I went to church almost every weekend growing up. Sunday mornings were reserved for rolling out of bed early and making it to church for Sunday school. I’ve never been a morning person so it wasn’t always easy getting to church. Some Sunday mornings would devolve into an argument in the car on the way to church. No matter how heated the argument, though, as soon as we parked and got out of the car it was all smiles.
We have this misconception that everyone has to be happy and all smiles at church. Even though church is supposed to be a place of authenticity, we often feel like we have to put on a show. Everyone needs to be in a good mood, no one can be angry and we all need to have the biggest smiles on our faces. No matter how bad our weeks or our drives to church, we all need to have our Sunday best on, including forced smiles.
We obviously shouldn’t hold that mindset. Church should be a place where we can be honest about what we’re feeling, good or bad. Unfortunately, though, we sometimes apply that mindset not just to church but also to our relationships with God.
We can feel that we always need to have a sunny disposition with God. Regardless of how angry, upset or sad we might be feeling, we think that we always need to go to God with a smile, even a false smile. Instead of crying out to God, we force a smile and pretend like everything is sunshine and rainbows. Just like we shouldn’t force a smile at church, we shouldn’t force one with God.
David set a great example of being honest with God. During the most trying seasons of his life, David brought his deepest laments to God. When he was on the run, when Saul and Jonathan died, and when he committed egregious sins, David always went to God. David didn’t hold back and he didn’t force a smile. He told God exactly how he was feeling, knowing that God was big enough to take it.
We should never be disrespectful or flippant with God, but we should always be honest. We should always tell him exactly how we’re feeling, good or bad. When we’re honest with God it frees us to place our trust in him. Instead of pretending that everything is all right, we acknowledge that we’re hurting and trust that God will give us comfort and peace.
What helps you be honest with God?