One, two, three, four, five, six, seven.
Breathe in. Breathe out. Pivot.
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven.
Grass parts beneath my feet as I pace hither and tither,
As if this monotonous marching will sufficiently release the charged conglomeration bubbling to the surface of my spirit,
Ready to burst at any moment.
Fear, confusion, desire, frustration, hope, anger.
The wind picks up and these concerns rise with it,
Twirling and billowing around me as if to remind me of their very real presence.
But Your presence is more real, my God.
Amidst all of this I know I have a way out:
I could return to the place from which I came
Or I could make the terrifying leap off the cliff into Your arms.
A brutally honest self-reflection tells me that I’ve not really given myself an option,
That I will end up jumping.
Peering over the cliff edge I am enticed by the adventure, exhilaration and adrenaline that will come from the leap.
Yet I want to make this decision not for the things that come with it but to draw closer to You, to trust You more.
And so in the midst of my troubles I sit on the overhang,
Knowing with confidence that I will jump into Your arms,
But waiting for confirmation from You that my heart is in the right posture to do so.
Like a deer I come to You, thirsty,
Desperate for a taste of Your refreshing waters.
There it lies, Your endless pool.
A well-trodden path to the source tells me that many have come before I.
Yet I am gripped by hesitation,
Aware of the intense vulnerability demanded by this moment,
Aware of the unseen predators that lie hidden in the surrounding grasses,
Hungry, or perhaps thirsty, themselves.
My own fear is outweighed by the draw of the pool,
By its promise of refreshment,
By its promise of a living water to flow through me.
Timidly I emerge from my own hiding place among the tall grasses.
With every step I approach the freedom offered by the rejection of fear.
At the pool's edge I lower my head in submission and surrender,
Lapping up your water.
My quenched soul is satisfied and renewed.
Umphefumlo wam unxanelwe wena wedwa.
I sit beneath what is perhaps one of God's most glorious creations:
Stars, each one nestled in its place of heavenly adoration.
Day after day, night after night, though they not always be seen,
They never cease to pour their praise and worship to the King.
Oh to see the things that each celestial host has witnessed:
Man's unrelenting pursuit of power, in all of its persistence;
The youthful beauty of the earth when He saw and said that it was good;
The leaps and bounds of a lame beggar the first time that he stood.
Overwhelmed with wonder I gape and gaze upon Orion's Belt --
To think that each was present at the first moment hope was felt!
A shift occurred in body and spirit all throughout the earth,
A shift that came through naught else but an innocent baby's birth.
The Lamb of God, dependent on His mother just the same as you and I.
The Word, The Light, The One and Only Son, THE hope named Jesus Christ.
Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice, rejoice you kingdom of Israel,
The Lion of Judah has walked the earth and is with us, Emmanuel.
And now we wait, anticipate, the coming of the King
Until then fighting in the Spirit against that which is unseen.
The stars watch on, breaking up the darkness with their adornation,
And continue to glorify His name along with all creation.
From the Light my soul has hidden itself,
Enveloped by darkness and the shadows that accompany it,
Guided by the guise of light offered by billions of glittering, twinkling stars,
Each of which is majestic and glorious,
Culminating into an even greater totality:
The serenity of our galaxy.
And while this mesmerization by which I find myself captivated is inherent and good and natural,
It is distracting to the hopefulness of my soul in its present state,
Causing me to become complacent,
Causing me to forget the promise of the true Light that is to come.
Thus it is with desperation that I cry out when these shining jewels are taken from me by the crack of dawn,
Leaving naught in their place but the pale color of a lightless sky.
For these few minutes I question the source of my hope:
Is this all to which life amounts — fleeting, sparse shimmers of light enticing me from every angle?
I am answered by the breaking of the sun's rays across the horizon.
I gasp for air at the Light's refreshment from the darkness in which I didn't realize I was suffocating.
The Light bathes the treetops,
Washing over more of the earth with each passing minute.
I wait with anticipation as I watch it melt away the shadows,
Golden majesty being soaked up by every living thing.
Here I remember the promise:
That the true Light gives light to everyone.
And as my body and soul are warmed by the Light's embrace I cling to truth:
That the Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.
Written from the heart of one struggling with depression.
Some days I lack hope.
Some days the weight of it all is simply too much to bear.
Sometimes a random, unpredictable concoction of words will be the trigger,
Sending me from my okay self into a seemingly everlasting downward spiral.
It may start as a bother, as a fleeting painful thought,
But then it returns, growing more pressing with each pass through my now-panicking mind,
And I find myself having to make a decision:
Do I flee in hopes of escaping to freedom
Or do I bow up and fight like every instinct in my body urges me to do?
As I make the decision that will release me from my burden I realize that I can do neither,
For how can I when the aggressor is my own mind?
Such is my internal state --
Reason and instinct wrestling, rolling hither and tither about my mind --
When I break out the mask that will adorn my face until either the offensive or defensive side of the ongoing war concedes.
Time serves as the only teller of that surrender, be it hours, days or weeks.
And so I function as a shell of my captured self, having been stolen by the demands of this conflict,
Holding the mask to my face at all times.
If it seems like I'm not okay --
If it seems like I'm "tired" or "quiet" --
Just remember that even the lightest things become unbearably heavy after enough time has passed holding them.
And if it seems that around you I let my unmasked self come up for air,
Know that it's because I trust you enough to love me anyways.
God, my parched heart cries out to You from the desert land,
Soaking up every dewdrop of joy that is left by Your Spirit.
Forty-nine days and counting,
Sustained only by the promise of Your presence.
The heat bears down, oppressive, choking me all around and waging war between my body and spirit,
A war to which my body’s most instinctive response is to flee back to the fictitious safety of the place You’re rescuing me from,
A place where I would be content to remain the same — unchanged, untouched, unhealed, stagnant — if it meant that my deepest desires might be superficially satisfied.
But I have tasted Your goodness:
The clouds that roll in to hide the sun,
Striking my face with winds of relief and hope,
Lifting my soul from its depths,
Leaving just enough moisture --
No more, no less --
On the ground to sustain me until the next wave of shade and peace.
This perfect amount of satiation keeps me trudging forward,
Even after the clouds of Your goodness and the winds of relief and hope have departed from me,
Subjecting me once more to the sun’s overbearing heat.
Yet through this furnace You are purifying my soul — changing me, touching me, healing me, reviving me —,
Bringing up impurities so deeply bound in me as a person that they could only be melted away by this white-hot blaze I find myself engulfed in.
And because I have tasted the goodness of Your glory and presence I persist,
Convinced that it will be more than worth it to --
After trudging through the desert land one step at a time,
Sustained by just enough to press on until my next taste of Your joy --
Lift my golden mane up to the sky and soak in the torrential downpour You will send,
The next glory You have prepared for me.
I have not been a good disciple.
I have not hagah-ed over Your Word as is expected of me.
I have allowed myself to become so busy that I fail to prioritize You.
I have failed to seek You out above else,
Failed to turn to You for advice instead of to the world.
I search in the world, though I know that all it takes for me to be free is surrender.
And still I have held tightly to my own ambition, loosing my grip on discipleship and relationship with You in order to grasp stronger the things that I think will satisfy.
I am not worthy to call myself Your disciple.
Yet by name You call me, Your disciple.
And now I choose to let go, to loose my grip on the world to pursue and clench in my hands that which is far more satisfying and everlasting.
I surrender to You everything for which I’ve searched in the world — may the weight of my worry rise from the shoulders that bore it.
I choose once again to seek You out above all else, and You welcome me back gladly.
You still see me as a sheep without blemish.
You do not see me as anything less than the Lion that You created me to be.
You love me in my unfaithfulness.
You've instilled in me a fighting spirit, Oh Lord,
One that requires more than to just sit idly by.
I long to be in the forefront of Your army,
And fight even if I die.
This lion is roaring, roaring, roaring,
Begging to be cut loose,
And craving to pursue that battle, Lord,
Which will not end in a truce.
For with Your strength and power we will overcome it all,
And watch with gladness in our hearts as Babylon takes her fall.
I want to save Your people, Lord,
To save them from themselves,
Just as You once saved my heart,
You saved me from myself.
And now I ask, I beg of You,
Please show me what do to.
How do I manage this spirit, Lord,
That craves wild and adventure so?
For what purpose have You bestowed this unto me,
a lion fervently chasing a doe?
"Lie down and rest and walk with Me, my child,"
You spoke to me so softly.
"Your time will come if you wait a while,
You needn't be so haughty."
"Lie down beneath the tree and skirt the sun's overbearing heat,
Let Satan run and prepare Himself for a sound defeat."
"Meanwhile just put your trust in Me,
And remember that it was I
Who saw you fit to be this way
And made you as my lion."