Can We Keep It Real?

Being Honest with God and Ourselves

When I was much, much younger, members of my family often said to me, “Tell us what you really think, Christin!”

They weren’t asking for my opinion – lovingly encouraging me to speak up. They were commenting on the… um… directness or candor with which I had just expressed myself.

I’ve been through many heart-rending, heart-humbling experiences to become the gentle, soft-spoken, diplomatic person a lot of people think I am. The kind of person that I aspire to be.

But I also know that in one sense, I’ll always be a “tell-it-like-it-is” kind of girl, because that’s who God made me.

I’m all about keeping it real – and that’s one of the things I love about the Psalms.

Can We Keep It Real

The Psalmist keeps it real, when he pours out his heart to God – his hurts and heartaches. His anger and frustration. His depression and discouragement. His guilt. His pain.

He’s honest about the times he’s failed, but he also wants to be vindicated when he’s been betrayed, lied to or about, falsely accused.

He’s not blind to the injustice or wickedness or evil in this world –and how it seems to triumph sometimes or go unpunished.

He doesn’t plaster a plastic smile on his face all the time or pretend to live in a lofty spiritual plane where nothing disturbs his peace.

He doesn’t always feel God’s presence or comfort or strength or help.

“When I was in deep trouble, I searched for the Lord. All night long I prayed… but my soul was not comforted.” (Psalm 77:2)

And he’s not afraid to tell God what he really thinks about it.

He keeps it real.

But the Psalmist also keeps it real in ways that I sometimes forget…

He keeps it real about the good stuff, too.

He remembers all the times he HAS felt comforted and strengthened by God’s presence, His love, His salvation.

He remembers all the good things God has done for him and for His people through the centuries… sometimes generally and sometimes very specifically, recalling particular instances and events.

“I will teach you hidden lessons from our past – stories we have heard and known, stories our ancestors handed down from us. We will not hide these truths from our children. We will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about His power and His mighty wonders.” (Psalm 78:2-4)

He celebrates all the victories God gives him. He rejoices in God’s protection and provision — in big ways and small ways.

“He cared for them with a true heart and led them with skillful hands…” (Psalm 78:72)

He sees how often God does intervene and does reward the faithful and does vindicate the righteous.

He praises the life-giving wisdom God has provided for us in His Word.

The Psalmist describes all the attributes of God –all the things we know about who He is and what He’s like – what He does. His heart toward us. He names God his Rock, Refuge, Shield, his Strength and his Song, his Good Shepherd.

He recites all the ways God has been there for him in the past and how God has promised to be there for him now and in the future.

He continually tells his heart and soul to be still. Wait patiently. Have hope. Look up. Keep an eternal perspective.

Hope Verse 1

All of this, too, is keeping it real.

Reading the Psalms this summer, I’m reminded I want to do better about keeping it real in EVERY sense, in every way. Especially this one.

Want to join me?

 

Virtual VBS for GrownUp Girls® Assignment

It’s Week Four in our free online summer Bible study, Virtual VBS for GrownUp Girls® ~ Summer in the Psalms. If you’re participating, remember these are your instructions for this week…

Choose a reading plan:

1)  Soaking in the Psalms ~ Savor 4 Psalms a week.  This week’s Psalms are Psalm 77, 78, 91, and 100

2)  Surfing through the Psalms ~ Read through the entire book of Psalms during our six-week study. This week, read Psalms 76-100(which includes the “Soaking” Psalms — see above).

Reflection Questions:

1) Does it come naturally to you to “keep it real” with God and with others — or is it harder for you to be honest about what you think or feel? Whatever  your answer, why do you think this is? Is it your personality / temperament? Your upbringing? Past experiences? Messages you’ve received from our (church) culture or society? How do you feel when the Psalmist gets real — or when other people do? Spend some time journaling about this or talking it through in your head or with a friend.

2) Try writing your own Psalm — a psalm of lament or praise and thanksgiving, or a psalm that records your spiritual journey. Originally the psalms were written to be sung — which is why they’re in verse. And in the original language, some of them rhyme, some have repeating refrains, some are actually acrostics (the first line of each verse starts with a different alphabet letter). Use whatever form you like!

Memory Verse:

This week’s verse is Psalm 91:2 NLT ~ It’s on the graphic in Monday’s post and on our VBS Pinterest board.

If you’re just joining us – You can catch up by reading past posts on our Virtual VBS for GrownUp Girls® Archive page or by hitting the “back” button at the bottom of this post and scrolling through.

SPECIAL VBS GIVEAWAY: If you’re a Virtual VBS Participant and you’ve signed up for our emails, you’ll be getting a message in a couple of hours with instructions on how to enter our extra-special Virtual VBS giveaway.

You could win a Psalms coloring book, a copy of my latest book, What Women Should Know About Letting It Go,  this week’s guest poster Lucinda Secrest McDowell’s book Dwelling Places, a Psalms bookmark… all kinds of goodies!

Virtual VBS Psalms Giveaway

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

4 thoughts on “Can We Keep It Real?

  1. I am a recovering co dependent.

    My background was children were seen not heard or asked how they felt. In co dependent relationships, my opinion did not matter and later I feared being vulnerable with honesty. I ended up numb. I lost my identity.

    On my journey, I found I was honest about what I perceived others felt or thought but not my self.

    Now, I am getting in touch with what I feel, think and want. I do want to be honest but hard when I don’t know what I feel. Little by little, with Gods help, I am expressing myself. I found out I like to sketch.

    I have a composition book I write my prayers, feelings, thoughts, etc. It helps me to process and be honest with God. I have my good journal for insights, verses and meditation.

    I have found that being honest, real with God, myself and others grows geniune relationships.

    Now to just do it gently and not the blatent Irish way. Laughing.

    Praise Jesus for pulling out of the pit and lovingly helping my to share my heart.

    • “I have found that being honest, real with God, myself and others grows geniune relationships.” — Yes! Bless you for having the courage to work through the process… journaling / art journaling sounds like a fabulous way of getting in touch with your feelings, thoughts, and prayers. Thank you for sharing your journey here!

  2. christin ,

    you have encouraged my soul to write again … not just songs but stories … too * i know God has brought you and Andrew together for such a time as this …. and i know without a shadow of a doubt that the 2 of you will
    one day write a timeless treasure … like no one has ever heard or seen the likes of before …. God will direct your thoughts and prayers so that His Will can be done and His Story can shine thru each word , phrase and illustration .

    oh just wait and see all the wonderful treasures of hope and beauty and adventure that lies ahead for both of you … i am so excited to be able to view your love story and future life to come from the pages of your blogs and facebook.

    Blessings and Love , From The Albritton Family …. Dave and Kam

    • Thank you so much, Kam! Every day is an adventure… we both have a lot to learn, places God is growing us, stretching us — but it’s been a pretty amazing story so far, and we know the best is yet to come! So grateful for dear friends celebrating with us, sharing our joy. Can’t wait to see what stories God has stirred up — what He does next in you, too!