Questioning Alone (Poem)

Questioning Alone (Poem)

*I wrote this because I needed to. I share it to remind you when you feel alone, you can know (if only in your head) that you’re not.

Lord, why do I feel like I’m all alone; like the progress I’ve made was all for not? Why do I strive and fail? Why do all of my ambitions feel fruitless? I’m walking up stream. A moment passes when I feel I’ve prospered, but I find my foot crushed by a stone. One moment, I feel I’ve made headway and the next, I am knocked down. I float down stream. There is no trace left in the ground beneath me to prove I’d gone anywhere. Do the trees have eyes to back me up? Do the mountain peaks stand up in my defense to vouch when I’m seen striving in the place I’ve already been for seasons that have come and went?

Why does it feel like I stand alone? I feel that I’m following the plans set before me and when I’m doing well people notice me, but they do not join me. When I’m starving and isolated and even in my dreams, don’t find relief, I’m left alone to sink.

In the high times of my life, I find rest in you, Jesus, and joy in the moments I spend with you. In my confident moments, I still hear your voice of pleasure, your peace when everything around me seems to be anywhere from building to crumbling, because I know you are with me. In my joyful days, my humor and laughter is uncontainable. In my persistent days, nothing on earth or beneath can stop me from following through with bringing the wonder in my mind to the world in the unique way only I could do.

But in my despair, the days I have reason to feel alive, I feel empty. One moment I can hear truth and put on the face I feel people want to see, and the moment I’m alone, my hope leaves as if I hadn’t heard a thing. The things that normally feel rejuvenating feel exhausting and even the littlest lie from any of my enemies can throw me into a spiral of self loathing. I find myself drained, lying in my underwear in the middle of the day, trying to find motivation through music or the Bible or anything. In the process, I usually find myself asleep.

These aren’t the places I strive to be or the mindsets I ever want to be having. In a few hours or even by the time I’m finished writing, I may have mental clarity. Hope will eventually arise along with energy and redemption of the waisted moments in sin or self pity.

We do not deserve whatever hellish conditions we put ourselves through when we’re held in a chokehold by the devil’s schemes, others lies and selfish tendencies, or the evil we can be to ourselves when our flesh proves to be weak.

Sometimes, I am my own worst enemy, but I will push through, learn what only my weaknesses can teach me, and force myself to bring others in with me that I know have my back. These are the hardest times to do it, but the most crucial times to get through it.

As a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, do not give up or disqualify yourself when your weak. Get reinforcement from one who is willing to be close enough as you reconstruct, build you up, and hold your ground. That’s what I surely need now.

Dream (Poem)

Dream (Poem)

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. 

Love Like a Lighthouse (poem)

Love Like a Lighthouse (poem)

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

Grief: Where Eyes Are Open (Poem)

Grief: Where Eyes Are Open (Poem)

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.

About the Little Things (the things that matter most)

About the Little Things (the things that matter most)

What are some of the things you hate the most about yourself? Chances are, most of them are things you could change if only… (fill in the blank.)

What would happen if you decided those things would no longer control you?

When I think about the question for myself, I think of laziness, selfishness, lack of drive, my body mass (or lack there of) and other things. In the past few years, I recognized this in myself and slowly started to change these things.

As I write this, I’m realizing it is a sort of follow up post for “Disconnect (where character is built)“. If you haven’t read that one, it might do you good to check out.

These things I started taking steps toward in December, and carrying them through for a few months. I felt more confident and healthy then I ever had! About four months into it, I started to let little things go, one little thing at a time.

It started when I decided to let myself slack on pushups. This lead to letting myself slack on tidiness and lead to more important things, like letting myself slack on my personal time with the Lord. Life got busy, and although I had close friendships and relationships pushing me to be the best me I could be, I made excuses.

It’s really easy to get to a place like I had gotten. Excuses are everywhere. The question I had to ask myself was would I rather stand here, not being the person I want to be with a hand full of excuses, or do I want to stand here, slightly tired at moments, maybe bumped or scratched, but have become the man I want to be with a boat load of satisfaction, knowing that I gave my all.

As of the past week, I had some big wake up calls that lead me to take some self inventory. I realized that I was no longer living the life I wanted to be living. Most of this all stemmed from selfishness, and poor decisions that lead to burn out and a “screw it” mentality.

This week, I’m getting back to what I started; back to becoming the me I want to be.

What is holding you back from achieving the goals you’ve wanted to reach or becoming the person you want to be?

It Will Pass (when we’re not okay)

It Will Pass (when we’re not okay)

Sometimes Jesus revives us in a moment, but sometimes, he gives us eyes to see how he’s been sustaining us through our season of struggle.

Being in a place of hopelessness, or grief, or pain is often accompanied, in one way or another, with questions or feelings helpless. I’m not saying it’s a necessary thing, or that it is a “this, then that” statement. I am saying, due to the human condition, we often revert to negative introspection, especially when dealing with more serious things, like depression or anxiety.

The past few months have been amazing in specific ways, but really challenging internally in different ways, dealing with some mild separation anxiety with my twin getting married soon, some loneliness, but mostly just feeling some connection to the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz, and even more specifically the way the Avett Brothers described him in their song “Tin Man”. One line specifically goes, “I miss that feeling of feeling.”

This past weekend I took a spontaneous road trip with my cousin. I knew I needed it. I knew I needed something to jumpstart my feeling and remind me of the joy I had known to be, not just on the outside of me, but deep within me. It’s a joy that leads to tremendous peace, and I hadn’t felt it in a long time.

Throughout the trip, through music, podcasts, conversations and practical love from strangers, something changed within me. My circumstances didn’t change in my life, but after attending Jess Ray’s album release concert for her new album, “Parallels and Meridians” God began to soften my heart to a place I could begin to feel again; something other than tired or anxious. I started to feel the love, and even the community of the church being a singular body. We had no plans on places to stay besides my car, and with that being announced from the stage so graciously by Jess, we were offered 6 or so different places to stay by total strangers. We ended up staying with the first people who offered, went to their place and crashed on their couch bed. When I woke up in the morning, I felt a pease and comfort, something I hadn’t felt in a while, as well as a sense of belonging.

fast forward a day or so, and this evening, at “theOak” (the youth group I volunteer at) I had a realization; Sometimes Jesus revives us in a moment, but sometimes, he gives us eyes to see how he’s been sustaining us through our season of struggle. As I worshipped and sang to Jesus, memories came to my heart from times I wasn’t feeling it, but God was still using and calling me toward himself.

If you’re going through a season, if you feel empty or anything other than joyful and free, remember: It will not last forever. as my pastor said this morning in typical Pastor Ted rhyme scheme, “Your pain has not come to last, it has come to pass.” It will not be everlasting. Push into Jesus. Be honest with yourself and be honest with Him; he can handle it. In a moment or in time, you will see the other side.

 

Don’t Force It (It Will Come)

Don’t Force It (It Will Come)

No matter how hard I try to hide it, I want to be Iconic and known for leaving something behind. I want everyone to know that God is real and that they’re important to his heart, purpose and plans. Mixed in, there’s definitely some hope to be seen as important as well. That being said, I’ve also had a lot of opportunities to do things in my life, and because of that, I know I am privileged.

These opportunities that have presented themselves and continue to are, strangely enough, not always “blessings.” I could write a book on what true blessings are, especially from a spiritual standpoint (and I am also sure plenty of people already have), but the point is this:

What looks like a blessing could possibly be a distraction. 

I’ve started seeing a counselor and a part of what we’ve been working through is my desire to help, mixed with a selfish desire to get something in return for the help I have given. I am one that tries to be for everyone else what I don’t have for myself; you might relate.

Through this process, I find myself often trying to solve or fix situations, but never actually finding satisfaction in that achievement once it is completed. I had a moment of reflection a few months ago and checked my gas gage (hypothetically speaking) and saw that my gas light was on. I was so close to running out, I was running on fumes. What I was trying to do was create something impactful without any intention on finding contentment in the process. I was all about making it happen and spreading myself thin in the name of hustle.

I asked myself some questions and pondered some thought:

  • “there’s gotta be something more then living a tired life.”
  • “how can I fix this? all I’m doing it throwing myself into everything and hoping someone will catch my vision.”
  • “How can I be more intentional?”

These are some of my conclusions I came to:

  • Fighting to become something if futile. No one will ever see what all you put in, and having an identity driven goal means you’re in the middle of an identity crisis. That’s possibly a little bit extreme, although it does point to one fact. Your identity is not already secure, and without finding security in yourself now, their will not be security when you get that title,or job, or house, or skill. That grind will wear you down and bring on anxiety and stress.
  • It’s ok to say no. You will have more energy if you take time to rest. (Also, social media and Netflix doesn’t equal rest.) Spend some time with yourself and God! That is where you’ll really be refreshed.
  • Intentionality is key, and is found and rooted in confidence. This confidence, for me, is only found in spending moments with Jesus, if it’s journaling, or reading the Bible, or singing, or soaking and just listening, actually meditating, and resting. Through “waisting” time resting, there is a refreshment that takes place, as well as that confidence to make the decisions that need to be made to achieve what needs to be done, in a healthy, peaceful way.

It’s ok to wait. Some things don’t need to be acted upon exactly when it’s dreamed up. Some things will be ready immediately, but if they’re not, don’t force them.

I have a list of things I’m super excited for in my life. I know most of them will happen, but until then, I will strategize, I will rest, and I will act when it is time.