My (Preferred) Alter-Ego (come find me here!)

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Monday, April 6, 2009

get it all out

have you ever felt like you were "too much"--like you're saul standing at least a foot taller than the crowd around you and trying desperately to hide? i often think we've bought into this concept of what a Christian should be. we package relationship with Jesus in a neat little box and then tell ourselves that we should squelch anything that might threaten to spill over the sides. we tell ourselves that if we're not calm and controlled, we're not operating in the fruit of self-control; and to an extent, this is true.

sometimes i feel like i'm this fractured person. while i love order, quiet, and a good book, i also love dancing in worship and shouting with laughter when i'm with my friends. people have commented on the grace with which i carry myself ever since i was a little girl, and yet i routinely walk into walls and trip over things that aren't there. i like dogs, but don't want one; i appreciate vivid colors, but mostly wear black; and i have essentially no athletic stamina, but exult in the feeling of the wind in my face.

the life of king david blesses me. he was just so very human, so utterly ordinary, so unfettered in his emotions. that last one is my favorite--he was a man given to passion, an emotional roller coaster. often, he would run the full gamut of emotions in a single psalm, going from begging God to rescue him, to reproaching himself for doubting, to speaking forth his confidence in the goodness of God. he carried authority, fought bravely, danced with wild abandon, and cried out in anguish. and God liked him. even beyond loving him (something we often devalue--afterall, doesn't God have to love us?), God liked being with him. He never chastised david for being "too much." david's life was wild, messy and unrestrained, and God liked it that way.

i'm firmly convinced that God likes drama. history shows us that He has a record leaving things until the last minute to prove Himself. just ask the israelites trapped at the red sea. messiness doesn't scare Him.

it scares us.

we walk in and try to suppress emotions--like the priest rebuking hannah when she was mourning before the Lord. "there, there--hush now. everything will be alright."

and yes, it's good to practice self-control. we cannot be a people ruled by our emotions, who come and go on a whim. paul tells us that the race we run is one of endurance and steadiness. if i run away from conflict when my emotions dictate, i never grow. but at the same time, i'm learning that God doesn't try to hush me when i run to Him in pain. i used to think that was cruel. what loving God would watch me shake in grief without trying to stop me? i'm finding that it's the most loving of all. He lets me purge all the poison in the emotional wound before bringing healing, like a loving father rinsing the dirt out of a cut before applying the band-aid. i can cry, scream, laugh, wail, shout, or groan until my soul is satisfied without Him wandering off to find something else to do. no matter the length or the volume, He's there, and He's not intimidated.

as cliched as it sounds, my point is this--take it to Jesus. david gave praises to God because He carries our burdens every day. He didn't fashion us to be pack-horses, weighed down by all the "stuff" that comes along. He's the only one whose shoulders are broad enough to carry that. and He doesn't mind a messy transfer. after all, Jesus tasted the heart of anguish in a blood-soaked, lacerated death by choice.

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