Yesterday, as I sat praying for a dear friend, the words “unspoken heart” came to mind. After sharing them with her, I’ve been reflecting upon their significance in my own journey. Before turning my heart back to God two years ago, my heart had remained largely unspoken, shut tight, for twenty years. A wall had formed around it, preventing it from voicing what lay within.
In turning back to Christ, I have found this thick wall being attacked. In the beginning the first gaping hole brought in light in the form of comfort, hope, joy and peace. But then months into my journey, it began to hurt and I didn’t understand why. It felt wrong, it felt bad, it felt ungodly. And I kept reading my Bible attempting to speak the strength of God’s Truth into my heart, to grip hold of all He held out. But underneath the wall lay a bleeding heart that refused to be soothed.
And so I turned to my learned coping mechanism: control. I pressed the emotions down till what remained was an anger seething below the surface. I believed and was even told by a fellow Christian, who meant well, that I needed to be “strong”, that my weeping and unutterable pain were not of God. And so, I began to rebuild the breaking wall.
But even now looking back I see God’s Hand precisely in the weeping and unutterable pain. He held me there to teach me a lesson I return to repeatedly. The Word of God only becomes active if it is clothed in the Power of the Spirit of God. But if we clothe it in human control, it cannot pierce and heal where and when it needs to. You see, where we do this we are rebuilding the wall God’s Word and Spirit have been working so hard to remove.
Grief and unutterable pain you see are an invitation from God. Not an invitation to be “strong”, but an invitation to dare to be “weak”, to be real, to be human. King David understood this, as did Hannah, Moses, Gideon and Jeremiah to name but a few. In the voicing of their real doubt, their deep grief, their despair, their anger and frustration, they let out what lay within to make room for what yearned to pour into their bleeding heart within. They chose to take ownership of their “desperately deceitful” hearts in open confession and in so doing made room for God’s Word and Spirit to enter.
Human emotions are not “wrong”. They are symptoms of the trauma of a broken bond. As sin entered humanity, so did grief, despair, anger, doubt, frustration…When we give Christ our hearts, we invite His Word and Spirit to pour in His searing Light, to break down more of the bricks that hide this brokenness within us. The pain is an invitation into wholeness: into the healing embrace of a God who yearns to restore each piece of that broken bond between Himself and us.
For me the grief and unutterable pain were given a voice, when God encouraged me to stop being “strong”. When He turned me to Him as I was, letting His Light hit the bleeding pain beneath, my heart finally began to speak, clothed in the Strength of the One who had created it. Unutterable cries became utterable. Tears flowed relentlessly. The trauma and loss endured gained a voice. And the Power of God moved in to begin true restoration of the broken bond between us. And so, now, I’m slowly learning day by day to see pain and grief as an invitation to be real before God: to lean into the leading of His Spirit to release me from the brokenness holding me down, so that I may experience the true freedom of His Word and all it promises.
Are you hurting deep within, trying so hard to be “strong”, believing this is what you’re called to be: something I know I still fall into much too often. Then, I’d encourage you to join me in this prayer:
Father God, thank You that I can come to you as myself, that you will never ever reject me, when I seek Your Face. Here I am. I’m filled with deep, inexplicable emotions I cannot seem to express. Please take my forest of pride, my desire to be strong before you, and cut it down. Give my emotions a voice, LORD. Help me to weep and grieve until Your Mighty Spirit is poured down upon me and the badlands desert of my walled heart grows crops, until Justice moves into the badlands desert, until right builds a home in the fertile field. And let Peace grow where an unspoken heart of crippling emotions now resides, and lead me further into the progeny of Right: a quiet life and endless trust in You.
Isaiah 32: 15 – 20 (The Message)
Yes, weep and grieve until the Spirit is poured
down on us from above
And the badlands desert grows crops
and the fertile fields become forests.
Justice will move into the badlands desert.
Right will build a home in the fertile field.
And where there’s Right, there’ll be Peace
and the progeny of Right: quiet lives and endless trust.
My people will live in a peaceful neighborhood—
in safe houses, in quiet gardens.
The forest of your pride will be clear-cut,
the city showing off your power leveled.
But you will enjoy a blessed life,
planting well-watered fields and gardens,
with your farm animals grazing freely.