Psalms 39:1–2 I said, “I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth as long as the wicked are in my presence.” But when I was silent and still, not even saying anything good, my anguish increased.
Who do you have that you can really talk to? Do you have someone in your life with whom you can share the innermost thoughts of your heart? Or are you the type of person that buries your thoughts and emotions?
Research is showing more and more that those who keep silent and bury their feelings suffer more health issues and heal less quickly than those who talk about their troubles. According to a story on The Cancer Blog, “stuffing your emotions, or keeping it all inside, has led more than one person down the path to trouble. At some point, if you do not express your thoughts and feelings, especially the negative ones, you stay emotionally frozen in time. It’s kind of like physically clubbing yourself over the head repeatedly day after day.”
Adelaide University psycho-neuro-immunology researcher Vikki Knott understands the benefit of letting it all out emotionally, and that sharing and releasing distressful emotions can help a cancer survivor survive cancer longer. Previous research has already proven that breast cancer survivors who belong to a support group tend to live longer than their more isolated and disconnected counterparts.
In her book “What’s Worth Knowing” Wendy Lustbader went to a retirement home to find out what elderly people had learned during their many years of life. 91-year old Ethel Huntington said she learned the hard way not to hide within herself.
“I didn’t tell anyone, (my secret). It’s done me damage though, keeping it all inside I never got close to anyone when I could have. I was afraid people could see right into me so I always kept a certain distance. I ended up building my life around my secret, without realizing it. Now I see it. If you hide part of yourself, no one ever really knows you. You pay a high price if you let shame fence you in.”
King David tried that. His motive appears good – he didn’t want to sin and give the wicked people around him more ammunition with which to attack his life and his God. But his initial silence about his frustrations, fears, and foes eventually caused him to stop saying anything good as well. He became emotionally frozen in time, and his anguish increased. He found release and relief only after he began to share his heart out loud. After completely becoming transparent with his feelings, David says to God, “But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.”
Through the expression of his emotions he was taken from the hopelessness of wanting his days to come to an end to the hope of God’s deliverance.
What have you been hiding? What emotions have you buried because you are afraid of how you will look to others if you express them? It would be wise for you to find someone to talk to. It would be wise for you to start by talking honestly with God. He knows your thoughts already, so why not find the emotional healing you long for by confessing them to him. He will restore your hope.