES, they hurt and it wasn't very kind of so and so to do that to you. Then turn all that hurt over to God. You will be surprised at how free you feel!