Focus: What’s below the surface
Romans 14:19 (NKJV) Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.
When you’re in a season of deep emotional pain, you have choices to make—choices that will affect you and the people around you—choices that will possibly affect the quality of your future and theirs.
In your lifetime, you have endured many kinds of pain. Some pain has been buried so deep you can’t even consciously remember it—but for the fact that sometimes you are struck with unusual and unexplained sadness, sorrow, fear, or anger.
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The God of all comfort knows each and every unseen pain in your past and desires that you would be able to find peace and healing in your innermost being. He wants you to live a life that will get better and not worse. He wants you to be whole—not only for your own peace and well being—but for the purpose of your ability to become someone who brings encouragement and hope to others who are in a place of weakness like you are in right now.
Sadness below the surface is precious to the heart of God. He would love to have spared you of the reason for that sadness—and often you wonder why He didn’t. I don’t pretend to have answers—I only offer to you that our Lord is touched with compassion and grieves when you grieve. He is there with arms wide open. Your pain was not His choice.
You may have dug a deep hole in your heart and are harboring sorrow where it’s out of sight. You’ve been embarrassed to admit it’s still there. You have to hide it, so as not to hurt or offend anyone else. You have held onto it as the last shred of something you lost, and you feel compelled to continue holding onto it—painful as it is to keep. The thought of it not being there is almost fearsome—as though giving it over to God would be a betrayal of sorts…and the thought of it being gone is almost as bad as knowing it’s still there. But you keep holding onto it anyway…
Fear below the surface can take many shapes, but all of the shapes the fear takes are only known to you—because, once again, you are afraid to admit how afraid you are…so you keep it down there…hidden. Layers and layers of fearful things keep your mind wandering in and out of reality. At times you think you’re making progress—and other times, you think you’re not.
The saddest thing about all of these things you’re hiding below the surface is that often they result in anger. Anger may not be what you’re really feeling—but anger is what comes out. What you really feel is ‘sad’ or ‘afraid’—but with so many things just below the surface, or buried deep below the surface—something is bound to ‘present itself’…and it’s usually anger.
The truth is, you’re angry that you have to be sad. You’re angry that life has to be this way. Angry that whatever happened to cause the pain ever had to happen in the first place. Angry that you had no control over your circumstances. Angry that you haven’t had the peace you wish you could have about it.
The hardest part about the situation is that everything you are feeling is so repressed—you don’t even like the suggestion of the fact that you could be angry. It feels wrong to admit to it. ‘Sad’ and ‘afraid’ are things you’re not proud of, but they’re a lot easier to admit to than ‘anger’. So, you try to keep the anger hidden, too—but it keeps coming out.
During the moments when anger presents itself, you feel like things just aren’t turning out as you had hoped they would. You excuse it’s presence because of the terrible things that have been forced on you. In every angry moment—the real reason you’re angry is because it’s just absolutely not fair. And you’re right about everything. None of it is fair.
One of the good things that is going to come out of this, is the fact that you will survive. Maybe you don’t even want to right now, but you will. There is a part of you that keeps holding on, hoping for the redemption of your circumstances. Encourage that part of you to press on. Tell yourself to keep believing. The Spirit of God in you wants it all to make sense…and it will.
Some of the pain will never be gone completely. Part of the memory of the fear and anger will remain. These things will empower you in the future. They will turn into tools of usefulness—hard won wisdom—and you will be at peace.
Declaration: I will find new strength by choosing to take one day at a time. I will pursue things that will bring about peace and face the fact that my healing is a detailed process. I will receive my consolation from the God of all comfort.
All NEW STRENGTH posts are Copyright by Christina Cook Lee as of the date they were written and posted. Please request permission to re-post or re-blog. This material will be published as a book in 2014, by the grace of God. To subscribe to New Strength, select ‘follow’ in the upper left corner of this page.
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