Breaking Open the Bottle

Surrendering our sorrows is a sacred form of worship.

Why do we bottle up our emotions away from God?

We know we’re supposed to cast all of our cares upon Him, as the Bible says in 1 Peter 5:7, but many times we find ourselves unable to fully release all of the hurts that hold us captive. Whether we harbor bitterness, or we’re simply incapable of forgetting our pain, we humans manufacture various excuses for not giving our troubles over to God.

We not only make up these excuses, but we also have a long list of reasons why we justify ourselves for making them. “They never apologized to me!” Is one of the most common phrases that signifies a lack of forgiveness. “If I move on from this experience, it will be like pretending it never happened to me.” Is another one that shows a lack of faith in God’s grace. However, as stubborn as these reasons might sound, there is a third reason that comes from a broken heart which is simply unknowing of God’s goodness: “Can God really handle the pain that I’ve been through? How can I possibly heal from this?”

The answer is, of course He can.

Surely the same Lord Who worked physical miracles on this earth over two thousand years ago can also work emotional miracles in our hearts today. It’s simple logic, really – if we were able to trust God to give us salvation for all eternity, we should be able to trust Him to heal us from whatever hurts us in the past or present.

So why do we still have so much trouble actually trusting Him with this? I believe it’s the same reason that human psychologists would ascribe to an earthly relationship – we’re afraid of vulnerability.

Just as we might have trouble opening up to other people we love, we can have the same problem with God sometimes.

Maybe we’re afraid that God will judge us for holding onto something negative for so long. Or perhaps, we think that He might be angry with us for some reason, unable to relate to us due to His status of divinity. Whatever our thinking might be, we need to change the way we view God’s ability to understand us.

In order to access God’s gift of understanding, we must be unafraid to approach Him.

In the New Testament, we are told of the time Jesus and His disciples visited the house of two sisters, Mary and Martha. While Martha, the older sister, was busy preparing a meal in the kitchen, Mary chose to give her time and attention to Jesus Himself. She had been saving a costly bottle of ointment, or perfume, for a special occasion, and decided to use it on Jesus’ feet as a way to honor Him as her King and Savior. She also wept before His presence, using her long hair to wipe her tears off of Him. Mary didn’t care that other people were watching her; she only cared about intimately worshiping her Savior.

Immediately after this took place, Judas Iscariot, the greedy disciple who would later betray Jesus for money, criticized her actions by saying, “Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?” (John 12:5) Jesus corrected him right away, by explaining that poor people will always exist in this world, but Mary chose to use her valuable possession to honor Him before He died.

We must remember that people, like Judas, will always judge our actions based on their own perceptions, but God knows our hearts and can tell if we are sincere towards Him. Therefore, we should never be afraid to open up the treasury of our hearts to give Him what He rightfully deserves.

So instead of saving our emotions to deal with later, we should open them up and give them to Jesus.

Our pain and problems of the past won’t go away if we just keep burying them. Just like dust, they keep building up gradually as a source of constant irritation until we finally deal with them. We shouldn’t be keeping them in a bottle for a special occasion – once Jesus lives in our hearts, He is the special occasion. Unleashing our cares into His loving hands is an act of sincere trust and intimacy. Sometimes the only way to expel recurring issues from our spiritual system involves shedding tears before His presence, just like Mary did.

Showing Jesus that we are willing to be vulnerable before Him lets Him know that we not only trust Him, but love Him as well. We are giving Him the most fragile part of ourselves – our very heart and soul. It’s a sacrificial offering that is the only thing He requires of us, but we must be willing to give it to Him. Shall we selfishly hoard away our bottles of fragile emotions, or shall we entrust it to the care and keeping of His loving hands?

Finally, the ritual of surrendering our sorrows should be completed with sincere worship.

When Mary poured the ointment and her tears on Jesus’ feet, she had to be in a lowered position beneath Him to do so. Likewise, we also must demonstrate humility before Jesus when we ask Him to take our pain away from our hearts. We acknowledge that only He can heal us as the divine Savior of the world. Once we have made our earnest request to Him, He works a miracle in our hearts by relieving us of our enormous burdens. All the heaviness that we carry as a weight inside our hearts will be lifted away, thrown far from our reach.

Whether we’d like to admit it or not, neglecting or refusing to give our burdens to God is a type of pride and unbelief. We think to ourselves that God isn’t able to care for us as well as we think we can. Oh, what an ignorant way to think! Certainly the One Who made the human heart is able to care for it and meet all its needs. Therefore, by letting Him do His work in our hearts, we are acknowledging His authority over us as God and Savior.

Once we have committed our cares to Him, they are no longer our concern. They’re in God’s hands. By confessing our woes to our Savior, we grow even closer to Him, developing a strong, supernatural bond. This special relationship is something that we should cherish all our lives, taking time to nurture it and keep it well.

Why suffer longer when you don’t have to? Give your sorrows to Jesus today.

Satan wants nothing more than for us to hold onto the things that hurt us so we’ll be distracted from serving God. He knows that if he can get inside our heads, he can use our pain as a tool to exploit our primary weakness. Don’t let him have the privilege of knowing your inside information! Give those valuable details and secrets to God before they take root in the form of bitterness.

Holding onto the things that hurt you only prolongs your suffering needlessly. Remember, God is omniscient; by trusting Him with what He already knows about just shows Him how much you love Him. He will show you just how understanding He is, since He was right there with you when you went through everything that ever hurt you. He loves you, and sharing your pain with Him is a sign of strength, not weakness. Jesus made Himself vulnerable for us on the cross, so we should allow ourselves to be vulnerable before Him. Break open your bottled up emotions for Him today – I promise that you won’t regret it.

– Gloria D. Hopkins