I love Jesus, but I cuss a little.
I try to keep it in check and only let out those less than lady-like librettos when absolutely necessary; but the thing is that sometimes, there just are no other words than the cuss words.
Ok, fine. There are other words. There just aren’t always words that give me the same catharsis.
I tend to cuss most often when I’m angry or upset. There’s just something less effective about words like “stinkin” and “freakin” when your emotions are at their boiling point. The valve doesn’t release quite as well with “crap” and “shucks,” ya know?
I sometimes feel like I’m crossing the boundary of profanity, however, when I use it in prayer.
My most recent prayer started like this:
“God, I’m not sure what to do with this shit.”
I continued on speaking to God like I speak to my best friend. I tried to avoid using the F-bomb, but it likely came out once or twice.
I did apologize for my lack of couth and I just have to tell you, I’m pretty sure I got the soul wink from Heaven.
Even God understands that sometimes certain words just fit. I’m not saying He condones cussing or enjoys it in my prayers; but I think it’s probably like what happens when our babies repeat a potty word they’ve picked up from us on accident. We sort of cringe and correct them, but some part of us is also laughing and winking (depending on the word and its usage, of course.)
I share this with you because I think sometimes there’s an idea surrounding prayer that it all has to be formal and eloquent. That we have to know what we’re doing and sound good doing it.
I know that because I used to believe it. It often stopped me from praying altogether.
There’s an idea of what a “good prayer” sounds like. A way we are supposed to speak when we speak to the Heavens. While I do believe we should have reverence when we speak to God, I believe He cares more about that we talk to Him, not how we talk to Him.
I believe God would rather hear anything from us than nothing; and I’m quite confident He can deal with our occasional cuss words, even in prayer.
If He’s big enough to handle everything, don’t you think He’s big enough to handle my less than gorgeous language? If He’s big enough to calm the seas and quiet my insides, don’t you think He’s big enough to process my less than perfect prayers?
The awesome thing about God is that He doesn’t ask us to get it together before we come to Him. He doesn’t need us to figure it all out first. In fact, it’s the exact opposite.
God wants us to trust Him with all we’ve got. Our good, our bad, our messy, our ugly, our broken. He wants our guilt, our shame, our pain, our doubt, and our fear. He waits for us. He longs for us. He wants all of it.
If your child came to you upset and in their venting allowed a cuss word to escape their lips, would you turn your face from them because their language was less than eloquent as they poured their heart into your hands? Would you ask them to clean it up before coming to you next time? Would you not hear them if their delivery was messy?
Or, would you simply be happy that your child trusted you enough to come to you before they got it together? Would you not just be grateful to be the one your baby came to with their unfiltered emotions?
I think that’s how God feels. Like a parent who has watched their child struggle and now gets the opportunity to step in to help a bit.
He doesn’t care near as much about our word choices as He does about our hearts.
So yes, sometimes I cuss. Sometimes I even cuss when I pray. And no, I don’t think those words get in the way of my prayers reaching God’s ears at all.
God is big enough to handle any and all words I need to throw at Him. He’s good with the tender; He’s good with the harsh. He can take my anger, my sadness, my pain, my disgust, and my confusion just as He delights in my joy, my breakthrough, and my success.
He grieves in my grief. He fights in my fight. He laughs in my laughter.
That’s the thing about God.
He’s everything. He can handle everything. There’s nothing too hard, too ugly, too messy, or too broken for Him.
If I had to have it all together before I approached Him, He’d never hear from me.
He knew that about us. He knew we were going to be so very human all the days of our lives and that there would be no way for us to ever be perfect. He knew that people might get that part about Him screwed up and that the idea of needing to be sparkly before coming to Him would stop many of His children from having a relationship with Him at all.
God is the only perfect thing there is. He’s never asked us to fill that role. He’s got it.
So while I do my best to keep my mouth clean, both in and out of prayer, I just want you to know that sometimes, I cuss when I pray. I talked to God about it and I feel safe that He’s okay up there despite my verbal slips.
He’s okay with whatever you’ve got too.