I was scrolling through social media the other day and one of our friends, Hannah M. wrote this on her wall…
Food for thought: If tears mean weakness to man…why would God value them enough to collect them? Perhaps they’re far more valuable than we think.
Her words honestly stopped my day for a few minutes as I pondered this thought further.
Psalm 56:8 (NLT) says,
You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.
How do you view tears?
I don’t know exactly why I used to think like this, but until my mid-20’s, I literally used to think that tears were a clear sign of weakness.
I honestly used to feel embarrassed for people who would cry in public (not children of course, but basically anyone else). I was so uncomfortable around emotion…my emotion and other people’s emotions.
Then in my mid-20’s I hit a point with fear and other stuff in my life. I felt stuck and I didn’t know how to overcome and a good friend suggested that I meet with her counselor. It was very expensive for our limited family budget, but my husband and I were able to plan and set aside time and money for me to get some counseling.
It was time and money SO well spent. What an incredible investment not only for my emotional health, but honestly for the health of my marriage and family as well.
One of the things that the counselor helped me identify was my blocked wall of emotions. Up until this point in my life, I basically gave myself permission to cry maybe once or twice per year and almost always in the privacy of my own room where no one else was around.
One key in my counseling was for me to give my emotions to God. I remember saying some sort of prayer, offering my emotions to God and giving Him full permission to lead my emotions.
It was pretty disarming and scary at the time because I didn’t know how my emotions would manifest, but honestly, it was a huge key in getting healed from pain from my past.
God created emotions for a reason. God himself has emotions and we were created in His image. He does not apologize for having emotions, so why do we?
I remember one time a year or so after I gave God my emotions, my offering was tested. A woman that was in our church asked for a meeting with my husband and I. During the meeting she was sharing her frustrations about my husband and I as her leaders. She was really unhappy with us and said some pretty mean things. I am not one who tends to shy away from confrontation, and as she spoke, I started crying. I wasn’t trying to run away from her words, I was still allowing her to talk and I was still able to talk, but I was shedding tears.
Then in her frustration and discomfort with my tears, she said, “See! I can never bring anything up to you guys because then Yoon ALWAYS starts crying…”
I can’t fully remember why I was crying, but in that moment, I felt like the Lord was giving me a choice. “Will you shut down your emotions again to appear strong to this woman or are you going to embrace the emotions that I gave you?”
I was tempted to shut down my tears, but instead I chose to embrace them.
I told her, “I am sorry if my crying is making you uncomfortable, but this is honestly how I am processing what you are saying to us…and my crying in front of you is a big step for me…”
If I remember correctly, she still left in frustration at me that day, probably thinking I was quite weak.
Over the years, I have continued to let God work different things out in my life through my tears. And what I have found to be true 10+ years later is that God has used my tears to heal me in places that I didn’t even know needed healing.
Now when I am sad or hurt, instead of stuffing down my sadness, I cry and release my pain. I usually feel so much better afterwards and I don’t carry the baggage with me any longer.
I often cry too when God is speaking to me about different things…usually I am not sad, but I cry when I am touched by His Spirit and He is doing something in my heart.
2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV) says, But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
God’s ways are so different from our ways. I admit that sometimes, I am still tempted to shut down my tears because of insecurity. But I find over and over again, that if I just let the tears fall and expose my weakness, God is ALWAYS faithful to strengthen me through them.