Several years ago, the pop artist Fergie released a music single called "Big Girls Don't Cry." It was pretty catchy and popular at the time. As I was thinking about my next blog post, that song popped into my head. Here are a few of the lyrics (and no, this is not an endorsement for Fergie or any of her music, etc.):
I hope you know, I hope you know
That this has nothing to do with you
It's personal, myself and I
We've got some straightenin' out to do
And I'm gonna miss you like a child misses their blanket
But I've got to get a move on with my life
It's time to be a big girl now
And big girls don't cry
Don't cry, don't cry, don't cry
The path that I'm walkin', I must go alone
I must take the baby steps 'til I'm full grown, full grown
Fairy tales don't always have a happy ending, do they?
And I foresee the dark ahead if I stay
I started thinking about all the times I've cried since I started this new life journey, and wondered if they were significant at all. I thought about the difference between the tears I cried before this journey and the tears I cry now. I realized that my tears have changed.
Before I decided to make a change, I put a lot of effort into NOT crying. In case you didn't know, not crying can be a form of denial. If I cried, that meant I was acknowledging that something was wrong. If something was wrong, I would have to address it. And if I had to address it, that meant change and pain. So, the fewer the tears the better, no matter how far in despair I was. Better to not deal with it than to cry about it. The times when I did cry were brutal. I made sure to stop before I did too much damage to the "balance" in my life. I was teetering and didn't want to go too far.
The day I decided to do something different with my life and to do it God's way, I cried again. These tears were different. I got an empty journal and wrote down all of the things I hated about myself, my life, the activities I couldn't do, my limitations. As I wrote those things down, I realized I was finally acknowledging a lot of junk in my life. It turned into a confession to God about how far down I had let my sin drag me. And it was all because of choices I made. No one else did this to me. I did it. And I had hurt myself and my relationship with God in the process. So I cried. They were tears of shame and confession, but by the end, they were tears of relief. I knew that God had forgiven me and would help me to truly repent and stop living that old life. He alone could help me change, and He would.
I didn't cry again for a long time after that. In fact, I can't remember another real good cry until I hit the 25-lb loss mark. Those were the first tears of joy I cried on this journey. I wasn't expecting them. In fact, I cried right there in the WW place next to the lady who had weighed me in that day. Can't remember her name, but I remember her smiling like she had seen that sort of thing before. I left there dry eyed, but cried again on the way to work. All good tears. Thankful tears. Hopeful tears. Laughing tears.
Those tears have come up several times since then. When I reach a new milestone, or put on a pair of jeans I've been hiding in the dark crevices of my closet, or when I think about how far God has brought me in such a short amount of time, or when I get an email from someone who has read my blog and related... Those are good tears.
Don't get me wrong: I AM NOT A CRYBABY. (I am, however, a "sympathetic crier" and will cry if I see someone else cry. That condition is strange and cruel sometimes but has no cure. It is just one reason I no longer watch the Halmark channel or anything with "Extreme Makeover" in the title.)
These specific lyrics of Fergie's song stand out to me though because, as a "big girl," I spent a lot of time NOT crying. So please listen carefully as I type the next words...
IT'S OKAY TO CRY!
It may hurt at first, but the tears don't cause the pain. The pain is already there and has been for a long time. You might as well acknowledge it. Not acknowledging it gives it power over you, and you were not created by the Almighty God to be a powerless person. In fact, He wants to give you His divine, supernatural power to overcome and be victorious!
So stop holding back. Grab an empty journal and start scribbling the words you've been afraid to say out loud. Or go for a long walk in a quiet place and verbalize your fears and disappointments. Confess!
And let go.
Only then can the good tears come. Clean tears. Freed tears. God-given tears.
Faithfully, fluffully His,