faded reflection: last week, from now.

I spent last week at the cabin.

I spent some time on the water in the kayak, some time reading [new books: Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature, On My Own (Diary of a Teenage Girl), The First Part Last (Heaven #2) (unsure of what Heaven #1 is); reread Falling Up (Diary of a Teenage Girl) although i remembered none of it), and continued on Islands and Insulin.

Something also sparked in me to pick up the Bible again. What a concept for me. Picking up the Bible, in this case, was putting the Bible Gateway app back on my phone. And here’s the thing, I was actually excited about it.

I journaled. Not a ridiculous amount, but I got my head back out of me or back in check in the way that only writing seems to do for me—really, the best therapy. I considered stuff I need to work on, and “iterations of myself I need to get back to”. Like the whole exercising/nutrition/journaling/mediating/praying thing.

I saw a sunrise—it moved me to stumble back to my bed on the way back from the bathroom at 5 AM for my phone to take a picture—to not miss the moment and not think it was just a dream in the morning.

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I created. This was, actually, before the sunrise sighting.

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I played mindless games (actually, Cooking Fever is kind of stressful, my goodness), and looked for Pokemon.

I tried to be present, mindful, as much as my lack of routine and ADHD allows.

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I did some work when I felt like it. It’s part of my life, no matter how much on “holidays” people kept saying we were on. I chose to not be on vacation for the times I spent working. It’s easy when you like what you do for work and can work anywhere.

It was really, though, about coming back to where I need to be; about reflecting on self-care and seeing what I want more of in my life. And, I found a lot of good stuff in the process—stuff I need to work on. Like talking to God and seeing Him in my world—opening my eyes and allowing Him to open my eyes.

Edit: After I published this, I found this live set from Lacey Sturm on YouTube, at one point she says, “God is always pursuing you, but do we always pursue Him?” 
I think my answer is obvious; but that the question is perfect.

i feel Your eyes crawling over me
as though i am something more than me
but i don’t have anything good enough to say
i did not make myself this way

i’ll show you what He did
but i won’t take the credit
it’s not mine anyway
i just held the pen that day

and i don’t deserve this
this time right now
it’s not something for which
i can take the bow
and i don’t deserve this
it wasn’t me
i can’t take glory
for something that i can’t be
i don’t deserve this

i know what perfection is like
and i cannot stand before its might
and i’m so far from what You think that i must be
i just drown myself in mercy 

and all the art that i supposedly create
is simply a faded reflection of something He’s already made. 

penholder, flyleaf

But the further I go, the further I wander, the more I realize I need God. My friend Jessica posted a picture on Instagram last week that I needed—it said “Prayer is not a ‘spare wheel’ that you pull out when you’re in trouble, but it is a ‘steering wheel’ that directs the right path throughout life.” This is something I know, but I fall off track, and a reminder I need. I want to be well.

my scars are Yours today, this story ends so good
i love You and i understand that You stood where i stand
[thank You.] […] no matter what You’re going to break my shell.
i’m done healing—i’m done healing
i’m sorry, flyleaf 

Oh and totally out of the vibe of this post, but this makes me laugh so much:

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Such doge.

light my candles in a daze*: dissonance

*lithium, nirvana

did you give it up, did you give it up, did you give it up?

heard a lot of talk about the ocean / heard a lot of talk about the sea, now / heard a lot of talk about a lot of things /  never meant that much to me. / heard a lot of talk about my spirit. / heard a lot of talk about my soul. / but i decided that anxiety and pain were better friends / so i let it go . . .

did you let it go, love? / did you let it go, lover? / did you let it go, my friend? / let’s get it back, let’s get it back together, yeah.

heard a lot of talk about this Jesus. / a man of love, and a man of strength / but what He meant was two thousand years ago / means nothing at all to me today. / He could have been telling me about my higher self / but He only lives inside my prayer / so what He was may have been beautiful / but the pain is right now and right here.

operation spirit (the tyranny of tradition), live

 

 

yeah i found God and He was absolutely nothing like me […] i couldn’t take it anymore so i went back to the sea. cause that’s where fishes go when fishes get the sense to flee. / where you going now? what’s your plan?

yeah i found God, and He was absolutely just like me […] He opened my mouth, looked down my throat, told me i was thirsty / He said “i been, i been, i been, been in this water all my life, never took the time to breathe. breathe. breathe.

what you doing in this darkness, baby? when you know that Love will set you free? would you stay in this sea forever / try a little on eternity? / what ya doing in this darkness baby? looking down where the sun don’t shine. […] come on out into the light of love, child, don’t spend another day living in the sea.

where fishes go, live

 

a light to free me from my burden, and grant me life eternally / should have been dead on a sunday morning, banging my head. / no time for mourning, ain’t got no time.

my own prison, creed

 

its funny how silence speaks sometimes when you’re alone / and remember that you feel. / again i stand. Lord I stand, against the faceless man.

cause if the face inside can’t see the light i know, i have to walk alone. and if I walk alone to the other side i know, i might not make it home. / again i stand, Lord God i stand, against the faceless man.

the faceless man, creed

I want more of You, and less of the religion shit.

I’ve been to church once in the last six months, and to be totally honest, it didn’t do all that much for me. i’ve been stuck in this place for almost a year. And the reality is, I don’t know when that’s going to change. I used to become frustrated about spiritual passivity, spiritual apathy, in myself and other followers of Christ.

And now, I have been in that rut so long myself.

Thinking. Contemplating. Trying to act.

Refusing to move.

Refusing to listen.

my ears were clogged and it was so quiet.

are you alone?, fireflight

 

I realize this. And I do not know how to move.

I question so much, every day. I question why people act the way they do; why I act the way I do. I question what lead a person to be where they are at. I question why people who believe that Jesus changed everything; why people who say they fully believe in love waste so much time in hate.

quit playing religion games: there’s blood on your hands.

instead of a show, jon foreman

Why we judge each other: we all do; why we just shake our heads and walk away; why we do not even think about what is going on in our worlds anymore. Why we let life slip through our hands like sand and do not take a moment to realize what the potential holds for each moment as it sifts through our fingers.

I question my own choices. I question my thought process. I question in retrospect why I just walk away from a situation that I am not okay with instead of contemplating what I could do to change that situation or change my thoughts on that situation. That thought. That belief.

That dissonance.

Dissonance.

Why I do not care to change myself, yet crave this change. Why I do not know how to change myself. Why I drift further into this cyclic pattern. Why I have these thoughts day after day — why they have reached the point of no longer being questions, just passivities.  Why I cannot just grab on to You. Why I cannot own my desires to become intentional in every aspect of my being.

Why.

I succumb further to apathy.

Yet I feel apathetic towards even this.

a tough topic take on God and transformation

About six weeks ago I went to church with my friend and coworker, Jess. We decided that we would do a church-swap of sorts, in which one Sunday I went to church with her and her family, and another she and her family will come to church with me.

When I first started seeking out a church community to be a part of, I tried multiple churches and eventually settled at one that was much like the church I attend now in the way it functions. However, my friend and I, both in our teens, were never reached out to except for by one member of the Welcome Team who sat in front of us each week. Six or so months later, I encountered a subject, on Easter morning, within the sermon that I did not feel fit my beliefs, and I never went back. Since then I have regularly attended two churches: the first, a United church, which remains supportive of rights of people who are part of the LGBTQ[addadditionallettersasyouseefit] community, and loving them for who God created them to be [yes, I am of the thought that a person’s sexual orientation is as inborn as their hair colour, and that it is not a choice],  which I left because at the time I did not feel like there was a place for myself as a young person in the community. The second is my current church, who present such touchy issues of homosexuality and abortion in a facts-based setting, but leave the table open for exploring your own beliefs, and I really respect this approach.

These subjects are difficult for people, especially, it seems, in a faith-based situation, to talk about. Additionally, these discussion can get very emotionally heated, especially when intermingled with the topic of God, which people typically have a very strong position regarding . . . regardless of it is a belief in God or not. Stories, personal accounts, interactions . . . it is obvious that we all have a very vested interest in our own stories and relationships. Thus, relationship with another human, whether intimate or friendship, can often be a touchy subject when those we also care about are concerned about certain aspects of that person’s life–faith, religion, sexual orientation, past choices . . . the list goes on.

If we are, for example, believers in God, I’ve found this is often a very touchy subject.  As a Christian who was not raised a Christian, I think I see this a bit more than the average person. I do not think there is anything wrong with not believing in God, but at the same time, I still hope for everybody to experience the love that is Jesus. it is a tough line, and I choose to simply follow Jesus in my approach . . . love.  Additionally, with many of the above splaying out from what Christian society has told us is good or bad, right or wrong, and how it tries to paint the picture in black and white in a world of colour.  Often, though, this colour comes out in our stories–our teachings, our stories, our tears.

During the church-swap, Jess had warned me that a guest pastor was speaking for the past several weeks, and that he was pretty infused with passion for Jesus. So much so, that whenever he talked about how much Jesus loves us, he cried. Every single time. And while I at the same moments can recollect and often feel the same passion rising within me towards my God, it is of my belief that if you are in the position to be teaching others about the love of Jesus, especially potential new believers OR people who are simply exploring who Jesus is, you need to be able to communicate your passion in a way that educates with a limited emotional attachment. YES, passion and excitement is good, but for instance, if you are counselling an individual and simply reminding them that God loves them [which is essentially what one is doing on a less one-on-one level during a sermon], then you need to be able to step back. Passion is essential in some contexts, but when you are teaching others of a touchy subject, for instance, or presenting potential applications and/or the choices that an individual can make, your story remains your story, and as fuelled as you like it . . . but your point should come with no strings attached, no vested interest, and an ample dose of what you wish to deliver in a fact-based package. Much like the delivery of stance on homosexuality was delivered at my home church.

I was reminded of this scenario when I was reading Jenny Simmons’ blog tonight, in which she writes about speaking to a camp group of some very tough kids in very dark places. On speaking to these kids about Jesus, and His love for them.

I refuse to manipulate on behalf of God. He does not need me to twist anyone’s arm. He does not need tears and lame promises to make Himself known. He is God. To emotionally intimidate people into knowing Him is a terrible offense.

–Jenny Simmons in What if They Were Angels

I fully believe this. I believe that God, from the beginning, has been in the position of ultimate transformation on both a global and individual level. I believe that He finds a way to stir in all of us, at different points in our lives, but that He gives us the will to determine how we respond to this.

That we don’t need cheap rewards and incentive for inviting Him into our journeys.

That it is not up for us to try and manipulate others with our words or our emotions, because He is more than capable.

That He simply loves us where we are at with open arms for when we are ready.

That nothing is ever final enough to divide us from Him.

Ever.

“and what do i know . . . what do i know of holy?”

and what do i know? / what do i know of holy?

–what do i know of holy?, addison road

Holy. In both the spiritual and exclamatory forms of the word.

I have never been a fan of Evanescence. I had a couple friends in high school who were big into Evanescence, and I just didn’t dig them. Which is fine, but sometimes I just want so hard to like stuff related to music.  And then one Sunday we sang Bring Me to Life in church. And I was a little more open. I like when songs that were popular music can also align into a worship experience because they are not scary and preachy.  And then Bring Me to Life got on my iPod, and I danced to it. Not only is dance one of my favourite workouts, but I love that it can be such a spiritual experience, realigning my body, my heart and my spirit by letting my mind free.

And then I wanted more.

So this? This is so close to being so much of my story in a song that I didn’t write, much like Much Like Falling and Red Sam by Flyleaf.

i tried to kill my pain / but only brought more / so much more / i lay dying / and i’m pouring crimson regret and betrayal

i’m dying, praying, bleeding and screaming / am i too lost to be saved? / am i too lost?

my God, my tourniquet / return to me salvation / my God, my tourniquet / return to me salvation

do You remember me? / lost for so long. / will You be on the other side, or will You forget me?

i long to die

my wounds cry for the grave / my soul cries for deliverance / will i be denied?

Christ, tourniquet, my suicide

–tourniquet, evanescence

 

It causes me to ask why. Why would my God keep going after me after I screwed so much up?  
So amazing.
Holy.

Jesus said to all of them, “If people want to follow me, they must give up the things they want. They must be willing to give up their lives daily to follow me. Those who want to save their lives will give up true life. But those who give up their lives for Me will have true life.

Luke 9:23-24 [NCV]

I was not too lost. We are never too lost.

will i stay with my feet in exactly the same place?

It took me until the other day to realize that I have been ignoring God for . . . probably since the high wore off after getting back from working at camp or something.

There are times when my longing to know more and to dig deeper through worship are intense. And then the series of those moments end.  I slip back into my life, my routine and my apathy. These moments grow further and farther between.  I tried to pray last night . . . and I couldn’t remember the last time I prayed.  And by tried to, I mean that I can’t even remember if I got to amen. The youth retreat had me ignited in worship; shaking as I opened up Psalms and found a verse that encapsulated my journey with God perfectly.

And yet, through all of that, through this whole journey that cannot be an accident, through all of the things I am thankful for, I am ignoring God and am apathetic about this. I am stuck. I am here, in this space, with all I have, and not reaching towards what I need.  I have no doubts in this: I need God.

The fact that I am even writing this leads me to believe I am reaching for more. That I want more than this at this current moment–that I want to be deeper with God.  The other part of me though? It continues to resist, to push away, to try to hide.  The other part of me: the remnants of my fourteen-year-old self.  The girl who thinks she can go it alone, yet at the same time knows deep down that she can’t.  The girl whose heart is only beating because of God but she hasn’t yet fully come to terms with that.  Still.  After six years.  Because in all these years, I am distant more than I am close. I take for granted my own story–God’s story.

And I don’t know what to do or where to go. I only know where I am; and some days that isn’t so clear either.  I am not my own.

Yet I cannot relinquish that control.  Cannot submit fully.  Cannot reach forward even though I know His arms are open.  Cannot move.

. . . And cannot understand it.

and i live just around here
and i sleep just around here
and i wake up every day
and my feet hit the floor 
in exactly the same place
[…]
and i wake up every day
with poison in my head
behind exactly the same face
[…]
and tell me will i stay
with my feet in exactly the same place?

empty’s theme park, matthew good