And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow. (Luke 22:45 ESV)
There is something exhausting about crying. I’ve spent my share of nights crying myself to sleep. It is hard but healthy. Most things that are good for us are just that. Hard but healthy.
As I got older and then married, crying myself to sleep became tricky. I felt compelled to repress my emotions and hide my pain. It was hard for me to be vulnerable and to admit my feelings . . . even to my husband. So I stuffed. For years.
Last week, a young woman I am mentoring sent me a short video. The video spoke about the importance of being vulnerable and the consequences of long term stuffing. She didn’t explain but just sent me the link in a text with the comment, ‘watch this – I think it will be helpful’. Now God does not work in coincidences. He orchestrates. He uses people around us to till the soil in our hearts and prepare us for the seed of His Word.
So when I read this passage in Luke 22 – a passage that I had read countless times before – I was surprised I had never noticed that the disciples cried themselves to sleep. And, unlike my experiences, these guys didn’t have a nice absorbent pillow under their heads to muffle the sound. Can you imagine what that night looked like? Grown men, hunkered down in a makeshift camp, crying themselves to sleep? Talk about vulnerability! Funny how I had just watched this video that taught on the importance of allowing ourselves to ‘feel’, and then ending up reading this story a few days later . . . yeah. It was a much-needed ambush by God.
Ladies, it would have been so easy for me to be prideful and think to myself, ‘Who is this young thing that she thinks she can tell me what to watch? Has she forgotten who the mentor is here?’ But I knew better. I knew that just as the Lord was using me to speak some truth into her life, He was also using her as a mouthpiece. Praise God! I so needed to hear the short video to open me up and to make this verse ‘pop’, (by the way, the video was not from a Christian perspective and I could have easily dismissed it, but thankfully with prayer I received some truth).
In the end, this is what I learned: crying yourself to sleep is okay sometimes. Even good. A hard, but healthy way to cleanse our hearts of hurts, allowing the Holy Spirit to do His work. If the disciples weren’t too prideful to cry in front of each other, I think my sweet husband can handle hearing me cry a tear or two . . . or a hundred.
Father, thank You for designing us with tear ducts. Forgive us for rejecting these all-important vents. Help us to feel safe in Your arms and to allow our emotions to flow out so that Your Holy Spirit can have freedom to move and to fill us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.