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The Proper Way to “Have a Good Cry”


Last night I went to our church’s midweek meeting where I teach the kids while the adults hold a Bible study. I love this opportunity to introduce God to children for the first time, and wouldn’t trade it for anything else I could do on a Wednesday night.

Except this time, I arrived at church an emotional mess. Like the ancient King David, I didn’t fully understand why, either (“Why art thou cast down, oh my soul?”). I knew part of it was PMS (you know, “Putting up with Mess and Stuff”). Another part was the daily circumstances of a less-than-perfect life—things we own breaking down or wearing out, leaving us to scramble for solutions. But the main thing was the thing that’s always the main thing—people. In general, not in particular. People not coming through for me when I thought they should.

Put that all together and I had the perfect recipe for a good cry. I’m not good at being fake, so if anyone had asked me how I was doing last night, I might have just let the dam break on their shoulder.

But in the busyness of activity, no one asked, and I’m glad no one asked. Looking back, I realize there’s a time to bare your soul to others, and there’s a time to bare your soul to God. I wonder if we too often confuse the two, and forfeit divine life-changing moments as we seek from humans what only God can give.

Since I had no one to turn to, when I had a quiet stretch of time, I got alone in the dark, shut out the noise of distraction, and opened the floodgates. There weren’t many words, mostly tears. And many “please help me’s” (that’s the most profound prayer a person can pray, in my opinion).

I don’t know how it all works—faith is a mystery. Some will say I’m the product of sad delusion, using religion as a crutch (while they remain in despair). All I know is when I got up and wiped my eyes, I felt like a new person. A heavy weight was lifted. I knew it was because I’d not just “had a good cry,” but I’d had it in the presence of Someone far more able than anyone else to properly comfort me. It made the difference between a temporary “fix” (a “good cry” is healthy, after all), and placing my feet on enduring, solid ground.

“Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” Psalm 62:8

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Hebrews 6:19

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