Apr 25, 2005

Weakness and Brokenness

It is sometimes hard to walk through life and feel like your life is a mess and a bunch of contradictions. There is a subtle pressure, somtimes overt pressure, in church to put on your best Sunday Smile and show everyone that you are OK and have things together. The fact is that I am messed up, broken and don't have it together.

I came accoss a great essay that addresses these concerns by Michael Spencer over at the Internet Monk. The essay is called When I am Weak and I think if more of us could have such honesty as we looked at our messed-up-broken-down-heaps-of lives-we would could walk in much greater freedom and experience the grace that only Jesus can bring. I think we so often don't get it that we can't be good enough. So we pretend that everything is OK all the time and we build a false picture of who we are. I know I can portray a false picture of righteousness and OK-ness. This essay talks about why we must embrace our brokenness and never be Good Christians. I think sometimes the words that Jesus says in Mark 2:17 are hard to grasp: “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” I think we all want to be Healthy in how we view ourselves. There is always someone worse off than us. But we all are "sick" and if we think we are "healthy" or "righteous" in our own right, we are fooling ourselves.

So I am going to trying to be OK with my broken-down, dysfunctional life. Jesus came for people like me who don't need to pretend that we have it all together; we don't have to feel healthy. I just need to know Jesus brings grace to me and I can live in the midst my own messiness. I need to embrace the message in
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

Apr 21, 2005

Writing My Way Out of Depression...

I am coming out of the depressive state I have been and as I have said, writing is helping me. My poems are like little snapshots of where I am it helps me to clarify what I think and what is going on inside me. As Flannery O'Connor said, "How do I know what I think until I see what I say."

Taking It Back

What are you working for?
Adventure and passion
Will never go out of style.
But the quiet existence
Of monotony drives
You toward insanity.

Sip the water.
Quenched and quenching
Sometimes it’s wrenching
To have the ache of
Passion stifled,
And stuffed down.
It wants to come up
And burst forth.
But it tastes like bile, its burning
When quietly yearning
Waiting to live the life you
Were made to live.

Zest and gusto
Is what I long for.
Drink in life,
Savor every moment.
Staggering drunk from
Taking it all in.
Reckless abandon,
A passionate rage to live,
I cast out on the quest
To take back my life.

Fight it and drive it
Into the corner,
Battle the mediocrity
That slowly eats away
At the plans you once made.
Get up everyday and fight
Your complacency with
A sense of urgency,
Subdue it, pursue it.
Wake up from the spell
You’ve been under.

Seize your life,
Pick it up off the floor.
Run to the fields of freedom and truth.
Live life abundantly.

Written April 19, 2005

I know that God is helping me and I am not just pulling myself up by my boot straps, forcing myself out of depression. His Word is working in me and changing me in ways that I could never change on my own. The Bible is "Living and Active" and is in my heart and mind and working like a soothing balm or medicine, cheering my heart and lifting the fog from me.

Apr 20, 2005

Resting Place....

Here is another poem that kind of arose out of some verses that I really love. The poem just came pouring out of me with all of the kernels of the verses embedded in them, as if God was helping me to write out, or "Work out" what was already hidden in my heart.

Resting Place

I write out the dark night of my soul
Jesus, only in you am I truly whole.
Fenced in and pinned down,
I only want to fight the pain
That wants to consume me.
Free me from the prison I’m in,
Give me your freedom.
Make my yoke easy
Make my burden light.
For I am so weary,
So very wear.
I need you.
Free me

Here’s my heart,
My heavy, heavy heart
I cast my cares on you, Jesus.
Transcend may anxiousness with peace
That exceeds all my understandings.
Release me from captivity
Into your freedom.
Brake the chains that bind
Satisfy me for I am so faint.
Please restore my soul,
Help me only find rest in you.
Fortify me,
Cover me in your wings
Protect me from the arrows
That fly by day.
Help me sing for joy.
Be my Resting place.

Written April 19, 2005

Matthew 11:28-30
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Psalm 62:5-6
Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.

Psalm 91:4-5
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,

Some Relief from Deppression.....Poetry

I am starting to come out of the fog of depression and part of what has helped has been writing poems. God really uses poetry that I write to lift me up lighten my heavy heart. Sometimes it is easy to forget that. This week I have written a bunch of poems and my spirit has really been lifted a lot. I will post some of what I have written.

Familiar Voices

Spinning and twisting
I try to find my way.
I see smog, the haze
I stumble in the maze.
Clipped and clipping,
My feet are slipping
Close to the ledge.

Throw me a rope,
Write me a line,
Friendship binds us together,
And helps us cope.
When life squeezes us,
A familiar voice frees us,
And cheers the heart.

Down the path
Life’s journey throws
Us troubles that
Make us fall.
After tumbling
When you’re crumbling
It’s good to have someone
Dust you off
And pick you up.

The voice of a friend,
Soothes my soul.

April 19, 2005

Apr 15, 2005

Still Broken......

I have been going back and forth between depression and being OK....I have been in a funk for over a month or so. My work has suffered and part of me is not sure if maybe my work is part of the cause. But I don't want to be depressed.....I want to shake free. I want to have a "peace that surpasses understanding." I want to have a joy bubbling out of me...I want my attitude to be better but it has been difficult.

Life has not been fun; it has been drudgery at times. I want it to be a daring adventure! But yet I still find myself broken. I want to get away from my brokenness, yet it dogs me and hounds me. Yet in my weakness, in my frailty I can find the strength of Jesus. In the upside down Kingdom I can find strength in the midst of my weakness; I can find joy in the midst of pain; I can find healing in the midst of "sickness"". As I write of I think of the words of Jesus in Matthew 9:11-13:
On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

If I had it all together and everything was going peachy-keen where is my need for Jesus? I don't have to feel OK; I don't have to be funk-less. I just need to know that Jesus came for people just like me: the broken, the sick, the unrighteous, those who don't have it all together, those in a fog or a funk.

I will end with some verses that I really love.
Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV) "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

I also like the same passage in The Message version:
Matthew 11:28-30
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me--watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."

Apr 1, 2005


I have not posted in a long time because I gave up Blogging and blogs for Lent.

I have been wanting to have some deeper guy friendships where I live and I was journaling about this on Friday. I was led to a series of verses on friendship that really were not what I expected. The first verse I turned to I have known and loved, Proverbs 17:17 "A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity." Growing up a I had a friend that was my best friend since 8th grade. We met each other the summer before 8th grade when we both had paper routes and got our newspapers dropped of the at the same "drop." I came riding up on a my sisters purple bike with a bannana seat to deliver the my papers. I'm sure I was not the picture of coolness, but rather dorky. But anyway, I will call him Joe. Joe and I spent a lot of time together folding our papers and we quickly became friends.

We were best friends through out high school, we were always together. I would stay over his house on many nights, even on some school nights. It was like I was his brother and his house was my second home. Besides Joe's friendship, his family was an oasis of stability compared to my own broken family. I cherished Joe's friendship. We went to a Youth Group together, were in a Bible study together, we basically came of age together.

But after I got married we drifted some due to different priorities in life. We also went to different churches and just did not see one another as much. After a few years Joe got married and we did some more things together and then were involved in a Bible study with 4 other guys. This helped us draw together again. I also deepended the friendships with the other guys in our Bible study. We met every other week, but it was often enough to connect and go deep.

Then I moved a 100 miles away. That is not really that far, but far enough to feel the distance. Far enough to feel the void distance can create in friendships. Far enought to realize how I took for granted these friendships I had developed over many, many years.

I can call these friends on the phone, and I do, but it is good to hang out with a friend. It is good to be go to coffee with somone instead of just talking on the phone. It is great to laugh with someone, to see and hear them laugh. I have a need to be with people at times, that can fuel me; I am an extovert who makes friends slowly.

God is faithful and provides for me, but not always as quickly as I would lile.

Getting back to some of the other verses I found on friendship:
Proverbs 18:24
"A man of many companions may
come to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks
closer than a brother."

Proverbs 12:26
"A righteous man is cautious in
but the way of the wicked leads
them astray."

Proverbs 13:20
"He who walks with the wise grows
but a companion of fools suffers

Proverbs 27:10
"Do not forsake your friend and the
friend of your father,
and do not go to your brother's
house when disaster strikes
better a neighbor nearby than a
brother far away."

I guess there are areas of brokenness that do linger for me. It is part of living in a fallen world. I will keep looking for the "friend the sticks closer than a brother" and the "brother that is born for adversit." Perhaps someone needs me to be that for them, more than I need that. I pray that our paths will cross.