Monday, December 6, 2010
He comes to me
Whispering so quietly
I cannot differentiate his words
From my own breath.
He tells me things I used to know
And once believed
Before daylight had broken.
“Child, why all this pride and confidence?
What makes you special?”
…Have I lied to myself about me?
Am I nothing?
I share my brokenness with humanity.
Enough with self-pity!
His chanting closes in about me.
I cannot escape
But begin to whimper.
“You are valueless, not priceless.
Get over yourself.”
Long ago, before the lights were dim,
Someone promised me
But now I feel this rescue is but
Hours later, I discover his threats
Had numbed my heart.
Masquerading as a knight, this dragon
would eat my soul.
I call out for lights and candles.
None are brought here.
…My wavering voice!
My hope falters and I atrophy
When light pours in.
Then someone picks me up gently
I am found.
With my ears deafened,
I hadn’t heard someone proclaiming
I am precious.
I'm not taking this silence any more.
Someone is singing
And my voice shall join.
It is a song of longsuffering love.
This song ignites me.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
The end is near.
Staunch the pain.
Close up the clouds
That rain down tears.
Why are you downcast, O my soul?
In vain, do I mourn
The close of things
That must be closed.
For tonight, I am golden.
I wish for eternal summer
Frolics in a green world.
[I cannot return to a month
Once its been torn from the calendar]
Instead, winter advances daily.
The empty trees watch
As silence and I grow closer.
We bond in the windchill.
If I were hollow and numb,
None of it would matter.
But spring lives deep in my heart.
I cannot surrender this hope.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Thursday, October 7, 2010
I fall in love with the ones that run me through,
Lord, save me from seeking You that I might love others better.
Let me seek You for Your sake alone.
Lord, purify my heart that I might depend solely on You.
Let my love be replaced with Yours.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
We’re all dying to love,
While being loved is the only way to life.
We want to prove ourselves,
When all that matters has already been proven.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
In other news, I've missed blogging. Perhaps, my blog will live again. And perhaps, I will learn to write poetry.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Other times, I live externally, focused on the things and people in the world. Everything I do is fun and happy, but I know the joy is hollow. Today was one of those days. Nothing was wrong, except that I couldn’t feel God.
Now, I don’t always have to feel God to know He exists. Just it is a whole lot easier to believe in somebody you can experience or are experiencing. I don’t care if it’s His love or His reproof I feel: I just want to know He is close. I hate being far away.
All the same, sometimes I am far away. My internal life makes me depressed. My external life is a hypocrisy. I somehow I want to combine my inner thought world and my outer action world… like where soul meets body?
But seriously, this has been annoying me for a very long time. Do we come to God? Or does God meet us where we are? Are we supposed to seek God and beg for forgiveness, even when we don’t know what there is to seek or repent? Or will God find me and whip me into shape?
The thing is, for any of that to happen, I need humility. Unless I am aware of my need for God, I can’t experience Him. And, this week, that was my exact problem. I read my Bible, prayed, encouraged others… all under the impression that I was okay and remembering that God was vaguely somewhere around me. Just, I didn’t need God. God was kind of my buddy that I hung out with for a bit in the morning and talked about with other people. This has been a week of unintentionally insincere love, coming from myself and not from God.
He gave me this verse (yes, again) and told me to be content with not always feeling Him.
I don’t have to worry about feeling Him… just keep walking before Him. But, if I am walking before Him, I have to be aware of what He wants in everything. I have to look at Him, know Him, serve Him. And thus ended my pride and began my restoration to the land of the living.
I am humbled. I can’t be close to somebody who I don’t need or love. That should have been obvious, but it took a while for me to discover that. Now, the question remains: how to need and love God every moment of my life? I don’t have that one down yet, but when I do, I’ll add the answer to this story of everyday restoration. Thanks for listening and loving.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Everything that had been wrong about this semester was suddenly okay, because I understood now. It was happy.
Until I fell.
I don't even know what I mean when I say that. It's like I fell back into everything I was before Masters: insecure, alone, and unwilling to be helped.
And, I don't even know why. Wait. I do. I think it was realizing that I really don't know how to reach out to people. I am such a listener! If people want to talk to me, I am there for them. But if people don't want to talk, even though it might help them, I'm no good. I don't know what to say what or what to ask.
I'm not any good at taking an interest in people either. If we share something in common, I'm better... but plain old "being friendly" and asking people about their day to day life is hard. I live inside of myself. I want to be focused on others, not just focused on how others relate to me.
And, so, realizing the areas I fail sent me spiraling downwards into everything I never wanted to be again. I hated everything about myself and hated that people existed. People are such a problem for me. While they encourage and love me, I can never do anything for them!
Eventually, I was okay again. Sort of. I was guilty for letting myself get down that far. I don't like it down there and thought I was past that. I'm not and don't know if I ever will be.
That realization hurts. It makes me not want to even try. I want to stay asleep so I don't have to face life. I want to live in the dark because remaining in the light is too difficult.
And, I don't like that this is how I am. And, I don't like that I'm telling you this, because now you'll know that I'm an everyday failure who forgets the truth. I'm afraid of what you'll think of me and I'm sorry I haven't lived up to everything you thought I was. Why am I telling you this then? You didn't have to know. I am telling you this because:
With my victory, comes my defeat.
Praise be to Him who has overcome the world.
Truth matters and I am telling you these things because I wanted you to know that truth is beginning to matter to me too.
I still have questions. I always will. But God loves me and that's enough.
I'm not afraid now. I choose the light. Again.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
For as long as I can remember, loving others has featured as one of my main life goals. Tour took that desire to love others to a whole new level. I didn’t just want to be kind to the people I was with; I want to help them, save them.
Each year, CFC has a theme for all of the workshops and presentations that they do. Our theme was “Lead the Escape.” Every week on tour, the team and I did an hour-long presentation one evening about our theme. We discussed many reasons for and types of bondage: physical, spiritual, emotional… poverty, insecurity, lies, apathy, and hatred. In the end, we encouraged the audience to step beyond themselves and go out and help people who are trapped.
Even though I helped to present the program every week, it affected me a great deal. I got so tired and frustrated with telling people to lead the escape and doing nothing about the people around me who I knew were hurting.
One day on tour, I was talking with Michael about how I could help lead the escape for others.
Michael: So, what's been on your mind?
me: a lot
mostly, how do i love others?
and how can i help people who are broken?
Michael: so "how can I help people?"
why the winky smile?
everyone is broken.
so "how can I help people who are broken" might as well be "how can I help people"
me: i guess so
I really didn’t know what to do with Michael had said. In my mind, I was the person who was “okay,” who knew that joy exists and believed that God saves. As a Christian, it was my job to pull everybody else out into the light. I was “whole;” they were broken and lost. And, I needed to help them escape from that. It was always one-way love. It was always about me reaching down into a pit of lies and sin and showing people the sky and world above.
This sometimes made my conversations with people slightly awkward and every time I knew I had to say something, otherwise they might never hear the truth. (Don’t be afraid to stand out. That’s how the lost get found, right?)
I often tell myself I need to love like Tim did when the team had swine flu. I need to love unconditionally, no matter what the cost. I imagine myself as the one who is well helping out the one who sick.
I am sick too.
Maybe it isn’t my role to find people to save them as much as I should be a friend to those around me.
Learning about my own brokenness has somehow changed the way I seek to love others. Now, I want to sympathize with them, understand them, simply be with them.
During and after tour, my life’s motto was “Love must be sincere.” I thought about that phrase all the time and tried to live by it. Of course, I failed. As I learned more about sincere love, I saw places that my love was insincere. I couldn’t love my family and I hated myself for it. I came back to see the team over New Years and found I couldn’t love the team any better.
Through the course of Masters prep, God showed me that my love cannot be sincere unless He is the source of that love. God is the definition of sincere love and in order to love sincerely, I have to look to Him.
Learning that, along with finally admitting my own brokenness, opened my eyes to what it really means to love others. Now, I am at the same level as the rest of humanity. I can’t save people. I’m not any better than them. Sometimes, all I can do is be there for them and be there with them.
During Masters prep, I learned that God loved me enough to save me. I didn’t particularly appreciate being saved, seeing as I didn’t deserve it, but that was the truth and I couldn’t argue with it.
God’s love didn’t truly break through to me until the middle of Masters. When I found that he was on my side, willing to be with me through everything, caring about every detail in life, suddenly I could see that He loved me. That whole week, I had been dreading the end of tour. I simply did not think I could survive leaving the team. They were people I could trust, people who I knew loved me. On the day this all clicked in my mind, I was crying on the floor, telling God that I was lame for having such an emotional response. He said He didn’t care. Even though I was being stupid and not trusting Him, it didn’t matter to Him. He told me He would always be there for me, even during my small, lame problems.
It didn’t matter to me that God was better than me and willing to give me joy if I let him lead my escape. It was the promise to always be with me that made all of the difference.
I can’t ever love the “alone and sick” the same now. I’m done with being right and I'm ready to be there.
Monday, March 15, 2010
I hate being alone. Now. I used to be okay with it.
During the course of tour, I was reminded all the time that I wasn’t perfect. I couldn’t do it all. I wasn’t competent enough. I wasn’t a good enough friend or Christian. I was too prone to failing at life… I was broken. So, I shut myself in a box all by myself. I didn’t want to burden others with my problems or embarrass myself by letting others see inside me.
I remember being lonely often on tour. I spent a great deal of time outdoors where ever I was, so I wouldn’t have to deal with people. Sometimes, I avoided asking people how they were because then they would ask me how I was too.
I barely knew the people on tour, so I told myself that I was an introverted feeler and that it would be okay once I got to know them better.
In reality, I isolated myself. It’s not like I had deep, dark secrets. It was more that I never told any one about what was going on in my life, heart, and mind. I reasoned that I shouldn’t have to open up to others because all I needed was God. I tried to love others without letting others love me.
It was my own fault that I was alone. It was so much easier that trusting somebody else: I wouldn’t run the risk of them hurting me or of me relying on them. It allowed me to avoid working through my own insecurities: I could just keep them all inside at the bottom of myself.
In time you’ve got nothing left to hide
It’s all dead inside.
So, throughout tour, I continued to keep to myself. I think the team didn’t know what to do with me. A few of them told me later me later on that couldn’t connect with me at all. A few of them saw that I wasn’t completely okay and reached out to me, but I wouldn’t open up.
I refused to be loved.
Eventually, my refusal to be loved by others developed into a refusal to be loved by God. I could see so clearly that I wasn’t worthy of love and so I told God that he shouldn’t be loving me either. I wanted to pay for my sin. I wanted to be hated. I wanted to be alone, because that is what I deserved.
God didn’t leave me like that though.
For one will live, another dies
One road says hello the other says goodbye
And the roads that you don’t choose begin to die
During MASTERS prep, I decided to believe that God loves me even though I don’t deserve it. It was the truth and I had no other choice. I stopped arguing about whether or not he should love me and began to see that God didn’t want me to be alone.
God loved me and there was nothing I could do about it. But it wasn’t until the middle of MASTERS that I became thankful for that love. I found out that there were things I simply could not do without God and, only then, was I glad of the love that I could not understand, that would not let go or leave me alone. Ever.
Since MASTERS, I have become ridiculously dependent on God. Not always in a sane, confident way, but many times in a completely needy way. I am terrified of being alone and without God. God is still teaching me to be strong in the grace that is in Jesus Christ.
I will always be a sick and broken human being. But God demonstrates his own love for me in this: While I was still a sinner, Christ died for me.
I don't have to be perfect to receive love and I am done being alone. Nothing I can do will ever change God's love for me. Now I believe it and live by it.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
The flakes danced in the street lights as they drifted down and around me. The thin layer of snow beneath my boots crunched ever so slightly. I turned around and looked at my footprints, zigzagging down the road in the direction I had come from. Then, I faced forward and continued to walk where no man had ever set foot before - okay, where no man had ever set foot that evening - until I started skipping and spinning all over the empty street.
This has been a happy day.