righteous f-bombLast month I had the privilege to teach at a retreat for college students and 20-somethings. It was one of the most fun things I’ve ever been able to do.

On Saturday night, I invited everyone to go off on their own and to pray/get some things settled within themselves. Then, when they finished, they could come back to the lodge where we’d been meeting. We had the worship band play the entire time so everyone could worship in response to what had been going on.

As people started trickling back in to the lodge, I saw one girl sitting in the third row by herself. She was a freshman in her first semester at college trying to figure this whole life thing out. I’d known her since she was a freshman in high school and she was a little sister to me in some ways.

The band kept playing and she kept sitting. Alone. After a few minutes I walked up and sat next to her. I didn’t say a word, just sat there quietly. She looked at me a few times trying to figure out what I was doing. I leaned over to her and said, “You realize you’re not alone, right?”

Boom. Instant water works.

She leaned into me and I put my arm around her to give her a hug. It was a total big brother little sister moment.

After a few minutes of sitting there together, I whispered, “You realize you don’t have to be like your siblings, right? You’re different for a reason. You were made to be you, not them.”

She nodded her head through the snot and tears. To put some closure on the whole thing, I said, “You be you. Screw em.”

She laughed, snorted, and said screw em.

Knowing she needed to put a stake in the ground and mean it, I told her she could probably say it a little harsher than that. She looked up at me to see if I was serious, and then with the most virtuous confidence I’d ever seen, she said, “F— em.”

Right there in the middle of this lodge on top of a mountain, as the band played worship songs, she dropped the most righteous f-bomb I’d ever heard.

When she said that, I could see Jesus smile. He knew exactly what she meant. He saw where her heart was and appreciated her going there.

Jesus doesn’t want our holy, put together, all-figured-out prayers. He wants us. He wants our mess, our confusion, and even our cuss words. He wants us to be real with him and tell him when we’re hurting, how we’re scared, or when we don’t know what to do next.

Have you fallen into the trap of performance prayers?

Have you held back from telling God something because you didn’t know the right way to say it?

Have you been searching for a way to tell him how you feel but the only words to describe it don’t seem to be appropriate?

Just say them.

Be a mess.

Drop bombs.

I promise he can take it.

When we go to God in our mess, we say we trust him with it. We may not be able to trust anyone else on this planet with our raw, unadulterated, emotional confusion, but we can trust him with it. He’s not going to think less of us if we don’t know the church words or the “right” way to pray.

Jesus smiled when my friend stopped holding back.

He’s waiting for you to do the same.

Say your prayers and take your vitamins.

Have a nice day.