Psalm 32:3 (my bones wasted away)

"When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long."
- Psalm 32:3

Last night I began a conversation that I should have had years ago. Like the psalmist, I had bottled up my feelings and allowed it to eat away at me and loved ones. In my heart, I wanted vengeance or justice too badly to seek resolution.

I'm not sure what the writer of Proverbs meant when he wrote, "Better is open rebuke than hidden love..." I don't know the context of that dichotomy. But open rebuke, offered in humility and personal confession (because we're all a mess) is powerful and cathartic.

This morning I woke up without a headache for the first time in months. I had forgotten what it felt like to wake up without pain.

When I think about this relational dynamic (forgive the anonymity) that has plagued and haunted me for so many years, I suddenly (today) don't feel the shortness of breath and tightening in my chest that comes with all-too-common anxiety attacks.

Psalm 51:6 reads, "Surely you desire truth in the inner parts ; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place," and I realize how untruthful I have been with myself. I clung to my perceptions of justice to protect myself from twisting the knife that cuts to grace... if that makes sense. Transcendent grace can tear us apart when it goes deeper than our little personal graces are comfortable with. We celebrate God's grace until it defies our individual sense of justice.

"When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long." When I kept silent, it was because I didn't want to forgive.

Forgiveness doesn't happen overnight, either. I've got a long road, and it will likely involve much greater understanding of my own complicit behaviors that contributed to sick, dysfunctional relationships. That, too, will twist this knife.

For today, though, I'm thankful for no headache.


Al said...

I celebrate with you. Not only the absence of headaches and anxiety attacks, but the honesty, the guts, the vulnerability, the forgiveness. The truth, the humility, the healing, the restoration.
Grace and peace be yours, my brother.

Peter said...

Thanks, my friend.

nate said...

Seriously fantastic post Peter. Wise words. Anonymity, no problem. I can relate to your feelings, both pre and post.

Existential Punk said...

i celebrate with you, my dear friend! Happiness beams from my being for you!


P.S. WHEN are you going to switch your blog over to free wordpress? AND Emerging Christian is a GREAT name and still very relevant as we are all still emerging. It's a life-long process!

anthony said...

It's easy for people to tell you to set boundaries but it's hard to set wise boundaries and it's harder to enforce them, because the other person must always test them. But if you are getting shortness of breath and tightness in the chest and daily headaches, you should consider setting those boundaries at a pretty substantial perimeter. Let God take care of where the chips fall. He has everyone's best interests in mind. He can manage our situations, but he dos not always do it in ways that are flattering to our egos. It is very hard to get through life without regrets about relationships. And those regrets can color our self-images for a long time, and maybe that is what makes some people think of themselves as sinful, like St. Augustine, but they are off track with that. One can have a deliberate intention of forgiveness, but don't try to force the emotion of forgiveness, or love. It will be there or not, and if not, the intention is enough. Keep up the authenticity. I and your other readers are deeply appreciative of it. Anthony

Brent said...

I'm happy for you:) I'm glad God will always work to move us beyond our own desires.

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