“O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.”

Psalm 139:1-6

God’s encouragement…

The first time I heard the words of this Psalm I felt a great gift had been given to me—God takes the time to search me and know me and become acquainted with all my ways. To be known by anyone in this deep way seemed impossible to me.

Throughout my life I’ve hidden a lot of feelings behind a curtain of calm. I believed refusing to express feelings of anger, fear, overwhelm and uncertainty was a strength. While I was on the right track in understanding expressing everything I felt “in the moment” was not wise, denying I had these feelings at all was altogether different. When they came out to my family, friends or at work despite my best efforts to stop them, I felt despair and worry. Despair because I couldn’t stop them from coming out and worry about what that said about me as a person.

Reading that God has ALWAYS seen beyond my outward self to what is happening in my heart and mind was reassuring. With Jesus my Savior to guide me, I took my first tentative steps, trusting Him to decipher my feelings and why I thought some were unacceptable. Instead of answering that question directly, He showed me His truth. When I denied having certain feelings, I denied Him the opportunity to teach me through them. He uses every part of me, every experience and every feeling, as a tool. In His hands, they can be used for good. He revealed to me that I judged other people harshly for their feelings, too. Then He led me to recognize and accept that denying feelings is a weakness, not a strength. He assured me again that I can take EVERYTHING to Him! Through this, I found mercy and compassion for others and for myself. Thanks be to God!

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Image: original color pencil drawing by Robin Lybeck: The Curtain

To God alone be all the glory!