Recently my devotional book asked me to spend some time in prayer telling God about my heartache. And because I mostly do what my devotion book says, I started sharing my pain with God. A few minutes in, I realized that I don’t do this very often, I don’t come to him in prayer about my heartache. It felt new and weird to tell him about my pain and disappointments. It felt different to share my heartbreak and failures in prayer to God.
Not that he didn’t already know my pain and heartache, but voicing it was something I wasn’t used to doing, it was ill-fitting and strange.
Afterwards I tried to remember where I usually take my heartache and pain, where I usually run, what I’ve been substituting in for Jesus. When I am in pain or heartbroken, I escape in a book, I disconnect and watch TV, I talk to my husband about it, but only in small snippets, never exposing all of my struggle, all of my hurt. I handle heartache and pain by sleeping a lot, by eating my feelings, or by making jokes to take the focus off what I don’t want others to see.
I go lots of places when I’m heartbroken, but the last place I go is to Jesus. I mention my pain in prayer, but it’s mostly in a way that says, here’s how we can fix this, here’s how we can make this better. Never in a way that just lets me tell him about my pain and heartbreak, never in a way that just says, hey God, I’m struggling and I need you near me right now.
My devotion ended with the reminder that God is loving enough to listen and big enough to care. I wrote that really large in my journal, like I was yelling it at myself, because I have a problem remembering it. I should talk to God about my struggles, not as a way to fix them, but to seek comfort and to be obedient.
It’s that obedience thing that gets me every time. I think I can handle things on my own so I use my best coping techniques to try to heal myself. But he wants to heal me–he wants to heal you–and he’s going to do a lot better job than we can for ourselves. He wants to comfort us, love us, and give us peace. He doesn’t promise that it will all work out the way we think it should, he doesn’t promise that there won’t be heartache and pain, but he does promise to listen and love.
I want and need that to be enough for me.
The things I fill my time with aren’t bad. I have to eat, there’s nothing wrong with reading good books, and talking to my husband and friends about my struggles is living in community which he wants us to do. But if it’s the ONLY things I do, if I leave him out of the equation of my heartbreak and quest for healing, I will never be completely healed. I will always have cracks that resurface again and again to cause trouble. I will never truly feel whole.
What about you? Where do you run instead of Jesus? And more importantly, how can you change it?