Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Thoughts on beautiful imperfection and realness

I long for more of something. More, and more of intangible things that haven’t yet crystallized in my mind... I know there is more to people than the surface laughter, smiles, or tears. There is more than the scratches on the surface, and more than talk that doesn’t probe very deep.
There are walls we have shielding our hearts from hurt, or awkwardness, or misunderstanding. And we hold back that which is essential to share. We are a race of beings who are surrounded by millions, yet often we are alone. We hold ourselves within ourselves, afraid to smile at strangers, afraid to open our hearts even to those closest to us and probe the depths of each other’s souls. We look into our friends' eyes and see unspoken words there, but we do not speak. We mention the weather, we laugh at jokes, we talk about our pasts, but we carefully guard our words, we do not dare throw wide the doors and talk with sheer, raw, trembling vulnerability.
Why do we tread lightly when we could break down walls? Why do we dip our toes in the shallows when we could swim into the deep, deep,  hearts of each other, incredibly beautiful in imperfection? Why do we fear to present our most hidden selves to another person?
We are afraid, all of us... Whether subconsciously or consciously, it resides in there somewhere, and it closes around us and squeezes just tightly enough that we are afraid to let go. For myself, I fear misunderstandings and saying the wrong words; I fear the moments after a conversation when you regret every word you said and you wish you could take it all back; I fear the vulnerability of presenting my heart completely bare, unshielded and unfeigned. I fear to speak of the things that really matter… but they do. And I think it would be glorious if we all spoke of what scares us. If it scares us, it’s real.
Let’s not talk about fluff, let’s pour out realness and cry and laugh and whisper and let’s misunderstand each other and understand each other and stumble over our words sometimes. Let’s talk about fears, insecurities, anxieties, dreams, hopes, desires, faith, light and dark, and then all over again. Again and again until we’ve wandered through the forests of each other’s hearts so many times that we know each trail like it is our own. Let’s not hide the beautiful sunrises, or the breathtaking wildness in us. And let’s not hide the brambles and thorns and ditches in the pathway from each other, either. Allow me to tell you how selfishly I longed for what was not mine, or how I planned to manipulate, and how afterward, I ached to think of how I acted… let me expose my worst and most frightened side to you, because I am so, so weary of hiding.
But not only the worst side... then after I’ve exposed the mess within, let me tell you what I’ve learned from it, and how God changed my heart and how I know there’s more to me than that. Let me share the peace, as well, in the midst of the storm I feel. How I have these recurring fears that grab hold sometimes and won’t let go, but let me also tell you how I’m being freed from them, even though I don’t quite feel it yet. And let yourself do the same; let us expose the things we’d rather hide, revealing to each other those hard-to-speak of, scary things… but not only the hard things, but the hope that also rests in your heart. And not see each other as any less amazing than before.
Think how encouragement could be passed on, if we spoke of the messy stuff, and then spoke of the faith we have in the midst of our struggles, think how we could uplift and encourage because we all have gone through the same sort of things. And let us mess up and fail sometimes, and apologize and forgive and grow closer because there is something so ineffably, indescribably beautiful in hearts grown close. And not just close when words come easily, and feelings are pleasant, but especially when words must be dragged from trembling throats and maybe I am annoyingly repetitive because we already talked about something but it hasn’t come to rest in my mind yet and I bring it up again. Or maybe you say something that hurts me… but oh how much I would rather know the deepest corners of your mind and heart and soul and for you to know mine, with all the complications and scariness that comes sometimes, than to be safe and surface-level.
Let’s speak without fear of rejection or consequence. Let’s talk about anything and everything; about that thought you woke up with last night at 1 am; about how I told you something I thought you didn’t understand, and how I worried about it for a while, before I turned loose of it--and let me tell you how I discovered more of God in the process--tell me about how you felt that day when your best friend turned their back on you--and how you feel about it now--about dreams that don’t make sense, and pieces of fragmented thoughts with no pressure to finish them or make sense, about memories that don’t make sense to you. Let me tell you about the time I felt helpless and lost and how God picked me up. Tell me your fears and struggles, and then tell me your hopes and trusts.
Let us gently peel back the layers, the dimensions of our hearts; let us gaze upon the perfect imperfect imperfection-perfection that we are, all the way through, the real humanness of us, and love without wavering, without fear. Let us see each other through eyes enchanted by God’s love. There is something wonderful about sharing, with raw honesty, your struggles and fears.
But not only the struggles… also, just think--there is also great encouragement in sharing the hope we have in the midst of our struggle. We can pour out our fears and struggles, and then speak hope and faith as well. I want to spill the raw me, and for you to spill the raw you, but I also know there is more in us than the messy things; there is also hope and faith, and to share the hope with the fear is a wonderful thing, encouraging to us both.
Sometimes we cannot help but fall apart, and we do not see the hope, and in those times one is there for the other; I can speak hope when you have none. But what I mean to say, is, let us share both uncertainty and certainty, both fear and confidence, both despair and hope, because there is more than one side to the struggles. There is always hope. I want to share my fears, but I also want to share the hope I know is true, even when I don’t feel it; because I don’t believe that rawness is made wholly of the darker things, of the painful things, of the messy things, because light lives in us. And it is real.
The sharing of our messiness, our humanness, can be a healing thing, when we do not forget to infuse it with faith, hope, and truth, because then, when we probe deep into each others hearts, we can then rise up empowered; we come out of the conversation with not just a deeper knowing of each other, but also a deeper hope, perhaps. And perhaps, sometimes, not… but let us explore all that we hold inside, the fears as well as the hopes.
And yet, as I write this, I’m still afraid, on one level. But I’m tired of tiny pools and I want oceans, wide, deep, and stormy as well as gorgeous, glittering, and peaceful. I have thought many times about this, and it’s always here, in the back of my mind, marinating. But I’m seeking something great and glorious, and it is to know the God whose love is mindblowing, whose tenderness transcends everything else. I want to know the depths of Him, and there, I feel, is where fear melts away. It is a wonderful journey, a road that I am traveling down, sometimes running, sometimes falling, but always being lifted back up. And it’s love that crushes fear… I believe when we know Love, we can give love, and that is where we find the capacity to be achingly vulnerable, and unfailingly accepting, and unbroken by what might have once hurt us.
We all want to connect, deeply… it is a longing that burns within human souls, and I believe with all my heart that the desire lies within us because we were created for it. We were meant to know each other, but we were, ultimately, meant to know Him who died in order that we could know Him. Therein lies the greatest fulfillment we could ever imagine. And, when we do, then I believe we also learn to know each other more deeply.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

if you asked her

where she would go 
if right now
she could be anywhere in the world
then she would tell you
it wouldn't be to a place
but to a person

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Princess Behind the Mask

You wore an iron mask
You could not see
What lay underneath

It had been so long
Since you had seen your own face
That you did not know
Who you were anymore

You were the woman behind the mask
But you didn't know you were more than that
For the mask told lies

When you looked into the mirror
You saw a stranger's eyes
Staring back at you
Through the holes that allowed you to see

Little did you know, lost one
Not far away rode a warrior king
Whose heart beat for you
You did not yet know he existed

But it's you he wanted
Only you
He always had and always will

He charged for the castle
It didn't matter what it took to free you
And he traded his life for yours
With his dying breath he removed your mask
So you saw the truth

The woman behind the mask 
Was, all along, the princess of the kingdom
And when you realized who you were
You took up your sword

You became a warrior 

Friday, November 4, 2016

Favorite

The stars of the night sky are amazing
Rivers are incredible
And mountains are magnificent

But God did not give it all to draw the stars close
He does not pursue the rivers with furious affection
The mountains are not His fondest delight
But you are

I could hang wishes from every star
But I would rather hang out with you under the stars

I could walk by the river and hear it laughing to itself
But I would rather walk and laugh with you

And I could know the mountains by heart
But I would far, far, rather know you by heart

You are more amazing than the vastest span of night stars
More incredible than the wildest rivers
More magnificent than the highest mountains
You are worth more than all of these things combined

Out of them all
You are His favorite
And you are my favorite, too

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Invisible Box

She was bound up inside
With walls around her heart
And pressures building slowly
Inside the box she was trapped in

She thought it was normal
She thought that was how she would be forever
But that wasn't how she was meant to be

People compared her to many things
To roses, for she was delicate and beautiful
To a wild horse, for her soul strained against the bonds
To a storm, because she was as unpredictable as a hurricane

But no one told her that
Roses aren't meant to be crushed under foot
Delicate petals are meant to bloom, not die

Mustangs aren't supposed to be confined
They were born to run free in the wind

And storms can't be controlled
The rain can't be bottled up
The lightning can't be stopped from flashing
And thunder can't be tamed

But one night she had a dream
And a voice whispered that she was freer than a wild horse
Braver than a wild rose
And stronger than the storm winds

She woke up 
And when she opened her eyes
She found the bonds lying broken around her
She saw the walls shattered and crumbled
The pressure had vanished like a wisp of smoke
And the box she had existed in was invisible

As it had been all along