I am an enigma, a mystery
What I say is not necessarily what I am thinking.
And what I do doesn’t necessarily represent my motivation.
I am a thousand piece puzzle,
With less than a thousand pieces present.
Even I cannot seem to put the pieces all together.
I am something that baffles,
Both myself and perhaps many others.
Chaos and confusion housed in my physical form.
I am an ocean of secrets,
And even I am afraid to swim to the ocean’s floor.
The depths are dark and dangerous, and not for the faint of heart.
To Him I am as clear as day,
Transparent, an open secret.
No clever words can mask what I’m thinking,
No lovely roses can hide the abhorrent stench of my sinning,
No sweat melodies can overpower the my internal screaming,
No fancy clothes can improve my being.
This is terrifying.
This is liberating.
This is the worst news.
This is the best news.
For healing can come only when the Healer knows what is ailing.
Ask any New Englander how they feel about the weather right now, and they’ll probably grumble about the April snow showers and the cold temperatures. Winter has lasted a long time, and we’re ready for sunny skies and warmer temperatures. We’re ready for spring. The weather just hasn’t caught up yet.
But the signs of spring are there. Indeed – spring is here – though it may only be in the early stages right now. At work, the crocuses are blooming amidst the shriveled up remains of last year’s gardens. New life is springing forth from the dust.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I really don’t feel like a new creation. The reminders of past sins come and haunt me. The baggage of my guilt and shame sometimes weigh down on me. The doubts and fears creep in and threaten to steal what God has given. Some days I want to just throw in the towel. Some days it seems that hope is far off. Some days it seems like the chains of yesterday will never fall completely.
But that’s not the full story. I am in Christ, and therefore I am a new creation. But I am a new creation also in the process of being recreated. I am saved, but I am still being sanctified. Jesus has won the war, but there are still battles to fight. The kingdom of God is at hand, but it is also not yet. God’s promises are both now and some time in the future. The winter is over, and spring is here, but spring is also still coming.
We all search for something throughout our lives. We all search for what our role is in the world and whether we matter. We all search for an identity that we can feel good about and cling to. We all search for who we are.
And this search can feel endless and hopeless at times. Sometimes in the search we feel lost, as though we somehow strayed from the marked trail in the woods or ended up stranded on a ship lost at sea.
I’ve been there a lot lately. After graduating college, I felt like I had lost a big part of who I was up to that point: a good, studious student. I also quit performing music, something that had been a part of my life since I was 3. I was working a job, but that job was not my dream job. I didn’t (and still don’t) know what my ultimate career goal is. I felt (and sometimes still do feel) like I was floating in space with no path to follow. My general anxiety about everything and some issues at work only heightened the feelings of desperation in my soul. I felt useless. I felt like a burden. I felt like I had no discernible direction. I felt like a mistake.
We all face these feelings at one time or another. When we do, it’s tempting to drown these feelings out in whatever way we can. So we distract ourselves with entertainment, keep ourselves busy with work, and perhaps turn to a drug or drink to calm the ever nagging longing in the pit of our soul. We let our job titles, personal achievements, money, and experiences, good or bad, fully define who we are. Nowadays, we also carefully construct an image and identity for others to see on social media.
The hard truth is though, on our own, we’ll never find a full, meaningful identity that lasts. The identities we build with our careers and social media profiles are walls that will eventually crumble and fall to the ground.
This brings me to the song “Be Somebody” by Thousand Foot Krutch. It’s one of my favorite songs to sing along to in the car as I drive to work, especially when the frustrations and personal failures at work are weighing me down. It’s both a reminder of an amazing truth and a prayer.
I feel a million miles away
Still You connect me in your way
And You create in me
Something I would’ve never seen
When I could only see the floor
You made my window a door
So when they say they don’t believe
I hope that they see You in me
After all the lights go down
I’m just the words You are the sound
A strange type of chemistry
How You’ve become a part of me
And when I sit alone at night
Your thoughts burn through me like a fire
You’re the only one who knows
Who I really am.
“Be Somebody” – Thousand Foot Krutch
Sometimes I feel lost and far away from the God who created me. You probably have felt the same. But that doesn’t take away from the awesome (though often hard-to-believe) truth that God is ever-present and always creating. It also doesn’t take away from the fact that a child of God is His child forever.
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…
Throughout our lives as His children on earth, the enemy will use everything in his arsenal to make us stumble and fall. And we will fall. These battles don’t take away from the fact that throughout our lives in these mortal shells, God is sanctifying us and creating new things within us. He is creating who He made us to be. His plans, purposes, and perspectives are so much higher and so much more complex than ours. When all we see is hopeless situations and desperation, He sees all things restored and new. He is creating something in us that we would’ve never seen or even imagined in our wildest dreams.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55: 8-9)
God knows who we are. He knows every fiber of our being. He knows our likes, skills, talents, struggles, pains, sorrows, failures, guilt, and sin – yet loves us still. The proof was on a hill in Calvary. Since He loves us, we ought to live like we are His. If you tell your spouse or parent or friend that you love them, but never spend time with them or do anything to show your love, your words will sound hollow to the recipient. Perhaps it isn’t love at all. That’s where the prayer comes in this song:
So when they say they don’t believe
I hope that they see You in me
-“Be Somebody” – Thousand Foot Krutch
Let that be our prayer everyday – that God would continue to work in us, on us, and through us and that He would use us to show this dying, desperate world around us who He is. Let our identities rest in Him and what He is creating.
Today I witnessed another one of those moments where a child expresses sheer joy in the church. One little girl in the preschool class said something along the lines of “Church is really fun…and the most fun part is when we learn about Jesus and God!” Honestly, I think that comment made my day. I only hope that she holds that postive view about church. I’ve seen so many kids just stop coming to church once they get to high school and their parents stop making them go.
Sometimes we learn some big lessons from little children. Last Sunday, I was teaching a Sunday school class at church. The activity for the day involved the story of Jacob’s wrestling match and a craft about wondering. For part of the craft, I, being the teacher, was supposed to help the children brainstorm about what things they wonder about. Some of the examples in the book were like “I wonder if God really knows who I am” and “I wonder if God is really here with me.” One little girl blatantly said “Well…God is right here next to me. So of course He knows who I am. I don’t know His plan for me but I know that He’s right here.” I was so taken aback by the wisdom of this second grader. Her faith seems so strong and simple. She is young but knows a truth that so often gets overshadowed in our sometimes mundane day to day lives. I suppose my faith was once like that, based on stories that my parents have told me. As the years have gone by, my faith has faltered. Sometimes my mind is my own worst enemy as I try to understand things that I cannot understand right now. I forget the big picture. Yet this child recognizes a huge part of the big picture. Little does she know that she reminded me of the awesome fact that God never leaves us and he cares fo us so much that even the hairs on our heads are accounted for. I hope she never loses sight of the fact that God is here with her and all of us.