I have this thing I've been battling since I was 17 (which is when my parent's divorced buuut, that's a story for another rainy day....which will be a long time from now because it's Tucson :). It was never a problem before then, which I don't actually think is normal now that I'm older, and hopefully, wiser. So here's my 'thing': I cry. A lot.
If you're my family or one of my close friends or a co-worker, I'm okay with the fact that it happens and so often. It's just a part of who I am. However, if you're not someone I know or know well, I get terribly embarrassed and sometimes, even really ashamed over this.
Here's a perfect example. I'm on staff at my church (Casas Church) as the Creative Worship Director and I regularly lead worship for our Sunday services. Which also means I regularly cry, in front of lots and lots of people...while projected on a big screen....on two big screens actually....and then sometimes when a particular service later goes on the internet, my crying episode goes with it to live on and on, forever and ever, but no Amen. One recent Sunday, after said crying on-stage, I was shaming away in my head and thinking about how the experience really is the equivalent to that one dream everyone has about somehow, ending up naked in the middle of the basketball court at their high school pep rally. Or, wait. Maybe that's not a dream everyone has and I'm just thinking about Kirsten Dunst in Bring It On. Regardless, crying on stage is my real-life version of that dream. I get trapped in a moment of,
'This CANNOT be happening right now.
I can't catch my breath between singing and crying. So, great. Now I'm ugly-cry-gasp-breathing.
WHILE I'm in the spotlight. Oh, AND I have black streaks RUNNING DOWN MY FACE, PROJECTED ON A GIANT SCREEN. WHY haven't I bought waterproof mascara YET?
How do I make this stop? If I just walk off, it won't be a big deal right?'
Most of my crying moments are pretty normal for those of us that are just known as being criers. Ya know, sobbing into the first 3 minutes of P.S. I Love You, crying at the commercials with sad and sick animals even though I don't even like cats. Speaking of cats, once there was a commercial about this couple that got engaged but with the help of her family cat bringing in the ring and it was actually some sort of cat food commercial, which is all really weird. But it was sweet and heart-warming and involved loved so obviously, I cried. Movies where someone is bullied or even reality shows where they're really mean to people, which I get is just an act for ratings, really upsets me. And now that I'm a mom, anything remotely sad or touching, involving kids....done. It's over. Better just put me to bed cause I assure you, I'm crying like a baby.
Some of my crying isn't normal and actually is a result of some deeply dysfunctional ways that I allowed myself to operate in, a long time ago once my parents divorced. With men in particular, I 'discuss' (also possibly know as argue) in a way that is loaded with sarcasm or turns highly emotional, with lots of tears (and a blotchy neck! GAH!) because it's hitting on a hurt from my past. So I'm working on it. I'm working on ways to control my tears in these instances because it's not a good and normal outlet of my tears and emotions and I want to live in ways that represent health and life and the truest me.
Back to my on-stage crying. It's something altogether different when I'm crying up there. There are tears of joy and tears of sorrow when I'm up there. There are tears of healing and tears that represent my hopes and prayers for healing. There are tears of gratitude and sheer overhwleming love. ALL of those tears are because of God's love for me and because of what Jesus did for me. AND, for you too.
Worship is a time where I come before God, with all my crap and with all the things I'm trying to do well for Him and know that I'm actually viewed as enough.
And because I've always struggled to feel like I'm enough and I'm remembering I am, I cry.
It's a moment where I come before Him and in spite of all that I've failed in or all the things I'm striving to achieve, I am simply loved.
And because a lot of my relationships in my life have failed to show me love and because each and every day He does, I cry.
It's a time where I come before Him and I'm moved by all that He's done for me. Or, I'm being reminded of the things He will do, wants to do, can do in my life if I surrender to Him.
And because I've been challenged with a dark side in me that NEEDS to be in control but feels burdened by it all, then remembers He carries the weight of the world, not me...I cry.
It's the place where I lift up prayers and pleas for Him to work in the lives of those around me, that different friends and family would come to know Him and find freedom from the things in their life that bring them so much hurt.
And because, in spite of how much I feel like I love them, I know that He loves them that much more and so, I cry.
The songs I lead on that platform aren't just songs to me. They are prayers and promises of hope, love and life. They are words to declare and share about the God that has changed my life. They are words that describe a God who is near to me; my Father who hears me and offers love in a way that no one else ever can or will. That's why I cry. So, embarrassing as it is, I'm trying to be okay with those tears because I'm definitely okay with the God that they represent. And if someone sees a clearer picture of what He can do in a life, if they have a God-moment of seeing a different kind of love they've never experienced while seeing my tears, then that short, but-really-seems-like-forever moment of discomfort and vulnerability, is completely and absolutely worth it.
Do you have a 'thing'? Something you would see as a weakness but that God might possibly be using to display His strength? I'd love to hear it!