TRUTH THURSDAYS 3: SONGS THAT MAKE ME BRAVE

Now if you had asked me for “songs that make me depressed” or “songs that will rip your heart out and then crush it” I would have given you my entire blood & guts playlist (which is over 400 songs at last count and is really named “blood & guts” on my iphone). Unfortunately the prompt was for songs that make me brave. BLESS. Here goes:

king&lionheart

Of Monsters & Men’s “King & Lionheart”.
“Howling ghosts they reappear/ In mountains that are stacked with fear/ But you’re a king and I’m a lionheart./ A lionheart.”
I LOVE THIS SONG. So much so I want to get it tattooed on me (if I ever get a 2nd tat, this would be it!). Specifically the line “You’re THE King and I’m a Lionheart”. Notice the slight change in lyrics? I think you know where I’m going with this then :). This song in particular reminds me to be brave. The Lord is my King. I am his Lionheart. God doesn’t see me as weak. I’m his princess, made strong by who my King is. Yes, sometimes I’m the dainty feminine kind of princess…think Sleeping Beauty or Snow White. But more often than not I think He sees me as his warrior princess. (cue Xena yell).

Switchfoot’s “On Fire”.
“I’m standing on the edge of me/ I’m standing on the edge of everything I’ve never been before/ And I’ve been standing on the edge of me/ Standing on the edge/ And I’m on fire When You’re near me/ I’m on fire/ When You speak/ Yeah I’m on fire/ Burning at these mysteries”
My heartsong. I’m feel like I’m forever standing on the edge of who God wants me to be.

Switchfoot’s “You”.
“There’s always something in the way/ There’s always something getting through/ but it’s not me, it’s You, it’s You…I find peace when I’m confused/ I find hope when I’m let down/ not in me … me, in You/ it’s in you…I hope to lose myself for good/ I hope to find it in the end/ not in me … me in You”
I love Jon Foreman. I think you get that by now. Listening to his music is like reading my diary. Or at least, how I wish my diary would sound if it ever was read aloud. This song reminds me I’m not alone, it’s not me who’s the captain of my ship. It’s God. He’s got me. Hemmed me in, directing the way I should go. Psalm 139 – “You hem me in behind and before, and You lay your hand upon me…where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence?” I can’t run. I can’t hide. I need to just surrender and LOSE MYSELF IN GOD.

Craig Cardiff’s “Dirty Old Town”. Relatively unknown Canadian singer writes the story of my life.
“dirty old town, dirty old town,/ they’ve got all your little problems clearly written down./ you don’t even know, don’t even see/ oh the butterfly that you’re going to be,/ the butterfly that you are becoming./ … you’re the one, you’re the one, you’re the one./ hearts grow into hearts until hearts become one./ you’re the one, you’re the one./ i carry you heart in my heart sung with every song.”
For the longest time, I never saw myself as anything other than a dirty person inside and out. I was so full of self loathing just looking in the mirror would reduce me to tears. Who knew there was someone precious under all that self-hate? He saw it. And then He saved me. And that is the best, brightest, biggest love story in my life. Nothing will ever compare.

Lifehouse’s “Breathing”.
“Cause I am hanging/ on every word you say/ and even if you don’t want to speak tonight/ that’s alright, alright with me/ Cause I want nothing more than/ to sit outside your door and/ listen to you breathing/ that’s where I want to be”
If that’s all I get out of life-just the opportunity to hear Him breathing. To know He’s there. I’ll be okay.
Psalm 84:10 – “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere”.

Wicked’s “Defying Gravity”. Of course, we had to have some Broadway here yes? I mean really.
“Something has changed within me/ Something is not the same/ I’m through with playing by the rules of someone else’s game/ Too late for second-guessing/ Too late to go back to sleep/ It’s time to trust my instincts/ Close my eyes and leap!/ It’s time to try/ Defying gravity/ I think I’ll try/ Defying gravity/ And you can’t pull me down!”

Kanye West & Daft Punk’s “Stronger”. HEY. I like R&B/Hip Hop/Rap. DON’T HATE.
“Work it harder, make it better,/ do it faster, makes us stronger,/ more than ever, never over,/ Our work is never over.”

Enjoy the playlist 🙂

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TRUTH THURSDAYS 2: TODAY I LEAVE BEHIND

roadahead

“Why are you so down on yourself?” It just burst out of him. He hesitated then apologized for his tone. But he didn’t let it go – “you talk like…you think you’re not beautiful” he said, not knowing he was breaking my heart. Today I leave behind…every demeaning thought I have of myself.

I am too much. Too strong. Too opinionated. No man would ever want a girl that will occasionally cuss like a sailor and tell him when he’s being a dick. (That was mild. Come on now.)

I have riotous curly hair. The kind that looks like it has been electrocuted. A bird’s nest. Hair that looks like a weasel died on top of my head.

I have flab. Stretchmarks, dimples and cellulite and my ass sags more on one side than the other. Yes, I went there.

I dress indecently, especially for God-fearing, church loving men. I am a woman they do not respect.

I am an insecure bundle of nerves and again who would want to be friends with (or more than friends with) someone who is constantly belittling herself or putting herself down?

There. I’ve laid it bare – all this ugliness. Now to “bestow a crown of beauty instead of ashes”. 

I am wonderfully opinionated. I speak my mind and am forthright and honest. One day some sexy man of God (what?!) will see that and will adore that about me. He will thank his lucky stars for having found someone who will not resort to the silent treatment to punish him, for someone who will rationally confront him over any concerns and issues. This does not make me less of a woman.

I have beautifully messy hair. It is sexy and uninhibited (really uninhibited). One day it will be longer and will be even more beautiful than it is now.

My body is soft and inviting (not that kind of inviting. Jeez.). I am a woman. I have dangerous curves and yes a little bit extra here and there but that only makes me more womanly. This body functions. It does wonderful things (walking, running, dancing). I am grateful for it.

I love being a woman. I dress like one. I have been told I have “legs that stop traffic”. Occasionally they make an appearance. That does not make me a whore. That does not make me cheap or easy. I like to showcase my assets but never in a cheap or tawdry way. Only in a way that celebrates my femininity. Most of the time I dress for myself. On rare occasion, I dress for a guy. Hey, it happens and it’s completely normal. I will be sensitive to my brothers’ eyes. I will do my best not to make them stumble. But I cannot please everyone and there will be men that think wearing a miniskirt means you cannot possibly be wife material. I will pray for them. They need it.

I am a normal woman with normal insecurities. But I am an amazing creation of God, fearfully and wonderfully made. I love much and am loved much. Who wouldn’t want to be friends with someone like me?

Today I leave behind what people have said about me. What I have said about myself. Today I will carry who God tells me I am. A work in progress. Imperfect. But beautifully so.

TRUTH THURSDAYS 1: I AM HERE

starscliff

“I’m standing on the edge of me
I’m standing on the edge of everything I’ve never been before.
And I’ve been standing on the edge of me
Standing on the edge

And I’m on fire
When You’re near me
I’m on fire
When You speak
Yeah I’m on fire
Burning at these mysteries”
-On Fire, Switchfoot

This is my heartsong. It seems I’m always trying to race after who I could be. Who God wants me to be. And it seems I’m always tiptoeing the line, dipping my toe in the water, suspended in time. I want to cross over, to jump/run/dive in. Except I don’t know what it is I’m supposed to dive in to. And then when I ask for direction, I don’t hear what I want to hear. I hear things like “You are in a fog but God will give you just enough light for the next step” and “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.” (that’s Romans 12:1, MSG). You mean to tell me I’m supposed to keep circling this issue? I pray about it till I’m blue in the face and all I get is “wait”? Doesn’t God want me to be living up to my full potential – in the job he has planned for me, one that will utilize my passions for his glory? With the right man, with whom I can serve him better that I could as a single? All these questions. They’re exhausting.

 
Maybe that’s where God wants me to be. A place of exhaustion. Where I’m so bone-weary-tired that I stop fighting for control (because let’s face it, I am a control freak) and surrender. Finally embrace the lessons of patience and trust He’s been trying to teach me. One thing I can say with absolute certainty – God is a master strategist. He knows exactly how long and how slow He has to go to get you where you need to be. I look back over the last 4 years and I see how he has been so patiently bringing the same issue to light over and over again. I’m amazed at my stubbornness. 4 years to learn ONE lesson. I want to smack myself upside the head. Lesson’s not over though, and maybe this time, I’ll finally get it. At least I hope so, because as I said before – I’m exhausted.

 
This is what I’m learning now. Paraphrasing my pastor – Be content. Contentment doesn’t mean settling. It’s still moving forward. Contentment is FOR THIS MOMENT – being FULL, but moving forward. The secret to contentment is CHRIST. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. When I am weak, I can still DO (through Christ). Whether I am rich or poor I can still DO (through Christ). Whether I am married or single I can still DO (through Christ).

 
I’m still asking my questions. But I’m trusting in the answer-giver. Not in the answer. Maybe I can learn to finally just BE HERE. On the edge of me or otherwise.

Cloudy with a chance of meatballs.

Recently someone came back into my life after a year of radio silence. (yes, this person is a he and yes, we did have some romantic history). Cautiously, or maybe not so cautiously, we started talking again. 3 weeks later we admitted we still liked each other but the distance remained an issue. A year ago, this is what kept us from progressing – the distance problem. We both had taken time to pray about our situation and we both found different answers. He felt like God was telling him to let me go as we would not be able to “walk together”. I felt like God was telling me that He could make the relationship work, and that nothing was too difficult for him. I have to ask myself if I projected my own desires into my prayers or if I really heard from God.

Fast forward a year later and we’re almost back where we started. I can feel myself remembering all the reasons why I liked him. I can feel him doing the same. Then suddenly…the slow fade. I can feel him distancing himself. The IMs begin to lessen. The messages become more cryptic, more general, more “friendly” and less “flirty”. I get an IM saying he will continue to pray for clarity about the situation. I never asked him to define the situation. I told him I didn’t want him to feel pressured, that if we just remained friends it would be fine with me. But all this talk about possible relationships has left my emotions unguarded yet again. I feel this anxiety, this tension…I want things to be different this time around. My conversations with God are all over the place. From “it’s been a year Lord! surely this means something? maybe this means that he’s changed and has realized I’m not someone he should let go” to “we already can see where this is heading. If he really wanted to be with you, he would be IMing you more often and booking plane tickets to see you”.

fog

I haven’t been handling the anxiety very well. I’ve been depressed/angry/sad about the situation and just haven’t been trusting God in general. If I’m honest with myself, I’ll admit that I don’t trust God to change him or to speak to him. I don’t trust that God has been working in his heart the past year. Why is that?? Certainly God has been working in my heart. Maybe it’s because I’ve been so hurt by men recently that I find it hard to believe that they can change. God, where did this bitter person come from? The sadder thing is that I don’t trust God to provide a husband for me. My love life has been in a perpetually cloudy season and I can’t see past the fog. But shouldn’t I be trusting that despite the fog/clouds/impaired vision (in the physical), the Lord is near? My prayer is that I would not cling to anything. But instead continue to offer everything to God. Whether he gives or takes away (or continues to take away). Whether he is pruning me and I don’t see the blessings that are just around the riverbend. (Pocahontas fans, I’m sorry, I had to, the analogy was just there!) I want to learn the lesson this time. I want to walk into (or away from) this with the right attitude. An attitude of trust. And faith. And joy in the Lord. Not joy in this man. It will be hard to do. DAILY, I wrestle with the tension and fear of losing something I want. It’s difficult and painful, but surely I can still honor God despite these pesky emotions.

 

What do you do when you can’t see past your nose?

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” – Phil 4: 4-5

That I would be that woman of God that rejoices in the midst of trial and change. That I would be that woman whose soul is overwhelmed and satisfied by Christ and Christ alone.