Use Your Words…

IMG_4400.JPGUse your words… As parents, teachers, anyone who spends time with children, I’m sure you’ve used those 3 words before, or at least heard someone else say them. I’m very guilty of saying it as a pre k teacher. And I have had trouble in the past accepting and respecting my own tears as well. Why is that?
Well as we can see from the statement above we are conditioned to choose words over tears. And it starts at a very young age. Our parents, grandparents, teachers, and other adults teach us without meaning to maybe, that tears are inferior to words. As if they don’t matter or have worth. Add to that the saying “big girls don’t cry” or “big boys don’t cry” and we really grow up into adults who see tears as weakness. We become people who stuff our feelings down because we’re afraid while trying to talk about them, we will begin to cry. And as we all know, we can’t have that. So instead we push down our feelings further and further, acting as if we have it all together. Hiding behind fake smiles. Shoot we are even told that, “it takes more muscles to frown than to smile. So you should just smile.” I just looked it up. From what I found there is no scientific proof of that statement. But that doesn’t keep people from saying it. And it doesn’t undo the message received by those who have been told it. It tells them that how they’re feeling doesn’t matter. It’s how many muscles they’re using. Really? Again we are conditioned to just push our feelings down and smile through the pain. But all that leads to is us becoming sad, heavy hearted people, with forced smiles. So what’s a person to do? What are they to believe? Well when I find myself in a situation like this, trying to decide the right way to think, feel, act, or anything else that matters, I go straight to the source. I go to the Bible.
I’ll start with John 11:34-35 “Where have you laid him He asked. Come and see Lord, they replied. Jesus wept.” This passage is from Jesus going to see Lazarus’s body to raise him from the dead. “Jesus wept.” Even knowing how the story would end, Jesus wept. Now Jesus I think we all can agree was a strong man. He did sacrifice himself in an excruciating way. Was able to not give into 40 days of Satan tempting Him. But He wept. Weeping is not your everyday crying. The definition of weeping is “to express grief, sorrow, or any overpowering emotion by shedding tears. So if Jesus who knew how the story of Lazarus would end, who was strong enough to go to the cross, to resist the devil, could be bought to overpowering emotion, than how can we expect ourselves not to cry. Us with our very limited view of what’s happening and what’s to come. Us who I’m sure would never have the strength to sacrifice ourselves for people who may reject us. Us who give into temptation, sometimes daily. How can we expect ourselves to have more emotional strength than Jesus? If it’s good enough for the Savior to shed tears, it’s good enough for us too. Then there’s these verses starting with Psalm 107:6 “Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. Psalm 34:17 “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles. Psalm 107:19 “Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress.” And Psalm 56:8 “You have kept a record of my wanderings. Put my tears in your bottle.” Looking at these Psalms we clearly see that God responded to His people when they cried out. The Bible is very specific and detailed in the words it chooses so we can get a clear understanding of what’s happening. The Psalms we see here didn’t say they “yelled out”, they “shouted out”,or they “called out”. No they “cried out.” So we can take from these verses that crying is very acceptable to God. And if it’s acceptable to God than it’s acceptable to me. It should be to you too. God can’t “gather your tears in a bottle” and make beauty from them if you never cry any tears. God knew that as humans we would cry. Otherwise He wouldn’t have created a bottle for them. So why try so hard to keep in what God already knew was going to come out anyway.
So let’s stop listening to others telling us to “buck up” making us feel ashamed of our feelings. Tears are simply the words we can’t physically say yet. They represent how much someone means or meant to us. They represent happy sometimes. They represent the way we are feeling in the moment. They represent us. So being ashamed of our tears, in a way being ashamed of ourselves. So the next time someone tells you to “use your words” or “big boys/girls don’t cry”, or you just hear those words in your head from childhood, remember this. “Jesus wept.” And as believers don’t we all strive to live as Jesus did? Let your tears out and be healed through them.

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