Did you realize that “pour out your heart” is commanded in the Bible?
“Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.” Psalm 62:8
I forget this sometimes. And I fail to do it. Do you?
“Pour out your heart” makes me think of complete trust, confidentiality, and an intimate relationship. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have someone you could trust completely, someone with whom you could share your heart without reserves? Wouldn’t it be great to have that relationship with our Heavenly Father?
I think we are often too formal with God.
Maybe we think He doesn’t have time for us, or doesn’t care about our feelings. Or maybe we feel that we have to keep our composure, act appropriately, and say heartfelt but polite prayers to Him. Too emotional comes across as desperate, right?
I think those of us who were raised in the church – as “good little church girls” – maybe struggle with this more than anyone. Somehow the practice of putting on your Sunday best, using your nicest manners, and learning all the right answers in Sunday School, for many of us, translated into the idea that we need to bring God our “best face.”
A glance through the Bible, however, will show us something pretty different from that. What we find is that the people of God were often – quite honestly – a mess!
People all throughout the Bible poured their hearts out to God. Moses was very honest with God about his feelings and fears (Exodus 33:12-18). Hannah wept bitterly as she prayed for a son, to the point that the priest thought she was drunk (1 Samuel 1:10). David freely expressed all his emotions to the Lord, from dancing with joy (2 Samuel 6:14), to weeping and wailing with despair (Psalm 6:6), to begging God to demolish his enemies (Psalm 109:8-15)! Jesus prayed in great agony before His crucifixion (Luke 22:41-44).
I personally think God likes our messy, emotional, gut-wrenching prayers a lot better than our neatly-packaged-and-presented prayers. Because those are the ones that come straight from the depths of our hearts. And it’s our hearts that He wants most.
I wonder if the reason we don’t often pour our hearts out to God is that our way of thinking about Him is wrong. Do we really trust Him?
The remainder of the verse tells us to trust in God because He is a refuge for us. A refuge is defined as “a place of shelter, protection, or safety.” God can be trusted – He is the place to which we can run and hide in times of trouble.
When I’m upset or hurt, I often tend to seek comfort from music, writing in my journal, or talking to my husband or a friend. Or, worse, I attempt to escape my feelings by throwing myself into work or getting lost in a TV show.
Am I afraid to just get on my knees and cry out to God? Why isn’t He the first one I run to?
You and I need to grasp that God is our loving Father – He’s a good, good Father – even in times when He feels far away. He is our personal, loving, compassionate Father, who hears our prayers, catches our tears, smiles at our joy, and reaches out to hold and help us.
He is as close as the thoughts and feelings that race through our souls, and as real as the first prayer that escapes our lips when our hearts break. And He wants simply us. As we are.
“‘…with everlasting lovingkindness I will have compassion on you,’ says the Lord your Redeemer” (Isaiah 54:8b).
Whether you are heartbroken, seeking answers, filled with joy, or something in between,
Trust in Him…at all times.
Pour out your heart.
God is our refuge.
He loves you, and the cry of your heart is precious to Him.