“The thoughts you think are not a waste of time”. I have often been struck by that line.
I live in my head and often feel life has passed me by. But my thinking has benefited me and others. I am constantly amazed that I make any sense at all because in my head is a crowd of voices arguing and yelling. And, maybe following on from the previous post, that is my vocation – to think with Jesus?! Or, as Paul says, I think “so that the church may be built up”.
I have had somewhat of a hard start to the day but it has improved. A very encouraging message from one of the clergy of the parish has helped. I should not be amazed but I am still struck by how Jesus speaks to me through people at the most appropriate time. And I am always struck by how Jesus moves people and how people who have nothing in common except Jesus gather and support each other. So I am extremely thankful for that today!
I will face tomorrow with Jesus. Every day is a gift, but like Tony Soprano says, “does it have to be a pair of socks?”. I will keep going, I will use my gifts for the “upbuilding of the people of God”, and I will be open to Jesus in whatever way He choses to use me.
I like the version of the Surrender Prayer at the end:
Lord Jesus Christ take all freedom, my memory, my understanding, and my will. All that I have and cherish you have given me. I surrender it all to be guided by your will. Your Grace and your Love are wealth enough for me. Give me this Lord Jesus, and I ask for nothing more.
Just some of the lyrics that really struck me this morning:
In the darkness we were waiting Without hope, without light ‘Til from Heaven You came running There was mercy in Your eyes … In His freedom I am free For the love of Jesus Christ Who has resurrected me.
I have been listening to the previous song. So I thought I would share the lyrics:
You’ve owned your fear and all your self-loathing You’ve owned the voices inside of your head You’ve owned the shame and reproach of your failure It’s time to own your belovedness
You’ve owned your past and how it’s defined you You’ve owned everything everybody else says It’s time to hear what your father has spoken It’s time to own your belovedness
He says, “You’re mine, I smiled when I made you I find you beautiful in every way My love for you is fierce and unending I’ll come to find you, whatever it takes My beloved”
You’ve owned the mess you see in the mirror You’ve owned the lies that you’re just not enough You’ve been so blinded by all you’re comparing It’s time to own your belovedness
He says, “You’re mine, I smiled when I made you I find you…
Belovedness by Sarah Kroger
This song does sum up my life. I like how it goes from past tense (owned) to the present (He says). That is life in Jesus – always now. But leaving the past behind is very hard. I struggle everyday with the guilt and shame of my past – “You’ve been so blinded by all you’re comparing”. And I want to take responsibility for everything even those parts which are not me.
Part of my life is owning the voices in my head – the negative self-talk that is my constant companion. And ignoring the negative voices that have tried to define me for a long time – the voices that are saying that I am simply “not enough”. I want to “own the mess”.
I know that only time will heal and in the right time God will give me some clarity. And I know that I am loved right now in Jesus. But the constant struggle between my head and my heart is the very root of my depression. Owning it and writing about it is part of the healing process for me.
I was thinking this afternoon that I am in the middle of things – between the old which is dead and the new which is not yet fully alive. There is a restlessness about it all: an old I cannot return to but a new which is not yet fully visible. I am settling into this new version and seeing the outline. Yet it all feels a little like a half baked cake!
I go for a walk first thing in the morning. My doctor said I need to exercise every day to help with my depression and anxiety. And I started walking as a way to exercise – I was very unfit and unhealthy which did not help the bad image I have of myself. Yet now I walk not to get somewhere or to do something but simply to walk. The walking is an end in itself – a purpose. The walk is something I do, not to get fit or to get to a destination, but some time alone while my feet are moving. This time has become a place to think and to pray. Our modern world is so concerned about outcomes and value that we can sometimes miss the simple pleasure of just doing something.
Faith is about living with possibility. It is about a choice to abide in Jesus, to stay close to Him, a resolution to keep Him in my heart. It is not about an end – forgiveness or heaven – but about the here and now with Jesus. Sometimes the Christianity I have heard preached is all about the end and how to get there: how often I should read my Bible, go to Communion, or go to Confession. When I do that I forget to smell the flowers along the way – I forget to see Jesus next to me on the path. Eternal life with God is a present reality in Jesus who has won the victory over death. Eternal life is walking in love now with the sure knowledge that with God all things are possible.
I have noticed that I walk faster when I listen to faster music – I walk to the beat. So when I want to walk really fast I listen to Britney Spears. Today I listened to the first album (on cassette) I remember buying – Pink Floyd’s “Wish you were Here”. It really is one of my favourite albums. Not only is it full of memories of growing up but it has some lines that often make me smile: “oh, by the way, which one is Pink”.
The music I listen to makes my walk faster or slower. So also with the voices I listen to in my life. I struggle with a negative internal dialogue that makes me out to be a monster. When I listen to that voice my life goes downhill fast. But when I listen to other affirming voices I am filled with possibility and hope. The more I listen to the affirming voices, the less I listen to the inner negative voice. And the inner negative voice loses its power and strength over me.
My life with Jesus is about walking with Him and listening to Him. Sometimes He speaks in the most unexpected places and people. My job is to be open to Him and to listen for Him. And like Elijah I need to be prepared to hear God in the “gentle quiet whisper”.
Fr Pontifex has been on my playlist for some time. I am a huge hip-hop/rap fan and he is without a doubt my favourite Christian rap artists. And I always love his videos – they are really well made, directed, and scripted. (Yes, the imagery is very Catholic but that is the tradition that formed me and in which I feel most comfortable.) So I thought I would share this song from his 2011 album The Symphony and the Static.
Eloquent words, our King is so quotable We print his verses everywhere it’s just so notable If I remember correctly Jesus said “I am THE way” He is not one among wise men and the words they say And if you put his words on your lips, check the tag for the price You can’t say that you know him unless you live sacrifice
Pontifex, Count the Cost
Jesus asks one thing of me, “Follow Me”. And, as the song says, that means living sacrifice.
I have been listening to the Casting Crowns album Only Jesus. The first three songs are very much about my situation at the moment. So here is one of the songs that I relate to in particular.
I have struggled to write the “About Me?” page. Who I am is a difficult question for me. But trying to write it down has helped. Wanting to be “somebody” seems a very natural thing in our modern world. But when does the “wanting to be” define the “somebody”?
Surrender wanting to be “somebody”. Allow yourself to be a nobody for Jesus – only Jesus. It is so against everything that is happening around me. Live the new life in Jesus with possibility and be a “nobody” for Him.
This is completely for me. Depression and faith often battle within me sending my head into a spin. I really like when they speak of knowing all the lines – my head knows but my hearts doesn’t feel it yet! That is what life, for me, with depression is like. Like two people battling inside of me.