Focus Scripture: Isaiah 54:10
Psychologists call songs that get stuck in your head an “earworm” and the best solution to getting that song out of your head is to focus intently on listening to the entire song through to the end, then immediately engaging the brain in some sort of puzzle activity. So next time you happen to get the Biebs stuck in your head, listen to his song through to the end, from start to finish.
Sometimes I feel like my emotions are the same way. I get hopped up on the anger/hurt/fill-in-the-blank adrenaline vibe (very scientific) and I have to get through the entire emotion and work through it before making amends or having Kum Ba Yah moments and hugging it out. I have allowed myself to act on those negative emotions because honestly, I am a sinner and I’ve allowed Satan to creep his way in.
Have you ever been in an argument with your spouse where you were so angry that when they tried to reach out for you, you pulled away? More like, ripped away then gave the stare-down that said, “Do. Not. Touch. Me.”.
Or have you ever been so sad and withdrawn that when someone tried to comfort you, it felt more like a hand over your nose and mouth, preventing you from breathing than the comfort it was supposed to provide, because you just weren’t done with your misery yet?
Lately, I’ve wondered how many times I have done this to God. How many times have I been angry, hurt, disappointed, or fearful, or some other self-serving feeling, but chose to continue pouting because I wasn’t done feeling sorry for myself yet? How many times has God offered to shelter, care for, love, comfort, and embrace me in these times only to have me stiff arm Him and say, “I’ve got this…for now”?
Because if I am honest, there are times I’m just not ready to feel all warm and fuzzy yet and I just have to see these selfish emotions through to the end. And allowing myself to act on those emotions…it’s sinful.
And when someone I love tries to comfort me before I’ve had a chance to see it through to the end, sin takes hold and I shut them out. I alienate God, my husband, friends and others who care about me. They reach out to provide the healing power of touch and I reciprocate with a stare and squared shoulders.
When we need it the most, those who love us are there for us, as they have promised and pledged, and we turn them away. And even more so, God has promised in so many ways to be there for us in all situations and we turn Him away also.
But God is not our back-up feel good plan. He is not the Power-That-Be that we finally resort to once we have exhausted all of our plans, only to find they have failed us.
God is our comfort in our time of need and all of the time. He is always there ready with his arms open and because we are sinners, because we are broken, we turn him away. And its sinful. He understands our suffering, how we suffer, how we torture ourselves and how we allow Satan into our lives. God knows us inside and out – he understands our suffering:
Psalm 56:8 (NIV)
Record my misery; list my tears on your scroll - are they not in your record?
Some of us feel suffocated by embrace in our time of need and some of us crave it. Some of us want time to process and some need a huge circle of friends. Some need a weekend away and some need to stay in bed. Some need to power clean their house and some need to take a long walk through the woods. Some need to cook and bake and some need to fast – and God knows best how to comfort us:
10 Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
God knows that we can try to work through all of these activities on our own, but he reminds us that we do not HAVE to. And he reminds us that when we surrender not just to his authority in all things but surrender to his comfort because He loves us so much and we love him, we will actually want to surrender.
I don’t think you have to give up your bake-a-thon, fast, girlfriend weekend, etc. but take God with you. Welcome His loving embrace while you power walk your way through a problem. Pray for his guidance as you take some time away. Praise Him for his goodness during your power-clean. Put Him first, in front of all of these activities and He will show you the way through to the end of your emotions. God is bigger than your problems and He is bigger than your solutions and tactics.
So stop stiff-arming God, and your loved ones for that matter, because there is nothing about us that will change the way we are – it is only through the shed blood of Jesus and the grace and mercy of our Father that brings any consolation to the negative emotions that we allow to slither into our minds and hearts.
Be real with God. He knows your heart, right? If you are angry, tell him what you are angry about. If you are prideful, admit your pride and tell Him all about it. If you are fearful – let it out! Your confession to him will cleanse your heart and you will be able to welcome the biggest hug of all.
Father, I pray that we come to confession about our emotions so that we do not sin against you in action. I pray that you work goodness into our hearts and turn the selfish emotions and actions that reflect self-righteousness in us, into the love, peace and kindness that reflect your love and glory. Thank you for your loving embrace that never ceases to provide solace and thank you for your son, Jesus Christ whose sacrifice was given to all. Amen!