I think sometimes that our pain and our frustrations can lead us into truth and breakthrough. And I think that so many of us fail to see the truth or experience breakthrough in our lives simply because we don’t allow ourselves to feel the pain or to acknowledge “what’s wrong.” Pain doesn’t feel right. And especially for Christians, feeling “off” as we sometimes like to put it, is a bad thing. When we feel this way often our immediate response is to do everything we can to figure out how to get right again, how to get back to the right perspective and have positive emotions again.
And yet the negative emotions linger just under the surface, friends, if not dealt with properly. If disregarded instead of acknowledged. And they will always creep back to torment us or taunt us later with the lies that claim there’s something wrong with us that can’t be fixed.
I’ve experienced this time and time again. See, I can be really good at ignoring how I really feel, or simply not expressing it for fear of people’s reactions or thoughts. I’m nearly an expert at pushing aside negative emotions or “letting them pass.” Because all I want is for everything to be okay again. But I seem to keep failing to get to the root of the pain, because it comes back like a persistent weed.
What I want to say is that pain is not bad. Even frustration is not bad. Now, while we must not allow these things to rule or control us, neither can we deny their existence. The less we deny them, the more free we’ll become in this life. Growth always requires us to face pain—to look it in the eyes and tell ourselves that it’s there but to believe that it doesn’t always have to be there. We must stop pushing down the pain in our quest to stay on the “right” path. Jesus Himself had to face a life of pain in order to fulfill His purpose on the Earth, and His choice to embrace it and work through it made Him the most genuine person that ever lived—someone whom anyone could relate to.
I was thinking the other morning about how few people exist today who truly know who they are in Christ. I’m not talking about born again Christians who claim this identity as the core of their faith; I’m talking about those whose lives demonstrate that they really know. That they really believe they are sons and daughters of God Himself. Co-heirs with Jesus. There really are so few people. Because you know. You can sense it when you encounter someone who really knows. You can’t explain it, they’re just different. You feel safe with them, you want to be around them and ask them questions and share your struggles, you feel completely secure with them because your heart knows they could never do you harm and that they care about your heart and your freedom. They have the revelation of who they are and so it just oozes out of them.
Going back to the issue of pain and negative emotions, I believe that an acknowledgement of these things will ultimately lead us into truth. In acknowledging pain and the fact that we don’t have it all together, we’re also admitting that we don’t know everything. That we might actually not have the understanding or the revelation to know how to get out of the pain. That we’re weak. That we’re merely children, clinging to a God that most of the time we can’t even see. That we’re desperate for Him to break in and show us what’s real and set us free, because we’re powerless to use our knowledge to find our own freedom.
Friends, this is the best place to be, even if the most uncomfortable. We’re so concerned with having a correct theology that we miss the most important thing—an intimate relationship with the One who holds all the truth that our feeble minds can’t comprehend.
The revelation of our identity in Christ I believe is the most important thing in this life. Because if we can’t be who we are, we will always live by limitation, even without realizing it. (Which is the most debilitating, because if you can’t see that you’re not free or that there’s more, you won’t seek it.) So perhaps it is best to remain as a child who knows less than more. Because a child who doesn’t have things figured out is the most open to change and to trying new things, more susceptible to believe in the impossible. The more I go along in life, the more I realize how much I don’t know and don’t understand. But that’s okay. Because even knowledge can be a hindrance to the fullness of relationship. I firmly believe that if I pursue, as the very first thing in my life, a relationship with God, my Father, He will lead me into all truth. Seek Him, and all will be added, right?
In the midst of the storms and the pain, there is only one thing we can do—and that is to thrust ourselves and cling onto Jesus Himself. So let’s stop trying to make everything right and instead be the broken people that we are. Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not trying to say that we’re supposed to be broken forever. But if we never come to that place where we absolutely know our own brokenness and weakness, we won’t truly know what it is to be free in Christ. I just want to allow Him to make Himself known to me in response to all the pain and frustration in my heart, because He’s the only One who can make all things clear and bring redemption to every dark place and debilitating lie.