Psalm 68:4 Sing to God, sing praises to His name; Lift up a song for Him who rides through the deserts, Whose name is the LORD, and exult before Him.
Some days my heart is like a barren woman hopeless for a child – empty, lonely, and sad. At times when I feel this way it’s as if I’m going to implode, that this aching hole will begin to suck me in until there is nothing left of me at all, only the gaping pain and blackness.
I hate feeling this way. Sometimes circumstances of my life bring me to this place – disappointment in a situation or person or myself, anticipated actions by someone don’t come to pass, overwhelming stress from a clamoring schedule, the loneliness that feels like solitary confinement. My plans/hopes/dreams aren’t coming to fruition, or my patience is running out. There are times it may stem from being physically tired, or just those crazy hormones/chemicals in my body going completely out of whack.
For whatever reason, I get so angry with myself for not being self-sufficient and able to handle it. I want to shut down my heart so that the pain (or people) can’t come in, or to self-medicate with the many unhealthy methods I’ve learned in my lifetime as I seek to “make it all go away”. It makes me feel weak, and out of control, and needy – and I hate that, for I want to be strong, self-reliant, never needing anyone. I fight not to cry, or to reach out, or to admit my need. Instead I close the shades, and withdrawl figuratively (and sometimes literally) into the searing shadows.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss recently quoted Oswald Chambers using the phrase “singing in the shadows” while speaking on serenity. Serenity… about the most opposite place I could be in these times. But when I think of “singing in the shadows”, the first thing I notice is that I’m not being asked to ignore what I’m feeling. It’s not saying that these feelings aren’t there, or that they are wrong, or that if I only had more faith I wouldn’t be in this mess and I’d be happy. It affirms that the shadows indeed are there, but it’s asking for a sacrifice of praise during this time. God is asking me to go beyond my feelings, to wade through the muck to a place where I can at least raise my face to Him and whisper His name. He knows I may not be able to do much else than that, but to Him that may be a beautiful melody, a praise beyond what I can imagine, even though to me it’s a failing, meager attempt at song, yet another disappointment for us both.
So, Lord, when I am in this bad place, I will seek You. I will ask You to take My hand and hold on tight. I will ask You to hold me close, and wrap Yourself around me. I will do my best to look for whatever it may be you are trying to teach me, or rest in the valley of darkness and wait on You. I will intentionally stop looking at me and lift my eyes to You. I know this doesn’t mean it suddenly will “all go away”. But… if You are there, filling up the emptiness/loneliness with Yourself, I can learn to sing in the shadows.
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