Somewhere in my experience of growing up in a Christian family and attending church I picked up the idea (probably not explicitly taught) that expressing strong “negative” emotions was not really acceptable in God’s eyes.
As I grew older, reading the Psalms was one of the things that helped me to understand that God is able to handle all of the range of human emotions, and in fact, encourages our honest expressions in prayer. The very presence of such prayers in Scripture is a sign that He understands human emotions. He knows how we feel and speak when we are desperate.
Psalm 31 is filled with a huge range of emotions from, “I’m dying from grief…my body and soul are withering away…” to “I will be glad and rejoice in Your unfailing love, for You have seen my troubles, and You care about the anguish of my soul.”
The point is not whether the Psalmist is actually dying and withering away from grief, but rather that it’s ok to say those things God. He is not shocked or perturbed by unfiltered raw emotions. This understanding has brought a depth and richness to my relationship with God, and a freedom that I had not previously experienced when I felt I needed to filter my emotions before talking to God.
How grateful I am to know that I am loved and understood by You, God, in all of my faults and frailties, and that you desire honesty, not perfection.
Written by Shelley Witt