(Photo by Natalie Baugh)
Game plan: Getting Honest With God
By Sarah Komisky
I was having a few weeks ripped from the pages of the “Alexander and the Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” book. Only, this felt like the grown-up Job in the Bible version. It went something like this: My computer broke down. So did the new one I replaced it with. My computer lady is out of town – for a while. My phone conked out. I needed a new one. I encountered a round of relationship friction with extended family. Their words hurt deeply. It made me cry. I grieved the loss of two important people in my life. I miss them. A project I was majorly excited for fell through. People from my distant past reappeared. It triggered an ugly memory. I’m frustrated. What I thought would happen, did not. I’m disappointed. Life around me is changing rapidly as I know it. The change is uncomfortable. An event I was planning on going to got cancelled. Bummer. Giant reddish black ants attack in my room. Ugh! I have the bites to prove it. My car tire got a flat last week and today the engine light went on. I kinda don’t have the money for it, but that’s how the story goes.
Have you ever wondered why your world feels upside down? Why what is going on is going on? Why some things just don’t make sense at all? Recently, I was there and it taught me a lot about who God is, who I am, and what trust really looks like.
If I can be vulnerable, I’ll share with you one of my defects. I have a propensity to get anxious. When coupled with control, it gives a false sense of security and safety. Yet, it’s promises fail because my maneuverings only make a mess! The truth is nothing is ever in my control, but I know the One who is in control.
Growing up, it was super hard for me to unpack my “real thoughts” to God because I thought it was somehow wrong or sinful to say the unedited script. So, I often tried to displace what I considered my “bad” emotions (like anger, fear, etc.) to get to the place of where I thought God wanted me to be. If angry, I needed to forgive. If disappointed, I would give a short allowance for it because I needed to have hope. That’s what God expected, right? Wrong!
Yet, shaking off performance behavior and perfectionist tendencies were hard to let go of. Although I consider myself a huge optimist veering heavily towards the side of hope, I had to learn it was ok to say, “I’m not OK” and to admit when I’m having a hard day. There was a time in my life where I felt this wasn’t an option. I believed the lie that I had to hide my imperfections because I was in church leadership. My feelings and struggles became the white elephant in the room that I put on a time-out because I thought they weren’t “good” enough for God (or other believers) to see. Yet, God saw the elephant and He knew he was kinda too big to be hanging out in the corner, so he invited the elephant into the light. One of my favorite verses God brought to my attention to help me overcome this faulty mindset was Hebrews 4:16. It says, “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
I learned it was ok to both feel and express my heart to God.
When I was little and was having a “terrible, no good, very bad day,” my mom would remind me of this classic book. She would usher me in the car and let me vent – through the whole car ride and often over ice cream. She always had a way of making me feel better, comforted, and assured. I’ve discovered God to be much like that.
As an adult, Jesus began to walk me through a transformative journey of reshaping my view of God and what relationship looks like. He began showing me that it was okay to tell him how I really felt. I could unload pain, heartbreak, anger, disappointment, confusion, and fear. I could bring it all to Him. I could ask questions. I could say nothing if I wanted to. I could be honest. He wouldn’t be upset or shocked by it. Likewise, it didn’t change my standing with God as His daughter, robed in His righteousness despite my flaws. In fact, true intimacy began to be forged when I got honest.
God is my Commander-in-chief, but not a dictator. He walks with me and calls me to be real about my feelings through the different terrain of life. He knows the rocky terrain can be challenging, and He sympathizes with my weaknesses. I know God isn’t judging me in my honesty. Job was a great picture of that. When his life was turned upside down, he got real and God dialogues with Job through it.
I have not reached this place where I have overcome anxiety completely. I am not where I was but God is continually changing where I’m going. Like you, I am human. I am not perfect and have defects but God is my hope! As a good friend once told me, “Sarah, no one can relate to you if you’re perfect.” It’s true! Since I have discovered everyone doesn’t have it all together, I’ve let go of the pressure to fulfill impossible standards. I still am in church leadership but I know I am a human being in good company. So, when life unraveled these past few weeks and anxiety began to swelter up, I did what I have come to practice as a new habit with God. I did what I did with my mom as a little girl – vent. I sat on my bed and divulged my deepest secrets. I cried and let God come to my side and listen. He put His arms around me and let me know I’ll be OK. Just like when I was a child, I feel secure and assured. I can go on with hope!
Maybe you’ve felt in life like it’s not okay to be completely honest with God or other believers. Let these words liberate you: yes it is! It’s not wrong or sinful or selfish. It’s relational and, I would argue, necessary for spiritual health. Find trusted friends you can confide in. Ones you know will not judge you. Get alone and let God heal. In His presence, you can take refuge. He’s in the hills and valleys. Under His leadership, fear doesn’t have to be a reality. Walk with God. Rest in Him and trust that He has a good plan for your life.