Monday, August 25, 2008

Be Real...

This past Saturday marked the one year "anniversary" of my Mom's passing. To be totally honest, it was a tough day and a tough week. Rarely does a day go by when I'm not thinking about or reminded of my Mom in some way. It is a weird and sad feeling to know that your "Mom" is no longer here on planet earth...there's a hole there. Click here to read a little more on this.

A couple of weeks ago I opened our church service by saying something like this;
"Church, I have to confess that this is one of those days when I don't want to be here. I've had an emotional couple of days, remembering that it's been about 1 year since my Mom passed away and to be honest, I don't really feel like singing and praising this morning. Still, God wants my worship. Church should be a place where you can let your guard down, be yourself. Some of us are hurting today, and we can worship through that pain. Others are joyful and your worship will come from a heart of thankfulness. The point is to be real. As you worship, as you pray, as you sing, do it in a 'real' way. Church shouldn't be a place where we always have to be happy and pretend we've got it all together. This is a place to come in your brokenness and pain, and lay it all before God."

I said something along those lines...maybe not those exact words. The point? I've heard from a few who were at church that day that somehow, me sharing a little of my pain allowed others to feel free to be real with God. I'm not sure how it works, but I am convinced that the more open and honest we are with each other, the more God can use us. Read this excerpt from Psalm 42;

"My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?
My tears have been my food day and night,
while men say to me all day long,
'Where is your God?' " (Psalm 42:2-3).

David is a man after God's own heart, and a man who was "real" with God. His prayers and psalms have absolutely no pretentiousness to them; no masks, no cover, no need to pretend he's got it all together. So why do I, why do we so often fee like we have to have this "front?" Let me encourage you to not only be "real" with God, but to be "real" with each other as well. Our pain can often be a source of hope to others...and in that hope, God redeems our pain.

"Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God." (Psalm 43:5)

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