How many of us are truly ‘good’ people? I’m not. I fail just about everyday. I’m not even sure why. Sometimes, I think it is just sheer stubbornness that has me acting like a four year-old little girl—chin jutting out and arms crossed. I even stomp my foot and mutter under my breath. Immediately afterward, I have a second of clarity—yes, only a second—and I think to myself, “Gee, you should be so proud. Who is more mature than you?” Answer: My four year-old little girl.
This goes for every aspect of my life. But perhaps most shamefully, it applies to my spiritual life.
When my world shakes, even a little, I tend to withdraw into my stubborn shell. I retreat, hide under the covers, don’t want to be around people…and all because I am scared. What will happen? What is going to happen? Where is God, and why did He let this happen to me? Under those covers, I start to fume: God, why aren’t you here? What did I do wrong?
You see, I always turn to God—with my arms crossed, or peeking under the covers—and ask HIM why He tossed pain onto my life. But I just turn to Him—look at him—but I don’t talk to Him. No, shamefully, when I am angry and hurt, I decide to play the I’m-not-talking-to-you game…as if that is going to help my situation.
Romans 1:20 (Message) says this:
“People knew God perfectly well, but when they didn’t treat Him like God, refusing to worship Him, they trivialized themselves into silliness and confusion so there was neither sense nor direction left in their lives.”
In my stubborn, painful moments when I refuse to speak to God, let alone acknowledge Him as my King, I’m setting myself up for some even more painful moments down the road. Not only am I choosing to forgo the grace that my Heavenly Father can give me, but I am opening myself up for lies and attacks from the enemy. I hear the lies almost immediately: You’re such a fool. It is your fault, really. You should have been better, behaved better. You should have tried harder. There really is no worth in you…
And sometimes, I start to believe the lies. They become some sort of scarf that I tie around my neck and wear wherever I go—even when the weather deems scarves as inappropriate attire.
I understand why I act this way. I know when, where, and how the initial pain that caused this ‘self-preservation’ mode to set into my life came from. I could explain it, justify it, hold onto it as my one and only—albeit GREAT excuse—but does it really matter? Does it help me any?
Actually, it does. It always helps to know when and where the first crack appeared...
I was a little girl when I was rejected and abandoned by my biological father. That’s when it happened. I understand that my biological father probably did not realize all the detrimental pain, both physically and emotionally, he was about to dump on me when he left. But it happened. I remember running out the screen door and sitting in the yard, crying. I prayed. I remember that…and I think it is key to note…that in that first moment of true pain…I prayed.
But the situation didn’t change. And lies set in.
Here I am, twenty-eight years old, and I am acting like the wounded, stubborn little girl I should have been on that day. It isn’t to my biological father that I get angry at either, but to my Heavenly Father. Why didn’t you protect me? Why aren’t you protecting me now?
Silly, isn’t it? Confusing, if nothing else.
If we cannot allow God to step in, scoop us up, and heal us of all pain—past and present—we are going to live out Romans 1:20 in one way or another. As for me, I’m going to get out from under the covers and unfold my arms. I’m going to relax my jaw and let my shoulders slump. I’m going to stand up, lift my eyes to my Father, and whisper, even as tears stream my cheeks, “This hurts…really, really bad.”
And that’s more than enough for healing to start. In that moment, I can cast all of my anxiety (and pain) on Him, for He cares for me (1 Peter 5:7). If His love can reach the heavens, and his faithfulness to the skies, than it can certainly meet me standing in my living room (Psalm 36:5). For no matter what has happened, or what will happen, He is my God who is mighty to save. He truly does delight in me (and you). He promises to quiet me with His love. He will rejoice over me with singing, because I make Him THAT happy (Zephaniah 3:17).
So, I will treat God as my King. Because even though life really does stink at times, I’m only seeing a tiny moment in the wonder that He has prepared for me…and the stinkiness was not part of it.