Lamenting = Worshiping!!

Thursday, May 16th, 2024

Good Morning Friends!!

On this gorgeous spring morning I am thankful for powerful new insights about lamenting.  Did you know that complaining to God during our trials, traumas and tragedies is actually a from of worship?

My mom shared a podcast with me this week- “All IN episode 272 Michael Huston: Lament— A Faithful Complaint to God”. I highly recommend you listen to this episode- It is awesome!! Michael Huston shares so many great truths about worshiping through lamenting which he also shares in his book, “Even in the darkest hour: Lament as a path to God”.  Many of the things I will share in this Thankful Thursday email come from Michael Huston and this podcast episode.

The universal truth, “There is opposition in all things” makes it very clear that life is supposed to be 50/50.  We can’t understand the sweet without the bitter.  It takes experiencing the sad to really enjoy the happy. “No flower blooms in every season.” Our mortality grants us the opportunity to fully experience every human emotion in varying degrees of intensity. Worshiping during the good times looks like praising and thanksgiving.  Worshiping during the difficult, heart wrenching times looks like lamenting.

The culture I grew up in allowed very little tolerance for negative emotion.  I learned at an early age to stuff all my negative emotions and ignore or not talk about the hard stuff I was going through.  Positivity was the goal.  If what I was experiencing wasn’t sunshine and roses, then it must be wrong, or I must be wrong.  I better change my attitude and get back to an “everything is awesome” mentality if I was to be a good person.  I erroneously believed righteousness was synonymous with happiness.

I am so grateful to know now that emotions aren’t good or bad, they are simply messengers telling us that something is going on in our mind, body and/or spirit.  Emotions are to be processed through our bodies.  Part of processing emotions is lamenting.  Refusing to acknowledge the heart wrenching stuff creates disease in our bodies and impedes our relationship with God.  To really know someone means showing them ALL of us- even the not so pretty parts.  Holding back the ugly stuff stops the progression of our relationship with God.  If you think about your deepest, most authentic and real relationships, they are the ones where you can honestly say, “I hurt” trusting that you will still be accepted and loved despite your weakness.

Michael defines lamenting as: worshipping through expressions of pain; faithfully complaining to God; and the way you worship God from within your pain.  He explains the structure of lamenting as: 1) address (“Dear God”); 2) the complaint (“Why is this happening”…); 3) the petition (“please fix it”…); 4) the motivation (“because if not”….) and 5) the turn-around (“but I know…” or “Nevertheless I know…”).  This framework allows us to feel validated in the depth of our suffering, and then to fully wrap up our pain and hand it over to Christ.  Our hurt becomes a sacred offering.  It draws us closer to God, deepening our relationship as we fully trust and believe in deliverance according to His will and timing.  As we approach the throne of God in our most exposed, vulnerable and uncertain moments, expressing our complaints directly to our creator draws us into His loving embrace. 

Murmuring and lamenting are very different.  Where murmuring is complaining about God, lamenting is complaining toGod.  Murmuring is intended to provoke others and does not expect that God is going to hear or answer.  Lamenting is intended to petition God and is based on an unshaken faith that God is listening and will respond. Lamenting is a powerful way to worship during the dark days of our mortality. 

I love that through lamenting, God has given us the tool for worshiping during the -50 of life.  Lamenting combats toxic positivity and empowers an authentic, deep relationship with God.  I am so thankful for this new understanding of what it looks like to powerfully worship during the hard stuff by complaining to God.  I am so grateful that it is ok and even a form of worship to lament.

I would love to hear your thoughts on lamenting!!