Getting emotional with God

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“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?

 

Walking with God

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The phrase ‘walking with God’ is one that is often used but do we really think about what it means? In Genesis God walked with Adam and Eve in the garden – amazing. The closeness and depth of relationship that allowed.

It is available to us right now thanks to Jesus’ death and resurrection but how many of us take hold of it?

At times in my own ‘walk’ I am guilty of holding God at arms length, or of treating our relationship as one of sharing platitudes with a lofty far away being.

When you walk with someone, you tend to walk side by side. At times they may go ahead of you and make sure the way is clear or that you can safely navigate. As you walk, there is a dialogue, a conversation and it allows a certain closeness. You walk in the same direction and you make progress together.

Today, I felt like I was finally in step with God once again and I realised that the one thing I did differently was to just be and not do. Sounds simple? I really think it is that easy.

Recently in my Christian life I have tried to force things I realise. I had been over thinking everything that is had rendered me all but silent. I didn’t pray out because I convinced myself I needed to have all of my words in order before I began. I didn’t sing out because I only had one line. I prayed for people but didn’t step out in bringing words in case they were wrong.

This morning before church I listened to some worship songs and let myself just be and worship – out of that came a prayer for our church that resulted in tears as I saw God’s love afresh.

When we prayed before the service I was amazed to hear the words I had prayed privately in my kitchen being repeated by different members of the congregation and I prayed out myself, speaking boldly, not stumbling over my words.

After communion, there was a time of ministry and prayer. I prayed for a friend and her daughter and two other friends. As I prayed it wasn’t about me but all about what God wanted to do and say. There was a real freedom in that , one that I haven’t experienced before. I was not self conscious because there was no ‘self’ in what I was doing.

There had been a word brought about God wanting to release the gift of Prophesy – as you know if you have read my previous post about dreaming big dreams – this is on my list. I didn’t have prayer about this as I was praying for others but I felt in my heart that it had been for me and I felt really encouraged as it is only so recently I have spoken this dream aloud.

I was helping pack up after the service and the pastor spoke to me saying that he believed the word about prophesy was for me. That as soon as it was brought he thought it was for me and he looked over at me and my bump ( I am 29 weeks pregnant) and felt that God was birthing words in me, that this was a time of preparation and expectancy for things to come.

I explained that it was really exciting to hear that as I had felt that God was birthing new dreams and visions within me through my pregnancy and that I had recently finished reading ‘A life unleashed’ by Christine Caine in which she uses the stages of pregnancy to describe dreams being birthed within us.

Far too much for coincidence and so much in a short space of time from writing that first post of speaking my dreams aloud. I am definitely maintaining momentum and it is is truly exciting.

So, today I felt that I finally understood what it meant to be ‘walking with God’ and that there is no better feeling.

How is your walk with God? What has He been doing in your life? Do you need to rediscover what it means to be walking with God?

Coffee with God

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I started reading a book this morning ‘A life unleashed’ by Christine Caine and one of the suggestions she makes in the first chapter is to have a coffee with God.

This got me thinking about the way I often approach God – with a list of requests or some hurried thank you or a few rocket prayers. How at times, I can fall into the trap of over spiritualising my quiet times and over complicating them.

What is it about coffee? Coffee shops are springing up everywhere. Our language has been infiltrated with hundreds of descriptions of different coffee combinations. Our high streets are saturated with them, often next to and opposite each other and sometimes even more than one branch within a few hundred metres.

I don’t actually think it is because we have become a nation of coffee connoisseurs ( you may beg to differ) but more to do with the activity and act of going for a coffee. Common parlance is ‘Shall we go for a coffee?’ Let’s meet up for a coffee.’ This is rarely about the coffee itself but more to do with sitting together, conversing, enjoying each other’s company – sharing with each other. Coffee shops offer the opportunity to sit, watch the world go by, enjoy a hot drink ( which we all know makes everything infinitely better) and to talk, face to face.

I love to ‘go for coffee’. I find it relaxing and one of the best ways to catch up with someone.

So, the question is why, when faced with the suggestion to have coffee with God did it seem like a revolutionary concept? Why have I separated something I do so easily and commonly from God?

The conversation over coffee flows easily, it is not hurried, there are moments of stillness and silence that are not uncomfortable. There is a sharing, a bonding and an important part of relationship building and strengthening that goes on. Surely, it could also be this simple with God?

Conversations are two way – so today as I sit with my coffee ( decaf latte, no sugar) I am going to invite God along. There are a few questions I have for Him, a few things I need to say, some asking of why? about situations people close to me are facing. How are certain things going to happen and come to fruition? I also know there is going to be a lot of listening on my side too – moments of stillness and moments of silence.

Who do you most need to have coffee with today? When did you last have ‘ a coffee with God’ moment?

Maintaining momentum

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Yesterday, I spoke my big dreams aloud, put them out there for the whole world to see – what now?
How do I ensure that I am maintaining momentum?

The key thing for me is to ensure that I don’t push things too hard or too quickly – this is a journey and the destination is not one that can be arrived at in a few days, weeks or even months.

Therefore, I could just sit back and wait for it all to happen but that isn’t how it works. There needs to be activity day to day that ensures I keep moving forward, however small the steps, and don’t stagnate.

I read a book yesterday ‘The Grace Outpouring – blessing others through prayer’ This is the story of God’s work at Ffald-y-Brenin, a retreat centre in rural Wales. It raised a few thoughts for me :

1. The ‘Grace First’ approach. One that Christians and churches claim they have but do we in practice?

2. Praying blessing over people, the local area and the nation. This is something I want to explore further. Is there a tendency to over complicate or to try and force things?

3. Building houses of prayer. This concept really moved something within me and has got me thinking about how it could work practically in my local area. Where would it be? Who would be involved? What impact could it make?

These seeds of ideas and inspiration being sown because I focused some time on reading about what others have done – what worked and what didn’t. How it all began and grew.

These are things I need to think further about, pray over and seek God for. The important thing is doing the seeking.

Friends contacted me about my post yesterday with encouragement and words that I need to spend time weighing and meditating on.

What if I hadn’t written the post? What if I had kept everything internal?

There is a momentum and it all began with speaking aloud the desires of my heart but I can’t stop there.

When you have felt stirred, moved or inspired to act, what have you done to ensure you have maintained momentum?

Busyness

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‘Beware the barreness of a busy life.’ Socrates

I read this quote yesterday and it really hit home.

Recently, I have felt quite overwhelmed by the amount of work I seem to have piling up, by the fact I have no free weekends until after Christmas and just by the fact that I don’t feel I have time to breathe.

For the past two days we have had no internet at home. This has meant I have not been able to work at home. It has been unnerving but in a way quite freeing.

Tonight, I even read some of my book we are discussing at book club tomorrow night. I might even get it finished in time.

You see, I have lost perspective, become blinkered and it needs to stop.

At our senior management meeting tonight, I said it as was, said that I was concerned about the lack of evidence I could find of paperwork and  student work. Concerned by the lack of support from staff when there is an incident.

I was listened to. Offered support and strategies and it was recognised that I am constantly problem solving for everyone.

Part of the problem is that I do try to do it all and I can’t. The other thing is, I now need to practice tough love.

This is where I need to work on my courage and strength.

I have been over emotional this week and not myself.

Tomorrow night, I have book club. This is something I started and run to ensure that I remember to still have a life outside of work.

Saturday, I am off to The Southbank to meet friends and go out for lunch.Making sure busyness does not leave me with barreness.

Sunday, I will be at church as Godmother to my friends daughter as she is dedicated. I am still moved and taken a back that I was asked.

Sometimes, I wonder how people do life without church. The support network and depth of relationship I share with people there is something that I could not live without.

The fact that I know I have people upholding me in prayer each day and people checking in on how I am on a daily basis.

Even when it is hard, I know I am not alone.

I will continue fighting the barreness of a busy life.

Overcoming

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Image courtesy of [adamr] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I have just finished watching the film ‘Soul surfer’ the story of Bethany Hamilton. She lost an arm in a shark attack and yet still became a professional surfer.

One of the main themes of the film is that of overcoming.

It got me thinking about overcoming and that throughout life each of us is attempting to overcome something.

It may not be as extreme as a shark attack but it may be overcoming an obstacle, overcoming our own fears, overcoming our past, overcoming a health issue, financial issues, redundancy, bereavement.

Today, I think there are people who will read this post and it will strike a chord. To those people, I want you to know that you are not alone.

We are all striving, we are all working on something, battling something, we are all imperfect.

Let’s stop pretending. Let’s stop answering ‘I’m fine’ when it isn’t true. I am not condoning pity parties but simply asking that we talk more.

There are numerous times when the right words from someone have turned my whole day around.

Who should you be talking to?
Who could you be listening to?

When my obstacles seek to overwhelm me, when I begin to lose hope, I lift my eyes to one who is greater than all of those things.

To those who are overcoming – my prayers are with you today.

‘In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.’ John 16:33

Encourage

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Thursday night, I am usually shattered, ready for an early night, wanting to hide myself away from the world. We all feel this way at times.

Instead, I host up to 12 people at my house for life group, we meet  to chat, worship, pray and discuss. I meet with a group of friends, who feel like family to talk about what I am struggling  with, what is going well, what I want to do.

Their love, support and prayer enables me to cope in the difficult times, to enjoy the happy times, to cry in the miserable times and to maintain my hope.

Let’s face it life is hard, being a Christian is a challenging.

I am a Christian, that doesn’t mean I am perfect, it certainly doesn’t make me better than anyone else and it doesn’t mean I have it all together.

Each Thursday, I am encouraged to let go of the masks we so often wear, to be open, honest and vulnerable, to be the real me. The me I was created to be.

This should be scary but it allows me to be free.

We all need the opportunity to share and be listened to, to tell our story. To be honest about who we are and where we are at.

Encouragement is so important, it is something that is often lacking in our day to day lives. We need to do it more. We need to look after each other.

‘So encourage one another and build each other up, just as you are doing.’  1 Thessalonians 5:11

What do you think about encouragement?

When were you last encouraged?

When did you last encourage others?