“What is it about tears that should be so terrifying? the touch of God is marked by tears…deep, soul-shaking tears, weeping…it comes when that last barrier is down and you surrender yourself to health and wholeness” David Wilkerson, The Cross and the Switchblade
I read this quote today and it really struck me. It spoke to me deeply about my own reactions to tears, it brought to mind many instances when I have experienced exactly the above.
I would describe myself as an emotional person, I cry at adverts, I cry at new stories, I cry when I am angry, happy, frustrated. It seems to be a bit of a default and I suppose that is why when I experience tears in a spiritual context, I tend to write it off.
I have said on many occasions ‘Why do I always get tears? Why can’t I get laughter?’ Belittling in a way the experience, the deep work that is taking place within me. But why?
In society, crying or tears are seen as weakness. A sense that you have lost control or have become ‘over emotional’. People who cry are often written off and not listened to – they have shown themselves to be fallible and incapable of maintaining their dignity.
I have sadly bought into this perception all to often and in the process been happy to write myself of as ’emotional’ as if it is a dirty word, not to be seen as a quality but to sneered at and embarrassed about.
I believe that God is doing a work in me about this. I believe He has started gently with the quote above but I know need to accept it is a big part of who I am and who He created me to be.
On Sunday, as I prayed in my kitchen before church, I was overwhelmed by emotion and I cried. Thinking back to this now, this was about sensing God’s heart and I wiped my tears away and ‘pulled myself together’ ashamed, feeling silly. I repent of that now.
After the service, when I prayed for friends again I was overwhelmed by tears and it was again God’s heart – I realised it more then, I did not allow it to hinder me but to spur me on and I felt that God was working, that he was moving. I accepted the tears.
Who am I to deny attributes in myself when ‘I am fearfully and wonderfully made’? I have not been called to write myself off. There are plenty who will, there is an enemy who will make sure of it but I am not to join in with that – to belittle God.
Can we reclaim the word ’emotional’? Can we accept tears as the touch of God?
How often do we sing or pray ‘break my heart for what breaks yours’ and then berate ourselves for feeling the emotion and weeping? How often do we ask to see the world and people through God’s eyes and then put ourselves down for getting ’emotional’?
Will you join me from today and accept that tears are not a weakness but a sign that we have experienced something of the heart of God? The heart of God for those we are praying for, for our current situation, for the stories we read about and watch on the news.
Will you join me in recognising that compassion is something far more than just thinking ‘Oh that’s sad.’
Will you join me in getting emotional with God?