What do you do with the way you really feel? I’m talking about those true emotions … are they allowed at the throne of God?

One of the most valuable lessons I ever learned was what to do with my true feelings about life. Feelings handled inappropriately, or not handled at all and allowed to fester, can create distance and separation. The enemy of your soul would love nothing more than for what you are going through to create a distance between you and God. Satan would love the questions you have to grow into doubts. The hurt you have to grow into fear. But God has a different plan.

The lesson came in my moment of sheer desperation and frustration. I sat in the living room of our little house in the deserts of El Paso, TX, angry. Angry that things hadn’t worked out the way I thought they would. Angry that good plans had fallen apart. Angry that this wasn’t the way it was supposed to be.

My husband and I had left our successful business in Dallas and moved to El Paso to help start a church. For the first time ever, I had prayed for a sign to know for sure we were supposed to go. My prayer was for a white feather. That white feather now sat framed in the new little house so far away from where we had found success. We had gone in faith where we felt called and absolutely nothing had worked since.

I believed that if you did something for God, you would be blessed. I believed if you were following God’s path, the path would be clear. I believed if you gave something up for God, he would replace it with something greater. And everything I believed had been met with struggle.

The church was a mess. Our finances were non-existent. The repo man was circling looking for an opportunity to pick up our car. We had rolled change to buy groceries that week. My son was in kindergarten and his new school required uniforms. I could only afford one uniform shirt, so I washed it every night. It was a white shirt. Do you know how hard it is to wash a little boy’s white shirt daily and keep it looking good? Nothing was going right.

How could God lead us to this horrible place to do nothing but fail? We really felt like we were following him. I really believed God gave me that sign as confirmation to go in faith. But faith and following had been repaid with failure and frustration.

But I couldn’t admit my frustration. I couldn’t speak the words of anger I felt within. I held it all inside. And there, it ate at me.

My husband says to me, sitting there on the couch, “Why don’t you just tell God you’re mad about this.”

No! I could never do that. Wouldn’t my anger mean I don’t trust him? Wouldn’t my questioning of his plan bring punishment? I can’t speak it!

Then my husband says, “Pamela, God already knows how you feel. Just tell him.”

So, in that moment, every emotion I had been faithful to manage and hold in, came erupting out. God, I cannot believe this is how you repay faith. I cannot believe this is somehow good. This is a mess. We gave up everything to follow you and absolutely nothing has worked. I’m sooooo mad at you God.

Then silence. To my surprise, I wasn’t struck by lightening.

And honestly, I felt better. I felt deep in my soul my Creator respond, “Good, now we can work through this together.”

And we did. Together, we worked through it and moved forward. I surrendered again and again and again. I brought my frustrations and disappointments and laid them on him. He picked them up and gave me the courage to keep going.

Ultimately, that new church failed. And it failed miserably. Everything we had moved to El Paso to do was ruined. But still, there was that white feather. The feather I had prayed for as a confirmation from God that we were to go. Why did God bring us there? Only to fail? Only to suffer?

Looking back, I can see how our time in the desert was ordained by God. It brought us to the Mexican orphanage where we met and adopted our daughters. It brought me to my mentor who taught me to study, to read, to seek, and to go for this dream God had placed within my heart. It brought me to creating this … BIG Life. But first, it brought me to my knees where I bared my true emotions and was met by a faithful God with a good plan.

Reading the book of Psalms is like a roller coaster ride of emotions. David is up, then he’s down. He’s desperate, then he’s delighted. He’s crying, then he’s singing. Seriously, look at these verses from the first few chapters in Psalms.

“In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice: in the morning I plead my case to you and watch expectantly.”

“I am weary from my groaning; with my tears I dampen my bed and drench my couch every night. My eyes are swollen from grief.”

“The Lord has heard my plea for help; the Lord accepts my prayer.”

“Lord, why do you stand so far away? Why do you hide in times of trouble?”

“Lord, how magnificent is your name throughout the earth!”

It’s totally skitso. Up and down, back and forth. Lord, thank you for hearing me … Lord, why aren’t you listening? God, I trust you … God, my problems have overtaken me.

And God said, YES … THIS IS WHAT I WANT RECORDED IN MY HOLY WORD! This is what I want my girls to see. I want them to see how to cry out to me, be real with me, share their honest emotions with me, find comfort in me, be angry with me, and praise me. This is relationship!

Isn’t it amazing that the creator of the Universe wants a relationship with you? That honestly blows my mind every time I truly consider it. That God WANTS me to talk to him about my feelings, my frustrations, my fears, and my future. He also wants me to bring him my delight, my dreams, my plans, my passion, and my praise.

What have you been holding back from God? Honey, when you hold back, distance is created. The enemy swoops in and tries to fill that distance with doubt. LEAVE NO SPACE FOR HIM!!!!!!

James 4:8 says, “Draw close to God and he will draw close to you.” The way I like to see it is, when I take one step toward God, he takes a thousand steps toward me. This crowds the enemy and his lousy offer of doubt and fear right out!

In the book of Psalms in one small chapter that shows us how to go through hardship and draw close. How to feel real emotions and bring them to God productively. How to grow in relationship with the Almighty.

Watch the flow of this conversation David has with God.

Psalms 13:
“How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? (That’s true emotion. That’s raw feelings.). How long will you hide your face from me? How long will I store up anxious concerns within me – agony in my mind every day? How long will my enemy dominate me?

Consider me and answer, Lord my God. (This is the request in true relationship.). Restore brightness to my eyes; otherwise, I will sleep in death. My enemy will say, “I have triumphed over him,” and my foes will rejoice because I am shaken.

(Now here it comes. This is the part for a statement of faith and praise). But I have trusted in your faithful love; my heart will rejoice in your deliverance. I will sing to the Lord because he has treated me generously.”

  1. Bring your emotion.
  2. Bring your request.
  3. Bring your praise.

God not only CAN handle your true feelings and emotions, he WANTS to handle them. He will faithfully handle them. He will draw close to you.

I’ve learned not to let my emotions build up, holding them back from God until they erupt. Now I just bring them to him continually. I don’t hide anything … I mean really, I’ve never been good at hiding anything from God anyway. He sees it all and knows it all far better than I do.

Maybe today would be a great day to pray Psalms 13 for yourself. Begin with, How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will I be anxious and have this agony in my mind? Now insert your own emotions, your own fears, your own feelings here. Let him have it! Literally, let God have it!

Then, move on to verse 3. Consider me and answer, Lord my God. Ask him to show up and do something. Bring your specific requests.

Now, verse 5, we make our statement of faith and bring our praise. I have trusted in your faithful love, my heart will rejoice in your deliverance. Oh yes, I believe you will do it God! I will sing to the Lord because he has treated me generously. Praise him for his promises and how he will fulfill every one of them concerning you.

It’s been over 20 years since I sat on that couch and told God my true feelings for the first time. Since then, I’ve talked to him about some really hard things, some really confursing things, some really painful things, and some really bad things. He has been faithful to draw close to me every single time.

You can do the same. Bring your emotion, bring your request, then girl … bring your faith and your praise!

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