For several months in 2011 I was really down. Whether you want to call it being discouraged or being depressed, it was something that I really struggled with. One day it really came to a boiling point and I was so overwhelmed I didn’t know what to do. The normal things I’d used to fight it in the past weren’t helping. I received an e-mail about 24 things to do to get out of your funk. I read the list and came to the conclusion that the person who wrote it had never actually been in a funk before. For the most part, the list seemed like the biggest bunch of cliché helps ever collected.
Despite the overwhelming uselessness of this list, at least in my opinion, there were two things he said that caught my eye and got me to thinking. The first was to read the Psalms and the other was “Pray. Pour out your heart to God.” There are a couple of reasons that these two things caught my eye. One is that reading the Psalms is my normal go to help when I’m down but I hadn’t done it this time. When I read the Psalms, I’m reminded that the people of Scripture are real people that had real problems, that they really did turn to God for help during these times and that God really did help them.
The other reason it caught my eye is that pouring out our hearts to God is a very Biblical picture of prayer. It is actually my favorite Biblical picture of prayer. I love it because with it I imagine just pouring everything out before the Lord. When you are pouring out your heart, you aren’t being flowery, you aren’t being “proper” and you aren’t being fake. You are just laying it all out there as it comes to you. These kinds of prayers aren’t exactly pretty. They aren’t exactly prayers you want others to hear. They aren’t even things you like to admit bother you or are a part of your life. However, when you are pouring out your heart, you are laying all of these things out before the Lord and saying, “There it is.” To me, this captures Peter’s idea of casting our cares before the Lord better than anything else does (1 Peter 5:7).
As I was thinking on this, I remembered a sermon I preached several years ago on being honest with God. This sermon basically focused on this same idea of pouring our hearts out before the Lord. So I found it on my computer and read it. Then I read the Psalm that it came from. Then I read the sermon again and studied the Psalm as I did. It would be hard to put into words how much this helped me. It sounds trite to say “and suddenly I felt better” but I did.
My blog this week will focus on some of the things that I learned that day with the hopes that it will help you if you are struggling or know someone who is.
“Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.” Selah Psalm 62:8 (NKJV)