One of my biggest takeaways from the To Stand in Tension exhibition was a set of questions I developed that I began asking myself as I painted, prayed, and searched my own heart. These questions have stuck with me long since I finished the work. At my artist talk, I shared them and had many requests to get them online.
Some of these are difficult questions. They are not meant to pistol-whip any person who is hurting with ways they should be. For instance, you are not meant to read, "Is there anything that can heal you more fully than Jesus?" and feel shame because you are crying out to the Lord, "How Long?!" in your pain. In other words, the question is not, "Why can't you just stop hurting, already? Jesus died for you! So turn that frown upside-down!" Instead, the question is, "Do you have hope in your hurt? And where is it? Are you numbing, searching or for your ultimate healing elsewhere? Where?"
These are great questions to journal. Rather than answering them with the textbook answer, look for a blurt deep in your heart that reveals spaces where you feel God is insufficient or where you feel the need to make yourself feel okay. Write it down, and bring it before the Lord. It's okay! He's not threatened, disappointed, or surprised. He knew you'd be feeling it before you even started. This is the rhythm of the Psalmist. They lay their real feelings at his feet, not some prettied up Sunday School "right" answer.
HURT Is there anything that can heal you more fully than Jesus? LONELINESS Is there anything that can make you feel more complete than God himself?
SADNESS Is there any loss you can sustain that God is incapable of consoling?
FEAR Is there anything that can make you more secure than Christ on the Cross?
ANGER Are you able to make things right without Christ?
SHAME If God made a mistake when he made you, then why did he come to die for you?
GUILT Was the death of Christ on the Cross enough to pay for your sins? Can you ask others to pay for their sins against you, when you have been forgiven yours?
GLADNESS What is the source of your ultimate joy, and is it everlasting?