Wednesday, August 13, 2008

the sand

(the following is a poem i wrote for my best friend when we graduated from high school many years ago - my first and only poem until last year)

you are like the sand
which the restless sea
can rest upon
and leave
and come back to
again and again
and always be greeted
by open arms

the changing sea
rushes to cry
on the sand's broad shoulder
or to dance and ripple
joyously with it
or leaves for a moment alone
always returning to the sand
after every retreat

the sand is unchanging
as the sea tosses aimlessly
or pounds it
in a moment of misunderstanding
after which the sea
creeping slowly and ashamedly
back to the sand
begs the forgiveness
which is given freely

and once again the sea
and the sand
join hands and romp together
the sea noisily whispering
it's secrets to
the staunch and faithful sand
who in turn reveals
it's silent secrets

and so the sea and sand continue
so completely different
yet inseparable ~
and so our friendship continues
given to us by our Father
who made the sea and the sand
and you and i

Friday, August 8, 2008


I've been thinking a lot about fear recently, and how much it can shape the way we live. I've been taking a deliberate look at some of the things I am afraid of in my own life, and seeing how much power they have to influence what I will and will not do. I realize how oblivious we can be to most of our fears - we just think and live a certain way, and that is how life is for us, or what is true about us. I "can't" do something, "that's not me", I "don't want to", etc. But why is that? Are those really true statements? What drives us to believe those statements?

As I'm looking more closely again at some of the things in my life that I've voiced those views about, I'm having to reconsider more honestly the veracity of those statements - especially when others in my life seem to be seeing and saying something different.

Part of what got me thinking about it again was being with different friends recently and talking about some of their fears. I can so easily see some of the lies they are believing and the bondage that fear has put them under, and how it hampers their moving forward in certain areas of their lives. But as I thought about it, I realized that I am no different than them. My fears may be different than theirs in some ways, but they have the same net effect on me. They are keeping me from moving forward in certain areas of my own life. When I think of doing certain things, there is a paralyzing fear that rises up, though it is more cleverly cloaked in "truth" that says, "I can't do that, I don't have the ability." Or even better, it can be spiritualized like, "God's not calling me to do that. I don't have any desire or passion for that." Really? Or are my fears blocking me from hearing and feeling God in those areas?

It's hard and uncomfortable to get really honest before God over some of my fears. Some are obviously not good, and I can identify them and stand against them more easily. But others have been woven into the fabric of who I perceive myself to be, they are part of my identity, they are my "truth" - however warped they are in the light of real reality and truth.

They have become a safe and comfortable place to hide, a safe place to operate from, a safe way of seeing my world. And it's kind of scary when I look at my fears that way. Scary because I don't want to just live a "safe" life and never change. God is calling us all to change and transformation and trust. And trust is what is needed to move forward. I need to distrust my own perceptions and views. And I need to be willing to trust what others, especialy friends and God, see and say about me more than what I've experienced and feel, and therefore believe.

This is the crux of the issue. Who and what am I going to choose to believe? It can feel scary and unsafe to step out believing others more than myself. So often, when I look within for confirmation to take a certain action, i feel like my legs are cut out from under me, I feel totally void of affirmation. It feels impossible, like no way do I have what it takes to proceed. Yet I am slowly finding that if I make myself take even a baby-step, it is not as bad as I feared it would be, and my confidence is growing as I am being inwardly renewed.

The key point is making myself trust and act on someone else's words - and the Word. I have to choose to believe that their words and sight are more accurate than my subjective feelings about myself. And so often when I trace back my objections or unbelief, they are deeply rooted in fear; and fears aren't going to just pack their bags and move out the minute I ask them to. Fears have gotten quite settled in and intertwined with my living, and are very happy to be part of my life.

The enemy's purpose is to use fears to keep us from God's purpose over our lives, and we need to be intentional and persistant in resisting and ousting fears. Some fears can be made to leave fairly quickly, but others are more deeply rooted and require a firm, steady, continual resistance. A daily saying no to them; a daily speaking of the truth in their face, when they feel more true; a daily choosing to not let them be in charge, until the truth - God's truth - really takes root in our hearts and there is no place for the lies to reside anymore.

So this is where I am finding my own self as I see some of my friends realizing and confronting - or sometimes blind to - their own fears, and the profound effects they can have on their daily life. It makes me realize how blind we all can be to areas in our lives where we've assumed a certain reality is truth. I know from my own, and others, experiences that it takes courage and determination, and prayer and the Word to stand against old patterns of thinking and acting. It takes letting others into my life, and learning to trust them more than myself in certain areas.

I am glad for the light, though part of me dreads it too. We tend to be settlers by nature. We get comfortable in ways of thinking and living that feel most safe for ourselves, even if it is limiting. Change requires something from us, and often is uncomfortable. I am trusting the Lord for the grace and courage to take the necessary steps out of my own comfort zone and warped view of myself, into God's view and purpose for my life.

I am so grateful for my friends who are standing with me and patiently speaking truth into my life, encouraging me on with every little step, and loving me when I fall down or slip back. And I am glad for where God can use me in that way in their lives too. Together we can go forward, together we can overcome the lies and fears - with one another's help and the help of the Holy Spirit.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."
(Jeremiah 29:11)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

frenzies of untrust

Sometimes we forget who God is. What he said he'd do and be for us. Sometimes we get blindsided by fears. Fears that drive us to frenzied actions of untrust that seem right and safe to our logic, which is largely informed by our wounded hearts.

We have parts of our heart that need the gospel - the good news - to be believable again, so that the faith of lilies-in-the-field and birds-of-the-air is renewed in us. We need to know and experience God as our healer and restorer of hope.

Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed;
save me and I will be saved,
for You are my praise.
(Jeremiah 17:14)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


draw me to honesty, God
for only in real honesty
am i genuine

only in honesty am i
truly able to receive
the real help that i need
the deep down
transformational help

not merely angry
or reactive honesty
but honesty without defenses
deep and painful honesty
naked honesty
honesty that confesses
i can't but You can

take me to the naked place inside
a letting go place
an acknowledging of God place
a surrendered and bowing place
a trusting place
a place where i am little
and You God are big

a place where You speak
and i listen
a place where deep connection
and deep healing can happen
a place of real freedom
of joy and hope
and change