How Lament Actually Empowers You to Be 100% Real with God
October 13, 2021
Do you talk to God? When you start a conversation are you real? I mean really real. Do you bring all the feelings and lay them at the feet of our Creator? Or do you stay in the lane of everything is fine, God is good and it is fine? In Abby Norman’s book You Can Talk to God Like That: The Surprising Power of Lament to Save Your Faith, she takes a deep dive into being 100% real with God. Spoiler alert – God can handle whatever we can dish out without even a flinch.
The last two years rocked my world. My mom, the rock of my life and very best friend, suddenly died. In 12 hours she was gone, my world turned upside down and it will never be the same. A short four months later a global pandemic rocks the actual world shutting down any sense of normalcy I had left. What can you say to that? The answer:
What else is there to say sometimes except “Seriously God?” Sometimes you have to tell God what you really think, and what you really think is “if this is some kind of joke, God, you are not funny.”
It is perfectly acceptable to not have anything nice to say. Every lemon does not need to be made into lemonade – at least not 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I am one to have a kind encouraging word for everything. It is my nature and my first impulse. Knowing that I can go to God on my bad days and say – YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME – is comforting. He wants ALL of me and can handle a snarky word or two.
I’m Fine. You’re Fine. Everything is Fine.
Lament says I do not need to be fine. God does not require me to be fine. Matter of fact, He can see when I am not so there is no sense hiding the hard stuff. Abby Norman says:
Grief is the price we pay when we love someone, when we love something, when we have fully embodied and embraced a season and are sad to see it go. It is important to acknowledge that grief. It is necessary if we want to also fully embrace the next season.
God calls us to love, to create, to celebrate, to live full lives. After you fully embrace and embody something, you will certainly miss it as you move on to the next. Learning to recognize that does not make you broken it makes you human is an important step in being whole. God created us, adores us, and calls us to the entirety of our emotions. As Abby points out, “Sometimes God does ask us to sacrifice, but more often, God calls us into wholeness.”
Do You Really Want ALL of Me?
Human beings are multi-dimensional. Our emotions do not manifest in a straight line. Emotions are more of a messy, chaotic disaster. One emotion very few people like or understand is anger. Matter of fact, I would guess most people are uncomfortable with anger, both their own and others. If we are being whole in who we are, we can not ignore our feelings of anger – even anger towards God.
As a conflict averse person, I do not understand anger, I am not comfortable with it, and I certainly would like it to take a hike. But if my answer is always of course, whatever you think, and I agree with whatever you say; am I being my whole self? No. I’m not. My spouse, my family, my friends, and my God deserve better. Abby Norman writes “If we walk with God throughout our entire lives, we will likely have conflict with God. We need to tell God that and let his steadfast love show us how to handle it with one another – with love, not hate.” What would the world look like if we followed God’s lead and loved the people we are against? Angry emotions and difficult discussions thrown around, but at the end of it all we loved the human being in front of us for their humanness. This is a world I would like to see. Learning to lament can lead us to love rather than hate.
So Much More to Learn
Learning to embrace lament and be 100% real with God is a process. Lament may be a part of your past, but it also may be a completely foreign concept. Good news – Abby backs up her wonderful words with bible verses, real life examples, all while breaking it down into what we do as an individual, a church, and a community. It is all in there. Abby Norman walks the reader through the process of lament and what it looks like in the real world. Honestly the word lament sound big and scary, but broken down into day-to-day existence, it is truly very simple. To lament is to be human. So many are quick to share their joy with the world, but it turns out sharing our sadness has benefits as well. Joining together in our sadness could be the very thing that turns the tide and moves us closer to a unified world where real change is made.
Go Read the Book
As I navigate this difficult season in my own life, I embrace the concept of lament to help lean me towards God more fully. Sometimes I just sit and tell God I have nothing to say. The best part is God is good with that and my sitting in silence is a very strong prayer. No matter the season you are currently living, I recommend You Can Talk to God Like That: The Surprising Power of Lament to Save Your Faithby Abby Norman to aid in reaching a stronger connection with God. Learn to be real. Use the holy act of lament to give it all to God and come out on the other side with a stronger connection to your faith.