Tears tore down my face faster than a dragster speeding down the track toward a black and white checkered flag. Sobs seeped from darkness deep within. Like a crash before crossing the finish line, the tears caught me off guard. No safety rail to contain them.
What causes emotions to careen so far out of control?
Some situations we expect tears. Tears of joy. Tears of sadness. Weddings. Funerals. Child’s first day of school. Break-ups. All considered circumstances perfectly normal to shed a tear.
What about when the salty fluid sneaks up on us for no special occasion at all? Perhaps our tears are tattle tales we should pay attention to.
Today’s Monday’s Marinate we look at light and truth that help guide, as we listen to what our tears have to tell us.
Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain to the place where you dwell. —Psalm 43:3 NIV
Tears tell the truth.
God uses our tears to shed light into otherwise dark places that could prevent us from reaching our fullest potential. Even when we are otherwise happy, there can be places within that God desires to reveal there’s a bit more work we can do together. Tears might not mean we’re sad; they may mean we have a bit more soul work to do.
My husband and I had a great conversation because of my salty tears. We talked about how the enemy loves to twist the truth. Sometimes tears are sent to straighten things out.
The morning started innocently enough. I spent some time, quiet with God, and processed feelings in my journal before I stepped into the details of my day. Before I could travel too far, more drama than I had signed up for unfolded and erupted. And it started with a break in my normal routine. I deviated from the track I generally travel. Rhythm of writing disrupted as an email caught my attention. I normally don’t open email until after I’ve gotten creative thoughts down upon the page. Too many distractions lurk. But I needed to send a friend a note with some dates for a get together. So I turned the car a little off course. We’ll take just a slight detour and then I’ll be speeding toward my goal. This shouldn’t take too long. Besides, I already knew the topic I would write about —listening.
I was about to get a very practical lesson in listening.
Intrigued, I clicked open the email. The title prompted me to put on my turn signal and deviate further off course from my previously planned route. A few moments prior, I wrote in my journal about jobs, money, and purpose. I was wrestling with what all of this looks like in my life. What is right? What is good? What is God’s plan? I can’t shake my desire to write. I can’t steer the car any other direction. It doesn’t feel right to turn away from gifts God has given, and this is where my angst wells within. The tears told me so.
Blueprint for Life is an excellent blog with a focus on helping individuals find and pursue their God-given passion and gifts. It’s rooted in God’s Word and principles. What would God have to say to me through Careening Careers?
When I read about tent-making jobs I cried. I don’t want a tent-making job, something practical that would never let me pursue the dreams & desires of my heart. I want a job where I can use the gifts and talents God has given me. It felt tragic that this woman spent 30 years in a job outside her passion because it paid better. Crikey. I already pursued the revenue stream in my previous sales career. No! Putting my foot down! No! Sobs stomped adamant down my cheeks.
Tears told the truth. No more tent-making jobs. There’s a solution I can’t see, but I must pay attention to the spirit that rages, tears in a torrent like a storm that brews within. Don’t do it. Don’t sell out.
Financial stress can skew things. We can feel squeezed into a corner if we let Satan back us into one. God doesn’t want us to panic; He wants us to rest in His perfect peace. He has a predetermined plan for us all. We need to listen to Him in all ways He desires to speak to us. Sometimes, that might be through our tears. God can use our tears to point us in the right direction. No more U-Turns! No more crashing into things. We travel His straight path. That’s what I want.
The author of Careening Careers struck a chord with her words as God used them to strum my soul.
Inside each one of us is a crazy dream career or ministry—one that we perhaps have told no one about … but, it stirs us. We can’t help but smile when we think about it. It’s stolen a sweet spot in our hearts and we burn to see it come to fruition. Yet we stare at ‘the facts’ and often choose a safe and predictable job instead.¹
I had been staring at the facts and the enemy almost deceived me into giving up my dream. Put it on the back burner and pursue something practical. Tears roll gentle as I type. More truth told. What dreams of yours has the enemy tried to squash? How have your tears told the truth?
The fact that I’m facing this much resistance and this much distorting of the truth is also something I should listen to. Satan isn’t going to roll over and let me try to make a difference in the world without a fight. But God is so very faithful in showing us the truth.
Don’t fall for the lies of the deceiver who desires to squelch dreams. Listen to the voice of God who yearns to see us realize our fullest potential.
God will light the way as we plant our feet firmly in His Word.
Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.—Psalm 119:105 NLT
His Word reveals truth to us. His lamp lights our way. We learn to discern God’s voice whether He speaks it in the Bible or other sources He chooses to use. The root of truth always reaches back to God’s Word. But He uses many ways to reinforce truth in our lives—if we listen.
You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.—Psalm 16:11 NKJV (emphasis added)
The truth is I don’t have to have this all figured out today. Whatever it is you might be going through? You don’t have to figure it out in a day either. We’re told to let God show us the path of life. It seems wise to me that we should listen to that council. After all, He’s the One with the plan. He knows where we’re going—even when we don’t.
God knows what’s behind every tear we have ever shed. Sometimes, my tears are a mystery to me until I’ve done a little detective work with my Father, the One who loves me – and who loves you too. God sheds light as we listen to the story our tears have to tell.
This truth-telling through my tears is all Emily Freeman’s fault! (Smile) If you are a regular reader, you know I’ve been reading A Million Little Ways. I’ve wanted to write and share some of what she has to say about listening. God’s been using her book to teach me.
There are many ways we can choose to listen. I feel like there will be more we explore, but for today, it has been about listening to our tears. Emily’s idea—not mine. Good advice worth passing along. Here’s what Emily has to share about our tears.
Or maybe our tears are tiny messengers, secret keepers of the most vulnerable kind, sent to deliver a most important message—Here is where your heart beats strong. Here is a hint to your design. Here is a gift from your inner life, sent to remind you of those things that make you come alive.²
What is it that makes you come alive? Perhaps it is art, music, volunteering, leading, inspiring, serving, or shepherding. I don’t know what that answer is for you, but I pray that you experience to the fullest the abundant joy of fulfilling the dreams God has placed within your heart. I pray that He straightens out every ounce of deception as He untwists lies from the enemy to reveal God’s truth that He desires to tell you – through your tears and every other way He chooses to keep you on the path to fulfill your calling.
The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.—Zephaniah 3:17 ESV (emphasis mine)
These words rich and sweet, like a decadent chocolate cake, are some of my favorite in all of Scripture. Today, we’ll hone in on He will quiet you by His love.
God’s quiet peace prevails today, because I listened to the story He desired to tell me through my tears. I don’t have every answer I need, but I have enough to proceed. And that is enough. I have prayed. I have asked others to pray on my behalf.
The long and the short of things is that the plan doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Perhaps, there is a solution that sits somewhere in the middle. Through a series of question and answers with my husband, I was able to discern paths that are a definite “no”. And then there are some paths worth praying over— possibilities of sorts.
My dreams don’t have to die, which is what all those tears were about. No. My dreams don’t have to die. God will show me the way as I listen to His still, small voice.
What dreams do you have? Your dreams don’t have to die either. Don’t listen to the deceiver. Listen to God’s voice, even if He has to speak to you through tears. Sometimes, the salty fluid has much to say. Sometimes, tears shed light and we find diamonds in the rough.
QUESTIONS & ACTIONS
- What lessons have your tears taught you about yourself?
- About God?
- About the desires of your heart?
- What truth do your tears tell?
- What diamonds might you find if you allow your tears to shed light in rough places?
- Have you let a dream die? Pray and ask God to breathe fresh life into those salty waters. Remember, He has resurrection power!
¹Dixon, L. (2014). Careening Careers. [Blog] Blueprint For Life. Available at: http://blueprintforlife.com/blog/careening-careers/ [Accessed 31 Jul. 2014].
²Freeman, E. (2013). A million little ways. 1st ed. Grand Rapids: Revell a division of Baker Publishing Group, pp. 110-111