I was looking at my husband while he was on stage the other day, and so many thoughts occurred to me. While he is not perfect, he is perfect for me. While he is not perfect, he is in process. He's not the man he was 9+ years ago when we started dating. He is better. He's a better man now than he was then. And he was pretty great. Just saying.
But I couldn't help but ponder about perfection. About process.
Sometimes we get caught up in looking for the "perfect" person. And while yes, we do want the right person- right doesn't equal perfect. Here's the truth: I know my husband isn't perfect. And neither am I.
But it's not about perfection. It's about process.
I don't like big qualifying statements like "don't look for the perfect person." Because I think that's fine. But rather, as you look for the perfect person, look for one that's perfectly in process.
I imagine we all like to skip ahead to the end, when we're all perfectly mature. When we always say the right thing. When we always do the right thing. When we're always calm. When we always communicate exactly what we should. When we never lose our temper. Where the relationship is always good, and there are never any misunderstandings or miscommunications. When we are that fantastical, storybook version of ourselves that we've imagined.
But here's the truth about skipping ahead to the end.
You miss everything that got you to that place.
And when you really break down what that means, it means you'll miss all the little moments. All the sweetness. The day after day, night after night of just being together. The laughter. The little glances across the room. All the little secrets you share. All the blow-out arguments that made you want to scream, but when you finally persevered all the way through changed everything. All the moments you have to ask for forgiveness because you were the one who was wrong. All the hard work that made you who you are.
And that’s just it.
But for the PROCESS, we would never be who we're meant to be.
It's slow, because refinement isn't instantaneous.
It's painful sometimes because refinement sharpens the best parts of you, while destroying the ugly ones.
It’s scary, because it means letting go of what is comfortable, and convenient.
It’s faith, because sometimes it doesn’t look like what you thought it would.
We underestimate the importance of process. The beauty of process.
Process is building something of substance.
Process is building something that will last.
Process is building something that will endure the end of time.
Process is refining us, slowly, one day at a time to reflect Jesus.
So the truth is, perfect is great. But it is impossible without process.
So as you're out there, fighting the good fight, looking for that soul mate, just remember: Perfect is good. Find that person who is perfect for you. But find the one that is perfectly in process. Then be ok with mess that comes with it. Commit to the person, and to the process.
We have a Father who is on our side. A Father who is an EXPERT at building a city out of ruins. A Father who can take ashes and turn them to beauty. A Father who takes process and makes it perfect.
Friday, June 23, 2017
Say it once so I know I've tried
Say it once so I haven't lied
Say it once though we disagree
Say it once and let it be
Say it once cause I know I should
Say it once for my own good
Say it once and drive the knife
Say it once to save my life
Say it once for us both to hear
Say it once loud and clear
Say it once even though it hurts
Say it once for all it's worth
Say it once and crush my heart
Say it once or we'll never start
Say it once and break the ice
Say it once and roll the dice
Say it once and say it loud
Say it once even if I doubt
Say it once and watch me cry
Say it once or I might die
Say it once with all you've got
Say it once in every thought
Say it once into the wind
Say it once before the end
Say it once and say it for all
Say it once even if we fall
Say it once so I'll know its true
Say it once, I love you.
Tuesday, June 13, 2017
I was looking at a voice memo in my phone, one of dozens, to be sure. But I was stunned by the date. 10.22.15. It shocked me because I can’t believe it’s been nearly two years since I wrote that song. How is that possible? It seems like it was yesterday.
I could be discouraged, I suppose. Notebooks full of songs. Voice memos piled up with melodies. All these songs and stories that no one has ever heard. Why is it taking so long? Will the time ever come for these songs to be heard?
I just don’t understand the timing of God. I’ll never understand how destinies and timing work together to create the best possible outcome we could ever hope or dream for. I’ll never understand how some people seem to walk in their destinies with ease, and how some of us desperately struggle and fight to get to ours. It’s not a jealous thing, because I refuse to compare my life to the life of another. I’m just deep in the fight.
And maybe the truth is, I can’t understand. Maybe it’s out of the realm of my understanding. It’s an insight too great for me to behold. All I can do is marvel at the mystery.
I suppose you could think it’s foolish, or that I’m overcomplicating things. And maybe I am. But I can’t shake the feeling, the deep sense, that I have to wait. That the timing isn’t right. Sure, I could rush out and go make an album, or pursue any number of things on the list of dreams in my heart. And there probably wouldn’t be anything “wrong” with it. The truth is, I honestly believe I would be doing it in my own strength. And it’s taken me a long time to see what that really means, and I don’t want to do it that way.
I feel like there’s a timing to this, and it’s significant. Because there is something about the right thing, at the right time, with the right people. It’s the trifecta. And honestly, I believe it’s unstoppable.
The truth is, I don’t know what I’m waiting for. But I’ll know when I see it.
I believe with everything in me that I’m gonna cross a threshold, and everything will change. You don’t have to believe it, that’s ok. I believe it. And, I’ll wait. Sometimes patiently, sometimes screaming in my heart over the ‘why’ of it all.
There’s a lot of pressure out there in the world to be “successful.” It’s got a million different definitions, but you’ve gotta have it. And if people approve, it must be right. But as always, I look at everything with a Kingdom lens (sorry, I know no other way). And success in the Kingdom is really measured in obedience, in faithfulness. The questions I believe we’ll be facing in eternity will sound like “were you faithful?” and “were you obedient?” “Were you successful?” will probably never be in the equation. Just saying.
I’d love to be successful. Shoot, who wouldn’t? But I’d rather be faithful. I’d rather be obedient. And often, those things are quiet, and go unnoticed. They don’t get a lot of fame or recognition. They don’t get applause, or accolades. But they get the attention of the Father.
Genesis 15:6 says Abraham BELIEVED God, and it was credited to him as righteousness. That’s a far cry from what gets noticed in today’s society.
But it is that simple. Abraham believed. That’s it. There was no real evidence, other than the stars* in the sky. No reason for Abraham to believe based on what he could see with his eyes. He took the promise of God and believed.
And so in turn, I believe. I take the promises of God, both in His word and the ones He’s whispered, and I BELIEVE. And when the battle is long and I can’t remember because nothing I see matches what I believe, I’ll look to the stars.
There will always be reasons to give up. To stop believing. To walk away.
If ever you find yourself in that place, look up and remember the stars.
After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” 2 But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue[a] childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.” 4 And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son[b] shall be your heir.” 5 And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 6 And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.
Sunday, June 4, 2017
I've been thinking a lot about faithfulness.
I'm realizing that all of life is an exercise in faithfulness.
Especially when we're young. I sometimes think that all we are called to when we're young is faithfulness.
Because God is shaping us for something. He is refining us for the purpose for which he made us.
And if we can't be faithful, we probably won't ever get where we're meant to go.
Some of us have longer roads in faithfulness. And that can be wearying, because we worry and wonder if we're ever going to get where we're meant to go. We feel like we're never gonna be released to walk in our calling, our purpose. We feel like we're in the same circle forever. And, for me, it seems like all God ever speaks to me about is faithfulness. And all he asks me for is more faithfulness.
And we feel like it will never change. Or maybe we have to go do something else because we don't think God is speaking to us, so we must have "missed" it. So we run to do something else because maybe that will be the open door. Maybe then God will speak to us. Maybe then it will be clear. Maybe then we'll be able to walk in our calling.
But I think the truth is, all God is looking for is faithfulness. And when we have a long road of faithfulness, it's because God is tempering us to last.
When we are released to our destiny, we'll be able to hold onto it. We'll be able to last. We won't question it. We won't give up. We won't let discouragement kill us. We'll be able to weather the storms that will beat against us, because we lasted the road of faithfulness.
We stayed when no one else did. We sacrificed what no one else would. We gave what no one else would. We waited when everyone else gave up. We pressed forward when everyone else walked away. We hoped against all hope. We believed against all evidence.
All because we lasted the road of faithfulness.
Truth is, I've spent 15 years actively walking the road of faithfulness. And for the vast majority of it, I had no idea that's what I was doing.
Most of the time it looked like me doing the same boring things. It looked like me laying awake at night worrying that I've "missed it." It looked like me furiously scribbling in a journal all my thoughts and questions and feeling like I never had any answers. It looked like being overlooked while other people got recognized and promoted. It looked like discouragement, because I thought maybe I was never going to step into my destiny.
It looked like YEARS of waiting. It was a lot of unexciting, uninteresting years of doing the small task in front of me. That's it. That's the road of faithfulness. It's not pretty. It's not poetic.
It's difficult. And uncertain. And quite frankly, it's lonely. Because a lot of people won't walk the road of faithfulness.
And truthfully, I'm still there. I'm still walking the road of faithfulness. I'm still not sure I've stepped into my destiny. And that's ok. Because I see the big picture now. The Lord has been so kind to me. He let me see the road I'm walking on. I can't see the destination. But he showed me the road I'm on. So even when I have no answers it's ok, because I know the road.
So I won't give up. I refuse to walk away. I refuse to be beaten by length of this road. I refuse to be intimidated by the all the things I can't see and can't understand.
If NOTHING ELSE, I will be FAITHFUL.
Right here, right now, with what has been entrusted to me. That's it.
If two roads diverge in the woods, the one less traveled is called faithfulness.
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
I was looking at my wedding ring. Considering all that it means, all the implications. Wondering why people bother putting it on, if not to take it serious.To be fair, it’s mostly my own generation, us millennials, I’m referring to. We tend to struggle with those pesky things like realistic world views and entitlement mentalities. It’s a terrible pattern we’ve gotten into.
We fall in love with fairytales because they teach us that anything is possible. They teach us to find the magic in the every day, the ‘extra’ in the ordinary.
We fall in love with fairytales because they teach us that life is bigger than we think. They teach us to imagine. To believe. And those are great things.
Personally, I’m not much for fairytales. I like the implication of a fairytale but often find the stories vapid and shallow.
We grow up with fairytales, but sadly, never seem to outgrow the foolishness of them.
We want the success without the work.
We want the boyfriend without the commitment.
We want the wedding ring without the marriage.
The easy without the hard.
The happy ending without the painful journey.
The dream come true without the broken ones.
The choices without the consequences.
We fixate so much on the magic of it all that we forget everything else. We hang all our hopes and all our happiness on that one magical thing. Which often, is elusive, at best. But we think to ourselves, “if I can just get “that”, it'll fix all the rest.”
If we hit overnight success, it’ll fix our laziness and non-existent work ethics.
If we pull the right hustle, it’ll fix our lack of integrity, our dishonesty, and severely broken morals.
If we get that new marriage, or new relationship, it’ll fix all the problems with the old one. Somehow we magically won’t be selfish, rude, dismissive, manipulative, unfaithful, etc.
Anybody’s bell ringin’ yet?
Let me side step for a brief moment and say, this is in NO WAY a judgement about divorce, or broken marriages. I certainly don’t judge you if that’s your story. I want to address the mentality that is permeating my generation that if you don’t like it, quit. Too hard? Give up. These are not acceptable qualities. Marriage is awesome when you do it right, with the right person. So let’s learn to do it right, and not give up when the going gets tough, if I may borrow the colloquialism. And to be blunt, there will always be reasons to quit. But the reasons to keep going are so much greater!
We can move on, or move away, and act like that is somehow the answer to all our problems. But we’ve neglected to realize that at the center of all of these problems most often is no one other than OURSELVES.
We think our problems just circle mysteriously around us and we are utterly powerless to them. Instead of waking up and understanding that we ourselves are the most common denominator.
Fairytales don’t showcase hard work. And honestly, everything worth having will always demand hard work. Hard work isn’t magic. It’s what happens when you jump in with both feet, knee-deep, and get your hands dirty. Success doesn’t happen on someone else’s coattails. Well, it does. But it’s their success- not yours.
Truth time: you get out what you put in. Don’t believe me? Ok. Let’s put it this way: you reap what you sow.*
It’s a principle that applies to every facet of life. Good, bad, or ugly, if you sowed it, you’ll reap it.
Fairytales rob us of the real victory. The real victory isn't locking down Prince Charming with a diamond ring and a castle. The real victory is yanking yourself up by the bootstraps, marching out of the castle (or dungeon, depending on which part of the story you’re in) and vanquishing evil- in whatever form in comes. Prince Charming is a bonus.
Don’t miss out on the real story- fighting for your life, ups and downs, joys and sorrows, refusing to give up and kicking your enemy straight in the teeth. That’s where the gold is. Hidden in the midst of the heartache, the brokenness, every bit of ugliness. There’s diamonds in the rough, waiting for their moment to shine. But it’s up to us to roll up our sleeves and dig them out.
And on a side note: refusing to give up is a beautiful thing. It’s one of the best things about us humans. Tenacity was a heavenly gift, of that I am sure.
Bottom line: Fairytales are great. Reality is better.
*Galatians 6:7 Don't be mislead- you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant.
Monday, January 23, 2017
I keep seeing sentiments like this expressed everywhere I look. Twitter, Facebook, every social media platform I use. It’s important to mention that because the people expressing agreement with these sentiments are not nameless, faceless strangers or journalists. They’re people we know. Friends, family, people we went to school with, people we work with maybe. And to be clear: I'm not sharing the above picture to make anybody feel bad, it's just an example of things that are currently flooding my timeline.
Aside from sentiments like the above, I can't believe the amount of articles I've seen with deliberately misleading headlines, filled with speculation and opinions and people believe them like it's absolute fact. It's truly astonishing.
All these view points and beliefs. Emotions stated as absolute truths, feelings over facts. I understand, it’s the world we live in now.
Oxford Dictionaries 2016 word of the year was “post-truth.”
Relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.
Horrifying, in my opinion. I am a person that deeply values facts and absolute truths, far above feelings. It is, at times I’m sure, my greatest fault. It has been jokingly said about me that “my only loyalty is to the truth.” We probably shouldn’t examine too closely the accuracy of that “joke.” However, I hold steady to the belief that a person who values the absolute (not subjective, but objective) truth above all else is of tremendous value. I certainly value the people in my life who tell me the truth, and don’t spare my feelings. Unpleasant, certainly. But necessary? Absolutely.
But I digress.
Something that has been paraded around recently is this “lovetrumpshate” idea. It’s hashtags, it’s on signs held at protests, it comes out of our friend’s mouths. We’ve all heard it. We hear the word “love” constantly. All we need is “love.” To be clear: I’m all for love. Yes, please, LET’S. Let’s LOVE each other. I’m in.
But I’m realizing something. In today’s society the word “love” is nothing more than a cheap platitude, used for moral superiority and to manipulate people into agreement.
They say “Love” while they’re violent and destructive. They say “Love” while they abort babies. They say “Love” while they scream obscenities. They say “Love” until you have a different view point, then there is, nor will the ever be, any “Love.”
We have a profound misunderstanding of the word “Love.”
Let me say this: any time manipulation is in play under the disguise of love- it’s not love. LOVE does not manipulate to get it’s way, or to mislead people into agreement. Love doesn’t have ulterior motives. Especially not ones aimed for personal gain at your expense.
Let’s talk about what LOVE is.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
The scripture goes on to say in verse 8 (paraphrasing) that while everything else fades away, love does not. Love never fails.
Interesting, isn’t it? Doesn’t leave a lot of room for excuses.
Or let’s look at this (and this is Jesus talking):
A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so also you must love one another.
Or one of my personal favorites (again, Jesus talking):
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
As if those scriptures weren’t enough to illuminate our eyes to the truth of LOVE, let’s remember in 1 John 4 it says that one who says “I love God” but hates his brother is a liar. So we understand that if we say we love God, but hate each other, we don’t love God either.
And let’s not forget the most (and often, in-correctly) quoted scripture:
For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him would not perish but have eternal life.
You’ll have to forgive me, if you don’t believe the Bible. I do. And as far as absolute truths go, it’s unmatched.
So yes. Love trumps hate. All we need is love. Let’s love each other. But for LOVE to be effective, it must be real LOVE, based in real truth.
I’ll leave you with these final thoughts:
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
And in the words of the late, great MJ
“I’m starting with the man in the mirror. I’m asking him to change his ways.”
Sunday, January 22, 2017
It’s been an interesting week.
We watched the inauguration for our new president. He has taken office. There have been protests. Celebrations. Marches. And the wheel of the world continually turns over.
At this moment, I’m not going to dive into the politics of it all. Which is a choice, because believe me- I want to.
As I have been observing the events of the past week, I have noticed something.
We all have people in our circle of friends, our family, acquaintances, or Facebook friends that believe differently from us. Some are hurting. Some are celebrating. Some are ecstatic. Some are devastated.
We’ve become accustomed to saying whatever we want. Whenever we want. Without accountability or consequences. Social media has created a monster far beyond the foolishness or immaturity of children. We adults have become just as careless. I won’t dwell on the terrible example we’re setting for the next generation, but I’ll let you think on that for a minute.
But here’s what I keep thinking: We’re in challenging times. And it’s likely, challenging times are still in front of us.
Foolishness would be for us to continue on this reckless path, saying (or posting) whatever pops into our heads without any thought for our fellow man. Or let's be real, any thought for the family and friends we leave to drown in the wake of our careless words.
Wisdom would consider deeply, and discern carefully before we speak.
Not everything needs to be said.
We had better learn to elevate our sense of kindness. Because without, the divide between us only becomes greater.
And I don't think we can afford that, do you?