About nine months ago I was hurt in a relationship. That ongoing fracture forced me to pray and ask some difficult questions: what is my part in this, why am I hurt, and what does God want me to know about my identity in Him in this pain?
What I’ve realized in praying and listening is I want people to perceive my motives as genuine and loving. If they don’t, I’m easily offended. I also realized because of this I’m constantly trying to prove and protect myself – apparently because I don’t trust that God will.
Last year I learned about writing laments, an expression of deep regret, grief, or sorrow. The Bible is filled with laments, but I’ve never written one. Maybe writing a lament would help get to the root of my desire to protect myself and control people’s perceptions of me.
But who or what did I need to grieve?
Although I’d prayed, journaled, and spent a considerable amount time processing an incident of childhood trauma, I decided to lament my perpetrator. I’d never sensed any unresolved anger or unforgiveness toward my offender or the Lord regarding the assault, but nothing else seemed to be helping.
Unfortunately, the lament seemed forced and unfruitful. When I was telling a close friend and mentor that, she listened compassionately, however eventually she wondered out loud if I should lament someone else – an even bigger enemy, constant source of condemnation, and my loudest critic. She suggested I write a lament to myself. The fact that I instantly welled up with tears when she suggested that made me realize maybe she was right.
It took me several days to muster up the courage and carve out time to write. Part of writing a lament is confessing the need for God’s forgiveness in our lives. I wasn’t sure what I had anything to confess, but I tried to just write every thought that came to mind and when I did, it was insightful and powerful:
“Lord, I’m sorry I’ve wasted my life and joy in this way. I’ve spent so much time being offended and trying to protect myself from others validating fears where I think I’m dumb, not refined, blah, blah. I’m sorry for not rejoicing in who I am in You, Your acceptance of me, the worth and value you see – enough to have sent Jesus to die for me.”
When we listen to lies in our head that rob us from the love and acceptance Christ has already given us, we live with regret. Although God’s freed me from so much of this already, I didn’t realize how much I’m still my own worst enemy. Since writing this lament however, the voice of shame and condemnation is softening, more. I’m starting to trust that God is my vindication (Psalm 7:2), more. I’m worrying less about protecting myself because Christ is daily ridding me of the worst voice of all. The voice that told pervasive lies, filled me with shame, and worst of all, denied Christ’s finished work on the cross for everyone, and for
P.S. Want to write your own lament? https://static1.squarespace.com/static/530bf6ebe4b0c41c6bc2d513/t/5e58031e205c1c350991efca/1582826272649/Writing+a+Lament.pdf