So, the picture above isn’t exactly about today’s post. It was more about being finished with NASA way WAY before Wes was and about being over the Titanic history lesson during our 4 day Disney Cruise. “Imagine this dining room under water. Wow, imagine this theatre being under water.” I preferred to imagine a vacation without depressing thoughts. Anyway, I added the picture because it is as close as I can come to the thoughts I have about mysterious, overused, Christianese slogans.
My husband and I have sworn off the “religious debates.” They really aren’t productive. Wes is right about one thing though (ok, maybe more than one.) He has often told me that Christians speak a language that no one understands. I didn’t realize how correct he was until we went through our daughter’s migraines and son’s seizures/cerebral palsy. It made me realize how ridiculous some of my own advice must have been to those who were hurting.
One Sunday after a rough week of seizures and sleepless nights, one poor soul had the unfortunate opportunity to “counsel” me. He came up to me and said, “Now Ms. Anita, you just need to leave it at the altar.” I did keep my mouth shut and attempt a fake smile but I am not good at hiding my feelings. If he were even remotely good at reading body language he would have heard, “Look Bucko! You know what I want to leave at the altar…YOU, YOU are what I want to leave at the altar.” Then there was a whole string of Madea mutterings all the way out to the car. “Did you sleep through the night? Yes, yes you did. Did you hold your child while the seized in your arms. No, no you didn’t. Tell me……boy I will knock you out!”
Ah, another one that I love, “Let go and let God.” My thoughts have been no more godly on those responses, “How about I let go and knock you out!” Before you e-mail and lecture me, let me just say that those thoughts came at a very painful time for our family. And though you may find theology to back them up, a person in pain isn’t prepared for a theological lecture.
Finally, I began to figure out why those comments were so bothersome to me when I saw the frustration on our daughter’s face after she had been told that she just needed to “give it to God.” She had been struggling with some gigantic past hurts and that comment really wasn’t helpful at all. I could see the frustration in her face. I knew the feeling well, “What if I can’t figure out how to do that? What then? Will I just always hurt like this?”
Comments like that increase the pressure because they sound like we are in control of ending our pain. They imply that our enormous pain won’t leave until we get it right and take these mysterious, illusive actions: “Let go and let God.” Or “Give it to God.” Or “Leave it at the altar.”
We aren’t in charge of fixing our pain. We need the God of restoration. We need the Great Physician. He is the only one that can fix our broken-heart and heal our pain. What I wish someone had said to me was, “Anita, when you are afraid or hurting just keep asking God to take it from you and in time, little by little, He will. Every time those thoughts come in start praying and ask God to stop them.” That puts the burden back on God’s shoulders rather than our own. Our responsibility is to keep coming to Him and asking that He take it away. There’s nothing mysterious about that. I know how to talk. I know how to ask for help.
Oh, and I would like to apologize for any lame advice that I gave during my pre-trial days. I am very very sorry.