The Chip on My Shoulder.
Two days after Mom died, I walked aimlessly around Costco, dizzy with shock. Whose life is this? I found myself in the refrigerated produce section lost in a fog, blocking traffic.
You’re supposed to go the other way, another customer instructed. I mumbled an apology. Can’t you see the weight that I’m carrying! I could scream this so often. It’s not her fault. You might need to tell yourself this: It’s not their fault.
We must be careful, here. We can’t let the anger from pain go unchecked. Concealed pain might be the hardest kind because we look orderly but inside, we’re splintered. Concealed pain secretly tells us we’re all alone in it, and nobody else hears the lies that need rebutted. Concealed pain is rarely stagnant. It builds; it takes on other forms. Concealed pain can look like disappointment that turns into a chip on the shoulder that turns into baggage.
The enemy must love to warp our pain into our destruction. You may be secretly harboring your disappointment. You may be wondering why a good God would let you go through this. You can be honest with Your Savior about your questions. Rest assured, He already knows. He cared enough to abandon glory to conquer your shame. A King who volunteers to rehabilitate your offensiveness with His personal death undoubtedly cares about the matters of your broken heart. Keep this Truth close when the holiday bustle accidentally forgets your pain.
Right now, it’s awfully messy, and you will work hard to not flounder in isolation. You may feel helpless, but you are more than a conqueror through Christ who loves you, calls you, intercedes for you. Nobody else may see the quiet suffering you’re hiding—but God does, and He offers you freedom from the erosion unchecked pain can cause.
Do you know what’s better than the answer you want? The Father of Compassion’s presence. Do you know what’s better than a painless existence? The God of All Comfort. Do you know what’s better than your plans? The purpose God will bring about in your pain.
I was recently in this place, hitting a wall at every turn. Nothing was working like it should. I exasperatedly told God how irritated I was. He reminded me that He knows what He’s doing. I was still annoyed that I would need to submit to Him, but I at least felt Peace in doing so. Because the Peace we sing about at Christmas time? It’s available to us year-round, and it looks a lot different than a good life. Somewhere, knee deep in it, you’re going to want the presence of Christ over a life gone right.
“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written ‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”
Romans 8:31-37 (NIV).
Prayer. Lord Jesus, would You remind me that You know what You’re doing?
Application. Today, I will write to God about why I am disappointed, even if it’s just a sentence.