A friend posted her frustrations on Facebook. I grimaced as replies quickly dismissed her experience. Feelings and thoughts invalidated by cliches and hyper-spirituality.
Yes, hyper-spirituality is a thing and it’s costly to Christians who want to live well. I’ll be talking about this more in future content. Subscribe for updates.
My friend said she was disappointed about something she’d worked hard for as a small business owner. She spoke of the struggle she endured and what saddened her heart. Her honest expression with real-life challenges minimized to nothingness with a few quick words.
Be grateful for the blessings you have! God’s given you so much.
My friend was essentially told to be quiet while God was used as a scapegoat for an insensitive response.
As if denying the reality of a person’s feelings isn’t enough, using God’s good attributes to shove aside God-given emotions can be damaging.
When words deny reality they distort our view of God’s presence with us and deny God at work. They block our ability to receive the goodness he offers. In the pain. In the frustration. He’s right there in the middle of it all.
It’s true we should be grateful for blessings, but timing, intent, and impact matter here.
Stop Denying God’s Blessings in the Trouble
In all the messiness our lives bring, God sees so much more than we do. He knows where He’s taking us and what we need along the way.
God never waits for us to get to the other side of raging waters before He offers a path through them.
Sometimes what we say sounds good on the surface. We’re quick to scoop them up and deny what’s underneath. Words like “blessed” get thrown out often. But, do we know what those blessings are?
Whey if the blessings God wants us to receive aren’t what we think they will, or should, be? What if rich blessings come about as character is tried and God’s strengths proves the only thing to help us get up again? Will we seek these blessings too?
When we face struggle we’re faced with our limitations. We also face a God who is limitless.
The indirect meaning that comes across when we say things like this individual did, be quiet. Don’t feel. There’s no room for frustration if God’s blessing you.
God’s blessings come when we’re honest with who we are and the struggles we face. When we experience God in the depths of our soul.
If we jump to the blessings ahead of us while denying His blessing with us, we’ll miss so much of the life He has to give.
Stop Denying the Reality of Struggle as Part of Life
Another friend shared a series of photos asking for input so she could choose one. One reply said it didn’t matter what she picked because she was beautiful inside and out. It seems innocuous enough to share a positive statement, but is it?
What if someone actually wants to know your preference? What’s so hard about saying what you like best? Christians are famous for using alternative words and expressions when we just need to say yes or no.
I’m a serial offender in this area.
Why do we feel the need to rush to what we think is God’s perfect picture when someone’s vulnerability is exposed? How is it we think we know what the best picture looks like and how it should be painted?
Oh, that darn curse of knowing good and evil that began in Genesis 3. It’s all too prevalent in me. God reminds often; He knows. Trust. Surrender.
Surrender is self-knowledge and self-will sacrificed and laid down, again and again.
Goodness this one grieves me. When someone expresses honest emotion and the wrestling of imperfections, we’re quick to tell them God is good, things will be OK, victory is ours, and so sayeth the Lord.
Yes, victory is in the hands of God. We have a future hope in heaven with Him, but we also live in the reality of today. His presence is with us now in a different way.
When we say things like this we deny God at work and use God to do so.
I’ll be addressing unhelpful phrases in future content as well. Subscribe for updates.
Stop Denying Our Humanity Because of His Divinity
When someone admits their struggle, and we’re quick to respond with reasons they shouldn’t have that struggle, or what they need to do, or how they need to change their perceptions, we’re dismissing the reality of their humanity. And ours. We can’t experience a real God if we don’t face the reality in front of us and present our real selves.
We’re a people uncomfortable with emotions that don’t feel good and it’s costing us much more than we know. It’s limiting our ability to form healthy attachments, to heal from past wounds, and to accept the path of change that brings the kind of peace and freedom we long for.
Stop Denying God’s Healing Connections
Social media can be a beautiful thing. It brings people together. It opens doors for connecting with people we might never see in real life. It’s extremely limited beyond surface-level connections though. Text doesn’t translate the nuances of a human soul. We need real life engagements with our real selves and real struggles in need of our real God.
Without real life interactions in our suffering we miss out on life sustaining connections that help us get through hard times.
Unfortunately, the kind of responses I mentioned above happen just as often when we share our struggles face to face too. When we respond to pain without acknowledging pain and it’s effects, we unknowingly inhibit our ability to connect on an intimate, heart-to-heart level the way we’re wired to do.
God never designed us to be robotic in our actions. He calls us to love Him and believe in His goodness, but He never calls us to deny the reality of pain or the challenges of life.
If we want to connect to each other and to a beautiful, emotional, God, we simply cannot deny the reality of our emotional existence. Don’t deny God access to the places of your heart that need Him most.
We’re made in His image and emotions come with His design.
Start Enjoying His Power at Work in the Struggle
When someone admits struggle we don’t need to rush in with words of God’s goodness and blessings. We need room to see God at work in the struggles of life.
When humanity surfaces, raw and real, with doubts and faith intermingled, we have opportunity. We get to see God at work. This is no small thing.
Our honest questions, our real struggles, our wrestling with life’s circumstances and God’s presence in them is part of our journey as believers. Let’s not rush the ending without knowing why the ending holds value. We need this place of in-between to experience God’s power in the presence of pain.
In these moments of living more fully human and alive, where we come face to face with the very God we need, our attempts to make it all better become wholly inadequate. Thank goodness. We not only see our need, we get to see how God will meet our needs.
Sometimes He does it through a deeply personal and spiritual connection with Him.
Sometimes our needs are met through practical help and listening ears offered through other people, including friends, therapists, family, church community, and more.
However God chooses to show His power at work. I pray we make space to experience it for ourselves and others.
Want help in this area? There’s more to come…
- A Prayer for When the Days Are Hard
- A Prayer for the Battle-Weary Soul
- One Thing the Overwhelmed Christian Can Do Right Now
- There’s Always More to the Picture