My heart is in my stomach. I’ve got lead in my veins. I step in the shower and try to scrub away all the painful thoughts. Scrub my head so hard my scalp is raw. Rub my body down until my arms are sore. Let the water rain down my face and I don’t even mind. Sit down, I’m panicking, elbow on my knees, I can’t even weep. Turn the water off. Dry my body off. Send a message, short and to the point, try to walk in love and not in fear or anger. I get so shaky I can’t stop my legs from breaking my balance. I lay down. Shake more violently, pray to God for some inner peace. Feel so alone and no one can see. Reaching out feels desperate, but I need it. Turn to my notes in my phone to write because it’s easy, but it can’t give me a hug now. It can’t talk me down. It can’t give me council, but it’s half past 1 in the morning and I feel like nothing is working. My heart rate is slowing to normal, my eyes grow heavier and God let’s me know he has me when I feel cold. He has me when I feel old. He has me when I think I should be farther along then I am. He has me when I’m desperately holding onto all that I know. He’s always faithful, always stable. He is The rock on which I stand.
There is a longing beyond myself. It pulls me most forcefully when I read or watch or hear a story of adventure and passion and mystery. The longing is not for something imaginary, but rather truer then the life I am currently living. I am pulled into something that isn’t, and maybe in this current reality could not be, but that doesn’t deter me from closing my eyes and feeling free, content in a dream.
If it be the new Spiderman movie or the musical “Once” or a concert or hearing someones dreams, I cannot leave without inspiration flowing through my veins and into every vessel inside of me. I’m inspired in spite of the fiction, that it is not currently true, because it reminds me that even in fantasy, we are awakened to greater things then living, working and dying. There is beauty in the wondering; how I long to live an adventure. My lungs feel stuffed up when clogged with practicality.
It is important for a person to dream, even if that dream never comes true. To dream is to create. Sharing that creation with another is a more beautiful picture of faith then any lecture could ever portray.
There’s a time to swing back into reality. There’s a time to schedule, plan and critique, but when do we schedule a time to dream? For to dream is to step into hope of greater things.
Story, fiction, and passion are each portals to the truth that this life is not all we’ve been made for. There is truth beyond the cubicles or fork lifts or house calls or stacks of paper. There is life beyond the plans and five steps to success, beyond the meetings and desks, beyond the 9 to 5 and books and tests.
There’s freedom in the open air, adventure in decisions that cause you to risk, joy in the unknown. When you go for that thing that everyone says will not pay out without the proper certificate or experience or training, ask yourself the question, “are these opinions a help or a hindrance to me fulfilling the dreams that pull at my heart strings?”
Write down the stories or passions you hold in your heart. Jot down a reality if you had all you needed. re-read it. Don’t let your imagination be flooded with what ifs; fight for potential beyond what is in plain sight! The stories of justice and fighting for truth ,where good conquers evil when evil seems like it cannot loose are stories for fighters like you. dream. Forge through.
Ps. If you feel like this is for someone else, this likewise is for you. You too, dream. Forge through.
The root of overcoming the lie, “I’m not enough” is found in finding vulnerability within community.M.B.
On Instagram, I asked my followers for suggestions on what they wanted to read about. Ironically, only one of my friends (Jordan Brenize) responded with “vulnerability.” I was, at first, kind of bummed I didn’t get more response on this one, but I believe it brought more merit to the topic of this post. It reminded me that any pride I took from an overwhelming response to one of my posts can be totally stripped away by a lack of response on another.
I realized that my value in that moment was not determined by truth or how God sees me, but rather determined by a number. I was no longer in the zone of creating to create; because my heart aches when I don’t write. I found myself, hungering and thirsting after the approval and applause of others. I even thought of trying to trick or convince people to respond with FOMO without looking desperate.
As silly as it sounds, don’t we all do this in our own ways? we try to cover up what we see as weakness in our own lives so that others will see us in our most refined light. If it’s social media with scenarios like mine, or like some, trying to up sell the fun you’re having so people can see you’re not boring or ordinary. Some of us will act totally different around our bosses then our coworkers if it means impressing them for that praise or raise, while still trying to keep up our image around our co-workers. Some will donate publicly and others will buy expensive clothing or shoes or you fill in the blank. Some will fake an identity to win the heart of a man or woman and end up loosing themselves in the process. Some will hide within themselves, taking on the title of shy or mysterious. They’re afraid of how people see them if they were to actually speak their mind. The main fear behind each of these examples is this; “I’m not enough.” It’s normally posed in question form, “are you enough?” provoking the answer, “no, but what if I (do/become/say) this? then maybe I will become enough. This fear is no stranger or new theory to humanity. The first man and woman felt incomplete, even though they had everything they needed, in the closest community with God and each other.
This lie has started wars, divided churches, separated families, taken lives, caused people to cheat and steal; each act of sin motivated by striving to be someone that is enough. As each of us sells ourselves short, we believe it’s for our better, even if ultimately we know it’s not where satisfaction is found. But Thankfully, we aren’t forced to stay in that mindset, because the truth is, in this moment, you are enough! We all have weak seasons of life.
The root of overcoming the lie, “I’m not enough” is found in finding vulnerability within community.
The thing about vulnerability is it often gets mixed up with transparency. Transparency is putting yourself on the internet, to then hide behind your screen, looking for pity or praise. Transparency is also showing up to a small group or even a stage and sharing all of your problems and avoiding or not hearing out those people you’ve opened up to. In a good, heathy context, opening up to a solid community, or a good couple of friends if it’s a sensitive issue, is the best thing you can do, although part two is the most important step you can make: Let them touch your problems. The Bible says in Galatians 6:2 “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfilling the law of Christ.”
Transparency, like a ship in a bottle, says, I’m here! I’m fragile, but don’t tough me. Take pity, but don’t you dare try and change me. Vulnerability is if that same fragile ship was able to be taken out of that bottle and set on a table before a group of people, knowing full well that if they choose, they can with one swift swing, smash it into a million pieces, or harder yet, point out and help you improve your ship towards greater beauty. It takes humility to let people into your heart and the places we feel dirty or not good enough, or crazy. The amazing part of this, and the reason I say that vulnerability within community is the best way to fight the lie, “I’m not enough” is because a lot of places where we feel alone or out of our minds or dirty or ashamed are the same feelings that other people in your community have likely gone through, are going through or will go through. It gives you encouragement that it won’t last forever, creates bonds with people that you can fight side by side with, and it gives foresight to those who will possibly go through it.
With all of that, anyone can find so much freedom, although, as a Christian, I believe without Jesus as the center of your community, when your community isn’t looking at you through the eyes of Jesus, and if your heart isn’t first going to him for help in times of need, then there’s a higher chance that in your community, those people will accidentally speak something into your life that isn’t true. They will tell you that you’re not enough or that you must be someone or something to finally be happy or free.
With the perspective that none of us have it in our own strength to be perfect or earn our way to heaven, we can then see we are all enough for Jesus. He sent his son to earth because, in our sin, we deserve death, and he didn’t want that to be the end of the story. Jesus took our place and said, if you come to me, know I’ve created you in my image for a purpose and a plan. Stand by me. Believe I am the son of God and that through me and only me, you can be set free. Turn your face away from all the things that left you lonely and unsatisfied and turn your face to me and I will fill you with joy unending, love overflowing, peace that passes human understanding, and I will even give you a helper, my Holy Spirit, to live inside of you.
That seems like the most no-brainer decision I’ve ever herd, but he also desires and even prays in John 17:20-21 that we (his followers) would be unified, and not just unified, but that we would be one as Him (Jesus) and the Father God are one. That’s a pretty wild prayer, but if Jesus prayed it, I believe it can happen!
In closing, if you don’t have a community that you can trust and lean into for help, please reach out and even pray that God would lead you to one. If you don’t know what Jesus thinks of you or how he sees you, ask him, ask your community, and read the Bible, his word. (If you don’t have one, there’s a free “youversion” bible app thats really comprehensive and easy to use.) Be open with God and others about your questions, insecurities, and fears and let them help bring you towards a place of freedom so that you can confidently be you without striving to fulfill someone else’s dreams. You are enough.
When your shoulder no longer feels like a safe place to land; When you still give your heart, but you can’t give a hand; When your mouth wants to speak, but you know the words won’t stand; Is there anything to do when your love is like sand?
When your grace feels abrasive, and your peace feels like distance; When your love leaves a bitter aftertaste, Is there any way to comfort their soul?
When what you gave was at one time able to be taken and used like gasoline and now it’s as good as water in a gas tank, is all hope lost?
When a friend, or lover or family member is no longer able to see you like they used to, you must let another love them altogether. You must let go of the tether. It’s no longer held in their hand, it’s around their neck. To hold on is to cause them pain, no matter how much you’re trying to help, you’re stopping the flow of oxygen to their brain.
Love like a lighthouse. If they sail away, may they find another beacon to guide them, but stay steadfast in who you are. Shine brighter and brighter. Fuel your light, grow stronger in who you are. If they let you in again, you will both be better. If they move along, pray them onward.
You can’t hold them to you, let go of their anchor. Pray as they go. Show love when they let you. Don’t stop living, don’t stop growing. Please let them go, stop fighting and groping. You’re stunting their growth, you won’t bring them healing. Just let them go, you’re no longer shelter. Let them get clear of the storm, the waves are unbearable, let go, let go, LET GO!
And as you finally let them drift away, the sky might not clear. They might not cross over the horizon like you feared, but if they do, they’re out of your grasp, and there’s no longer a thing you can do.
Sometimes to love is to let go; if it’s your grasp today and your heart later, so be it. If your heart never stops singing for the one you’re releasing, may it be a song as free as the breeze, with your heart beyond a fantasy of what could be and into a realm where love transcends feelings.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…”
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Today, I hugged a lady that, last time I saw her, yelled at me for something so silly, I couldn’t even believe. Her face was red then, but it was also red today. Last time, it was from rage, and today from pain, because her husband has now two months been in the grave, almost to the day.
I had a chorus teacher in high school who was known for excellence, her grit, and for making students cry or at least want to quit any activity she would lead. I also know that before she passed onto the other side, she flourished in a place she didn’t choose to show often; in compassion. I saw her become love out loud and as her body withered down and the cancer tried to drown her out, her joy through the pain would grow stronger and stronger, even to her last day.
One time, I lost my dog. Before this happened, I would have privately mocked someone who blubbered over such a thing. I almost had him a year when I heard he was hit by a car. I cried so hard, screamed so loud, and could not speak; when I would try, I would only wheeze. I never felt that way before that day. I was broken. I could not alter what had happened. My heart has broken since through the death of friends, the moving away of my twin, and relationships that would finish.
And isn’t it interesting how in the darkest hours and seasons of grieving, that the ugliness in us takes a season of receding? Our eyes are open to greater things if we recognize that life is so much shorter then we like to credit it for, and eternity is so much grater then holding onto pain.
Understanding trumps rage, compassion smacks power in the face, and taking on someone’s pain as your pain is no kin to mockery.
A hug beat a fist, a listening ear can save a life, and a hand can hold someone’s world from crashing down.
Let the things that seem to break you down hold weight in your freedom and don’t loose it when you’re on the other side.
Let it lead you to a life that remembers pain is not permanent, but love and time are, in fact, the only things that can really heal that.
Being hopeful and full of emotions does not make a man a hero.
You have not won simply because the fog has lifted.
You are not made new when you’ve rounded the bend from a struggle you stumbled your way through.
When we feel on top of the world and our life has taken a turn; when pain is replaced with laughter; when toil is turned to rest, we can not boast as if we’ve done a thing.
Character is is not proven by a hard season ending, but by endurance in the pain. Relief is not a personal gain, but grace from the creator of the day.
Rejoice when the storm subsides, but thank the one who brought you through to the other side. Do not boast or claim that it was by your own strength or even in how you’ve changed. Without God’s strength, we each can fall back into any phase, any vice, any maze, and it’s only because of Him that we can be saved!
In humility is where we find victory. Character is where we can continue to live healthy. All else is vanity, and every other boast except in Jesus Christ, the king of kings is false security.
May I not even be honored for the art or talents I bring. May I not identify with worthless things. May my God be where I seek out peace. May my heart be totally given and my spirit ever free.
when you find someone who feels like home, you want to hold them close. you want the moments to last a little longer when you’re with them. You hope the moments will lead to more moment like the last, that the hope you found in them will not stay in the past.
If a person like that couldn’t change your path, I don’t know what could. It’s not what they say, or how, per say they act, but it is who they are. Your emotions feel so distant, yet so close at hand. You know you’re not dreaming, but at the same time, it feels like it can’t be reality.
As time goes on, you pray that what you felt won’t fade; that the other’s heart felt what you felt. That you might have felt as much like home as their company felt to you.
If there is any hope in a memory of a moment in time, if it be to find yourself at home with them or another, it is that home can be found and does not need to be forgotten. Sometimes, it is to be fought for and other times let free.
That longing for home will not end here, for it’s etched deep inside of me.