31 Days of Giving Permission . . . to LAMENT

31 days of giving permission 200x130

 I have written about this profoundly important topic before,
just last month, in fact,
and if you have not already read that post,
you can find it here. 

 Over the days that remain in this 31-Day challenge,
I’ll be writing about a whole slew of topics,
some of them sweet,
some funny,
some potentially life-changing.

But here is no other topic that is as close to my heart,
nor as important to the church
as this one right here:

LAMENT.

Lament is a language we all once knew,
and, I believe, we still know, somewhere deep down inside.
But for a long list of reasons,
the contemporary church,
most especially the contemporary
evangelical church,
has forgotten how to speak it.

More importantly, perhaps,
it has forgotten how to hear it,
how to sit with another as they speak it.

We talked yesterday about listening —
about how important it is to listen to ourselves,
to listen to God,
and to listen to one another.

I intentionally put that topic right next to this one
because if we learn how to listen well,
I believe we will re-discover the language of lament. 

We live in a beautiful, broken world.
And we are beautiful, broken creatures.

There needs to be room to affirm that brokenness,
to acknowledge it without losing ourselves to
fear or despair.

When we learn to speak the language of lament,
just like the psalmists did,
just like JESUS did,
we find that room,

and the ability to breathe deeply,
to sigh in recognition and relief.

Can you give yourself permission to lament when you need to?
To weep, or wail, or shake your fist?
God can take it.
In fact, God invites it.
 

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Comments

  1. Thank you for addressing this in such an affirming way.

  2. Yes. Yes, yes, yes!

    That F-word. What are we afraid of? Either to pour ourselves out or to sit alone or with others in the ashes without feeling like we have to have the answers, without feeling like we have to *do* something, without telling them/ourselves to buck up and lean into faith? Does it make us feel insecure? Afraid of losing control? Afraid that God will strike us dead? Afraid that it proves our faith is weak?

    God knows our pain anyway. Are we lying when we hold it in? Isn’t honesty a part of a good relationship? How can He fill us if we don’t spill the crud? How can we go deeper if we don’t dig a little hole?

    My daughter posted something on FB a couple of weeks ago to the effect that an occasional argument shows you’re working on things. None at all might show you’ve given up, no longer care. I don’t know if that fits here, but I’m still thinking about it.

    • All of the above, Sandy – we’re afraid of all of it, I think. And I think your daughter is right. . . to a point. Most of the time, I’m not afraid of a good argument. The hard part is keeping it ‘good,’ and not ‘down and dirty,’ you know? And I do think we always need to be working on it. And the longer a relationship continues over time, it seems the harder it becomes to actively do that. I like her use of the word ‘occasional’ in this context.

  3. I agree that we are all so very afraid, bound to and in our fears
    and He desires freedom for us
    to look at pain, feel it and release it
    this is beautiful dear Diana

  4. this weekend I am with my “soul friends”. I just read this to them this morning and told them they had given me the room to lament, that they had done this for me. One of them smiled and said “I love getting credit for something I didn’t even know I was doing.” thank you for this Diana

  5. Diana – lament – drawing deeper to the places where we hear God – listening – to what he says! I am a lamenter Diana – and even when I think – will I ever stop crying – crying out – questioning? I am reminded that God treasures our tears and longs to hear our questions, to meet with us in the deep and the dark and yes, to comfort us so that we ourselves can comfort others with the same comfort we have received of God!
    You continue to encourage me to live in the deep and receive what God has for me – all of it!
    Hugs,
    Kelly

    • I am grateful that you find encouragement here, Kelly. And yes, I do encourage you to live in the deep, whenever it is necessary. (tomorrow, I will also encourage you to let loose once in a while and just be downright silly – sometimes that’s a great counter balance for the lament).

  6. I lament, often and loudly, to God, and thus far have not been hit by lightning. 🙂 I wonder if part of our problem with lament, is that it can seem very close to complaining, grumbling or whining – all things that we have been taught from childhood are bad.
    That said, it has often been following a time of ‘keeping it real with God’ that I have had revelation that has helped me in the area I’ve just been talking about with God. Don’t know how that works, and sometimes I get mad at God about that too – what’s with waiting till I’m about ready to scream and smash things before doing something about an area I’ve been praying about for months/years?!??!!!
    Now I’m feeling bad for God – I think maybe I give Him a hard time…

    • And sometimes it IS complaining! Even a cursory reading of the OT shows that complaint was a favorite posture of God’s people! I do think it’s important to keep it real and to take it to God first and foremost. As Peter said, “Where else can we go?”

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