Extraordinarily Selfish


“”For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 19:45) […] They [the disciples] soon learned that servant leadership ultimately means giving up yourself so that others can have the life God desires for them.”
— C.Gene Wilkes, Jesus on Leadership

I’ve done this terribly.

Like many of us, I’ve spent the latter half of this week intentionally diving deep into the story and life of Nelson Mandela, desiring to know who he was, what he was motivated by, how he accomplished what he did, and generally desiring to know what life looked like through his eyes.

What moved me most was simple; a handful of letters he had written to his wife during his 27 year long political imprisonment. What was immediately apparent was that he loved her deeply. What also quickly became apparent was that he detested the fact that in many ways, the movement had to come before his family. He hated that.

But he did it willingly.

That is leadership.

That is why I fail at being a leader. I serve as long as it is convenient or beneficial for me. I serve people all the time, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t lay my life down. I do a little bit, give some encouragement, share some knowledge, but I don’t get all the way in and suffer, cry, and love people with all of me. I don’t give until it hurts consistently. I boast in my freedom and I love it so much it keeps me from pursuing my mission. Yeah, I serve, but I don’t live to do it, my life doesn’t revolve around it, and it isn’t what I’m all about. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t tell you what my life revolves around… Well, I guess that means it revolves around me, doesn’t it? I guess I’m just being selfish.

I’m not discouraged though. I’m excited because all of the difficult discussions I’ve been finding myself in recently are adding up to this moment. Every person that has told me that I’m not where I need to be, that I’m capable of more, that I have so much more to give than I currently am. I’m ready.

Finding a Voice. Forging Ahead.


Poetry is not preaching. It is my belief that a good “Christian” poem doesn’t simply state Biblical truth, but rather animates it. Poems should give us pictures and colors where we only saw words before. They should make us re-examine the depth with which we understand the things we perceive to be simple, and challenge us to engage the things that seem out of reach. It should open new worlds within common knowledge, not just restate it. Poems should fuse truth to us in ways that traditional study and research can’t. The same should be said of all art.

I’ve been fighting to let my writing have that kind of depth and as frustrating as it is, the reward is spilling over into all of me. My writing process is becoming more and more fulfilling, and my daily life right beside it.

I can only imagine how it will feel to actually excel at it! I’m very determined to know. Meanwhile, may God give me grace to keep diving deeper.

9-12-13


We finally talked freely and it seems some things never change:

As we sat in my car, I stretched over the center console to embrace her. We held each other more conscious than ever of the passing seconds. After a while, we freed ourselves, her face glowing in the low light. Sensing that everything was just as it had always been, I asked if a kiss would take us too far. We agreed it be our last one and indulged ourselves.

We kissed four more times that night. We slow danced in the street while she hummed some silly-sounding jazz song I probably should have recognized. I took her hands and we locked our gates together once more, traded raspberries and forehead kisses, licked each others’ faces, (don’t ask lol) told stupid jokes, and laughed, laughed, laughed at all that has happened.

She reminded me of how this all started with a conversation about my next birthday party (now tonight) almost a year ago, and then commented that it’s been a crazy summer. That’s no lie.

The entire evening wrapped itself around us wrapped in each other. And as I found it coming to a close, I told her, still resting in my arms, that no matter what happened, they would always be a home for her. She smiled broadly and as soon as had I said it, I saw the seasons changing and thought sadly that I have only been an extended summer home.

I’m just not the man she wants to build her life around. Nothing against me, nothing against her. At some point, wisdom must trump feeling if we are to live the lives we were meant to. I’m not angry with her in the slightest.

She’s free. I’m choosing to let go of her and be okay with that.

Not a second of these months was wasted, not a moment was anything less than vital for the both of us. No conversation pointless, no intimate moment, vain. This is not another weight, just fuel for the wait; God has done a good thing here and there is only better to come. Still, I’ll miss it.

Twenty-five is definitely going to be a good year.

Continue reading

Rage.


I was so angry last night. I was so angry that I just wanted to snap. I kept catching myself wanting to yell and I kept seeing myself throwing chairs through the sliding glass doors.

The rage was attacking me in flashes and before I could fight each one off more began blitzing. I felt like my insides would burst if I kept trying to hold it in, but I was so scared to let go. It wasn’t safe.

My organs seemed to be overheating and I swore something inside me was about to burst, but I wouldn’t let go, I couldn’t let go.

It’s never been safe to let go.

I started remembering all the times I’d let myself become angry, all the times people have told me that I scared them, all the times my mom told me it was inappropriate, I remember breaking Chris’ nose in elementary school for some reason I don’t even remember. I remember punching walls, bruising my knuckles, having to reseal and caulk the holes I made in my old bedroom.
You’re not safe.
You’re not safe.
You’re not safe.
You’re not safe.

My own voice in my head overwhelmed me.

You’re just not safe.

The last few times I heard it in the voices of my exes and it made me realize that they’re terrified of me. I’ve never raised at hand at any of them or made any threats, but I think they’ve each seen it in me and it’s driven them away.

At this point, I wanted to die. I couldn’t take it anymore, I felt like my internal organs were under so much stress they may explode, I hoped they would. I didn’t know what else to do, so I started yelling inside my head. I don’t know if I was yelling at God or myself, but someone had to know how angry I was. I screamed every negative thought that came to mind. Every thought, every feeling, I ran through everything I hate about my current situation and everything I hate about myself. I was honest about how angry I am with certain people and transparent about the fact that they’ve been treating me pretty badly. I said whatever came to mind without editing myself or forcing myself think rationally. (It seems that trying to tell the truth and being striving to be honest are two different things.)

Somehow peace came, quietly and reassuringly. I realized something, I’ve never really let myself be okay with how I feel when the feelings are ugly. I guess that’s why I’ve always been so intentional about letting people be exactly who they are when they’re with me. That’s why I try so hard to make myself a safe space for other people. I’ve not given myself any safe spaces, which has made me very unsafe.

I have to learn how to accept these parts of me or I’ll never get better. I deserve someone who accepts those parts of me, too. But, first things first, right?

Wild as the Wind


She speaks like silence is full-bodied and unashamed of its thickness
And moves as if we invented symphonies simply to explain her
She even stirs the trees!
They swoon as she passes through

She’s fair enough to launch a thousand ships and strong enough to sink them
She may be full of hot air but don’t dare speak it,
Raise her temper and she’s bound to start a storm

There’s no way to hold her, just let her be and if you find yourself all alone outside she might just find you quiet and keep you company

Most people take her at face value,
Call her syncopated song chaotic because it can’t be conquered
But like all passionate women, she has her own sense of rythm
So there’s no winning unless you go with her
Wild as the wind ain’t exaggeratin’
Just let her be who she is.
Hang your chimes and build mills high as you dare
And without a care, she’ll share
Everything that makes her sexy and strong will always be for your benefit and goals—
There is no owning her.
Only reverence and synergy will reveal her “inner-me”
Like all passionate women.

The Vulnerable Journey


Some things that are really starting to change my heart from a video I watched this morning:

 

 

“That’s something people don’t think about often: For all eternity we are loved, and until all eternity, we will be loved.”

— Henri Nouwen

 

“My life and your life are a short opportunity to say to the God that loves you, “I love you, too.”

Life is an opportunity to say yes to God’s eternal love— and an opportunity you have every moment, every second; because sometimes you have something wonderful and you say, “Thank you, God, for your love.” And sometimes, you have something really painful and you have to say, “Thank you for drawing me closer to your heart, even though it is really painful.”

Life, in all its joys and all its sorrows, is a short time in which we can say to God, “Yes, we love you too,” in all our excitement and in all our depression, in our wholeness and in our brokenness, in our well-being and in our sickness. Every time, again, we have the chance to say, “Yes! Yes! Yes! I want to be your daughter! I want to be your son! Not only because You say it; I want to be it, too!””

— Henri Nouwen

 

“We need each other!! And we keep forgetting again and again and again and again and again that we are loved, and think,
“No, I’m no good.”
“No, I messed it all up!”
“No, I feel so guilty.”
“No, I feel so ashamed!”
“No, this cannot be good.”
“Look, I lost my dear mother.”
“I lost my job.”
“I lost my ability to walk.”
“I lost my eyesight.”
I’m gonna be angry. I’m gonna say, “No! No! No! No! No!”

And we need each other to say, “Please, keep believing— that all that you’re living can bring you to the heart of God.””

— Henri Nouwen