God knows the feelings and thoughts that move within our hearts regardless if we choose to relay them to Him verbally. However, next time you feel overwhelmed – speak your mind, literally.
When I was little I would wake up crying for my mom when I had a nightmare. I would lie there so full of fear while I waited to hear her footsteps coming down the hall to my room. Every time she came she would lie next to me and ask me to describe what had happened out loud. She would tell me, “Saying it out loud helps you to let go of it.” My fright would dissolve as I placed my confidence in my mother’s words and rationalizations, walking through the events that had unfolded in my mind. I would fall back asleep feeling safe and at peace.
Say It Out Loud
It can still be intimidating to speak out loud. This is true of our prayer and personal lives. The struggle to tell someone how we really feel, to voice an unpopular opinion, or to stand up for ourselves can often leave us speechless. Why is that? Why do we struggle to vocalize our inner thoughts and feelings? Often times it is because we worry that we will not be heard. That we will put our heart out on a limb and nobody will accept it or protect it. Other times we do not verbalize how we feel because saying it makes it real. There are some stories or feelings we are afraid that if we share them we will have to relive them, and so we keep them to ourselves. However, there is power of healing in saying things out loud. It helps us to rationalize what’s happened to us when we verbalize our feelings and fears.
Regardless of its difficulty, this tactic of saying my fears and sorrows out loud stayed with me as I got older. It helps to say things out loud; it helps to have someone to listen and lean on. I’m sure you’ve experienced this as well – sometimes you just need to talk through what’s on your heart. This is just human nature: we desire to be heard. Recently I’ve taken this habit and applied it to my prayer life. There is debate about the point of praying out loud, but I find there is a certain comfort in releasing my thoughts and worries into the open air.
Pray It Out Loud
I never used to be one to pray out loud. I found myself feeling self-conscious and awkward speaking to an empty room. However, a few years ago I was introduced to the song Testify by NEEDTOBREATHE and it changed the way I approached dialogue in my prayer. The song opens with the lyrics,
“Give me your heart, give me your song, sing it with all your might. Come to the fountain and you can be satisfied. There is a peace, there is a love, you can get lost inside. Come to the fountain and let me hear you testify.”
Let me hear you testify. God desires a personal relationship with you – we see it all through scripture. He created each one of us in his image so that He could know us, so that He could relate to us. Think about it – if God desires a personal relationship with us, why wouldn’t we speak to Him? We do not make friends by keeping to ourselves, we build relationships through vulnerability and honesty. We also do not want to walk alone with our burdens. When we share our feelings and frustrations with others, we are leaning on them for support. We are entrusting our hearts to them because we trust that they will lift us up. Just as we lean on our friends for support, we can lean on our God. We can offer Him what’s on our hearts through dialogue.
When we come to the fountain of God’s love and mercy, we will find satisfaction in the peace and love that overflows. It is in this act of trust of giving our hearts and songs to God that we can truly abandon our wills to Him and trust that He hears us. He desires to know what’s on our hearts and for us to let Him carry our cross with us – so we testify. We bring the highs and lows of our days to Him and offer them to Him, letting go of each one in thanksgiving and detachment knowing that they were given to us as part of a greater plan.
It can be as simple as telling Him about my day, but I’ve found that there is a true sense of freedom when I testify aloud - when I speak my sorrows and frustrations to our Lord. In many ways, it is a living act of the phrase, “let go and let God.” Just as I entrusted the fear of my nightmares to my mother when I was little, I’ve learned that speaking my frustrations and emotions to God out loud helps me to let go. It helps me to acknowledge that our faith is real - that I am heard when I pray.
Now, this is not to say that we must always pray out loud – but I encourage you to try it. God knows the feelings and thoughts that move within our hearts regardless if we choose to relay them to Him verbally. However, next time you feel overwhelmed – speak your mind, literally. Engage with our God in verbal dialogue. Remind yourself that your faith is real and that you are heard during your highs and your lows. Find strength and courage in that feeling. Let your words and prayers break the silence around you and find peace in their release.