Amor, You Can Let it Out: Learning to Lament.

Lament: a passionate expression of grief or sorrow.

It’s okay, love. You are allowed to express your sorrow.

Yes love, it’s healthy to resist the urge to sprinkle comfort and praise in our prayer to cover what’s really going on.

Yes love, i’m still trying to learn the balance between letting my heart out and encouraging my soul.

***

If you’re like me, sometimes I can walk through life with this fear that it is not okay not to be okay and that it is especially not okay to express it when i’m not okay (wow, that was long lol). Even thinking about right now, right? With so many things happening around the world with the Coronavirus, it can make us feel guilty not to be okay when we compare our sorrow with others.

Sometimes, it’s especially difficult for me to express that I am not okay in prayer and let myself sit in a place of lament. Lamenting to God is when you express your discontent to God with the world or your current circumstance, and I often feel like I am constantly rushing to skip that part of lament and run to tell myself something good and comforting without ever really finishing to express my heart.

Ya’ll if there is one thing that I am learning about prayer, and even about real life, through the psalms is that praise and lament are both prayer. In the Psalms, there are definitely more psalms of praise, but we have to acknowledge those songs of lament that we can’t skip over. The truth is, there is sometimes a time to simply lament; lamenting is healthy; and that God is concerned with what is going on in my heart. I don’t have to rush to be okay or pretend that I am already there.

I don't have to rush to be okay or pretend that I am already there.

There are two things that I think can hinder me from being really real with God instead of sitting in a place of lament. 1. Growing up latina, not being okay, or having any sort of sorrow or suffering, is misunderstood as a hormone-issue, as being weak, or as not being grateful for what I have. 2. Another thing that can hinder me from being real is that I’ve been taught that I can pray wrong. I’ve been taught that while prayer is a conversation, it has to be a conversation kept at a tight structure of praise, of thanksgiving, of asking. Sorrow, I seemed to have misunderstood, should take just a fragment of my entire prayer or no place at all.

The truth is, you and I are allowed to experience the weight of our emotions and lift it up to Jesus. I don’t want you to get me wrong, love. Structure is a good thing and the psalms has also been teaching me that we should have a habit of speaking to and affirming our souls in a time of despair. We SHOULD live a life of greater praise than sorrow, especially in light of all that Jesus has done for us and has for us in the future. Love, we ALWAYS have a reason to praise and worship, and it can be really unhealthy to sit in our sorrow for a longer time than we should.

But what I am saying is that I don’t want us to be afraid of experiencing the weight of our pain, of being honest about the hurt in our suffering, and being honest with God about what’s really going on in our hearts when our walks get rough.

***

Let me tell you girl. Psalm 88? Depressing.

It’s been 5 weeks since I have been co-leading bible study online with my girl Liz as we walk with other ladies through the book of Psalms, and this week, we’ve been preparing to lead our ladies through Psalm 88. Love, Psalm 88 is the most depressing of them all that we’ve studied so far.

Usually when there is lament in a Psalm, there is also praise, but this one was different. In this Psalm, the psalmist didn’t end express any praise but expressed the difficulty of his circumstance with great groaning. He was real, really real, and he sat in his pain with God, inviting God in his pain (I need to emphasize this point: Our lament belongs to God.). He expressed it as best as he could to the Lord. Do you feel like you have the permission to do that?

It’s freeing to know that I have permission to just talk it out, to cry it out, and to let God comfort me as I cry out to Him, especially because He is the God who emphasizes with our suffering more than anyone else through Jesus’ life and death, right? Isn’t that sweet, that Jesus emphasizes with our suffering and is willing to hear about ours and walk with us there?

I want you to know that if a sorrowful place is where you are, you can express that. Praise will come again, joy will come again, as we lament unto God. God will always give us a reason to praise. I mean, look at Romans 8:18 right? “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” But remember love that you have permission to feel the feels. There is a time and place for everything, and sometimes, it’s just the time to lament.

Con amor,
Ash

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