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Archive for the tag “truth”

a love note

What are you wildly passionate about? What is the beautiful, driving thing you believe you’re born to do? What makes you feel on fire? There was a rather scary period of time when I didn’t have any passions. But it’s amazing what passion I uncovered after that dark, ugly thing—depression—that hounded me for years, almost killed me, was vanquished. I rediscovered a love of writing but there was something even greater, a passion for truth [italicized to distinguish the kind of truth I’m referring to] because it saved my life. Now, I can’t stop writing about truth.

Smothered under depression I used to believe that truth was hard, unyielding, cruel in it’s pristine perfection. It was utter condemnation—I saw the truth of me and it was nothing good. There was no grace in this truth and I needed more grace than I could afford. So I avoided truth.

His truth first came to me under the guise of grace. God isn’t pharisaical. That’s impossible for him because he is LOVE. Full, complete, perfect love. The kind of love that flies in the face of logic but is the only substance on earth that can save us all.

And yet, the hard, inescapable truth is that he is the final judge and can’t tolerate a spec of sin. In this most peculiar mixture of love and justice he ruled all lives with any sin must pay with death but then he stepped down from the bench, handcuffed himself, and paid the price—his death for mine, for all of us who choose to accept it.

The truth he offers says I can be redeemed, that I have worth, that fear has no place, that he has a plan for my life, that he can vanquish the darkness plaguing me. His truth is an invitation to a new way of life that has immortal, life-giving repercussions. His truth does not shy away from my sins [I must ask for forgiveness] but in the space of a breath, he offers me forgiveness, a way out, and takes away my shame.

I guess my passion for truth is a love note to Him. And it’s a message I feel compared to share for the rest of us who need unaffordable grace and a new way to live.

Question time: I’m wondering, how do you feel about this truth and what are you passionate about? I know, seems like two separate questions but I’m wondering, is what you’re passionate about linked at all to whether you believe in this truth or not?

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before the dawn of time

 

image[This post is inspired by Ann Voskamp’s #TheJesusProject. Click on the picture to discover more.]

 

Before the dawn of time, C.S. Lewis writes. I feel a comfort knowing that you were there before me, before people and pain and sky and trees. That you stood unshaken in the dark void, dreamed and spoke. Solid words like a great oak door. The words were a part of you, pieces of you. Rock-steady. The words were good and true, just like you. Just like the words you speak today. Their truth, their goodness do not turn void. You spoke, the words hovered beside you, ready for the next command. Ready to do your bidding. They formed mountains and countless souls with immortal dreams.

Thousands upon thousands of words make up your being. All the good words, true, just, noble, kind, gracious, loving words. They are the bread of you. They hold a fraction of your form, but enough to blow my world apart. They are the words I stand on, lean on, hold hard and tight. They are pieces of you and when I feel alone and afraid I speak the words with my thick tongue and challenge my soul to touch each word as it runs by. I speak your words until my soul remembers and I can walk again.

I will hide your words in my heart, so I can walk and not grow faint, run and not grow weary, soar on wings like eagles. With your words I can fix my eyes on you, put on my hands around your face, see only you in the good, good times when I want to run ahead alone, and in the bad, bad times when I think my heart will stop beating. You are my rock and my fortress, my strong Deliverer. I have grafted your words within me and now they make up pieces of me.

What words of the Great Creator do you hold close to your heart?

“Patches of God-light”

heather“Patches of God-light.”

[a C.S. Lewis reference to God-given epiphany.  The kind of epiphany we artists sweat out our days for.]

Patch me in, please God.  I need light, it is my oxygen.  I need you or I live in dark places that are tight and stifling.  I want to wake with my day wide open, with inner warmth, and clarity of mind.  I want to wear my hair up, a badge of honor, because the day required many words sweated out for you.

I don’t do life anywhere near perfect.  I am not a tidy Christian, a lace and pearl wife, a famous friend, an artist extraordinaire.  I’m more fight than calm.  But I fight for truth and peace and freedom.  Because my world is at war.

In happy accident I find one, two, four and more who are fighting too for peace, for freedom, for truth.  I count them as friends, as comrades.

Truth comes like light.  Like patches of light.  And I soak it in through the photosynthesis of my soul.  The truth, the patches of light, are much softer than I ever imagined they would be, much kinder too.

Fill my days God, with your patches of light.

 

Write a little prayer and post it up!

words to build life on

heather

I’m always thankful when I find material to write on during devotions.  One of God’s kindnesses to me!  I just finished reading chapter 6 in the Message version.  And it had me re-examining my life in many areas but let me just tell you the part in context with living as a Christian with a calling (people we ALL have a calling…mine happens to be writer/artist.  I’d love to hear what yours is!)

“There’s trouble ahead when you live only for the approval of others…” [Luke 6:26 MSG]

I have a great way of trying to make myself feel good by pleasing others.  I call it Christian duty.  I act like if I can make everyone happy with me, my life will be peaceful and happy.  I can turn phone calls, finances, laundry, cooking, and a host of other responsibilities, big and small, into my Christian duty.  And it’s true, we are asked, expected, to do many of these things with good reason!  However… my motivation, my focus is wrong, and this is how I know…

I still have this nagging sense of guilt.  Heather you should also have done… you know she will be mad at you if you don’t… they must think you hate them because you didn’t…  But it’s nine o’clock at night and now feeling guilty and exhausted.  And to top it off, I feel unfulfilled, like I’ve accomplished nothing.  And then I’m simply an unpleasant person to live with.

I told you all that I have started writing at 6 a.m.  Not everyday, but on days when I have to leave early for work and won’t be home, this is what I do.  I’m not a night person so mornings work best for me.  When I do this, I have a sense of peace for the rest of the day because I did my work.  My work, the work GOD called me to do.  And somehow, the rest of my work goes a little easier.  Making God-pleasing the focus of my day changes things.  Shock!

I am a work in progress.  This idea of putting God first and what he’s asked me to do is a very new concept for me.  And it hasn’t been a smooth process.  Still isn’t.  But it’s better than where I was before.  God gives us life changing, freedom making solutions.  He speaks them into us through many ways, the Bible, music, friends, life events.  What are we doing with the truth he’s giving us?

“These words I speak to you are not mere additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living.  They are foundation words, words to build life on.” [Luke 6:47 MSG]

I would love to hear from you!  Are you struggling with fitting your calling into your day?  Has God shown you a way to fit your calling in hectic/confusing life?

Jealousy Map

Recently, I have not been caught in the throes of jealousy.  Thankfully, over time I began to learn the significance of taking continual action towards what I wanted to do—no matter how big or small—and that has been my saving grace. Before that, it was easy for me to become jealous of others who appeared to “have it all together” or who seemed to be “further along”, moving towards their dream more than myself—or so I thought. Although I felt justified, the dark residue that it stained on my heart left my demeanor darkened, rotting like a year’s worth of mildew in a stark white bathroom. (Enjoy that image?)

After a while, I realized that all the excuses had to go. To dispel jealousy and “stinking thinking”, I knew I had to keep moving forward with one small step at a time. Instead of telling myself, “I shouldn’t spend money on another class” or “I should be further along by now”, I tried the “I Wish” exercise. Reading Julia Cameron’s helpful exercises (from The Artist’s Way & other books), I jotted down the phrase “I Wish” twenty-five times and filled in whatever came to mind. Reviewing the list, I grasped how easily I could accomplish at least three or four of those “wishes”. Attributing action to my inmost desires and then following through propelled my mind, body and spirit to jump on a faster track, moving past jaded jealousy, and into a world of kindness, goodwill, determination and grace.

In Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way, she tells us on page 123 that “jealousy is a map” and each of our maps are different. “Jealousy is always a mask for fear: fear that we aren’t able to get what we want; frustration that somebody else seems to be getting what is rightfully ours even if we are too frightened to reach for it.”

She goes on to page 124 to say, “Jealousy tells us there is room for only one—one poet, one painter, one whatever you dream of being. The truth, revealed by action in the direction of our dreams is that there is room for all of us.” How true.

Entertaining jealousy keeps us from accepting the truth that if you believe and take action towards your dream then you are on your way, as you transform into the person you were meant to be. This is how our Creator desires us to be, moving from being focused on the end result and external motivations to relishing the process, living life’s grand journey from the drive within. As we do this, our focus shifts from envying others and the “woe is me” mentality to taking responsibility for our dreams and unique purpose He has given us.  Amen.

If you’re up for it: How have you been jealous of other artists? Why do you think you felt that way? What did you do about it?

Silencing a Singer

I recently recalled a key event in my past. It was an overheard conversation that lasted maybe two minutes, but that moment has re-shaped the last decade of my life. I was sixteen years old, on a school bus, seemingly asleep, when two girls nearby made fun of my singing voice.

I wanted to sink into that plastic seat. The blood drained from my cheeks. My insides churned. And I squeezed my eyes shut all the tighter, pretending I didn’t hear. And then I went on pretending for months and years afterward. Consciously, I didn’t allow myself to dwell on this. I strangled and buried every thought connected to that bus ride. But my actions betrayed my unconscious  hurt.

In choir, I started singing softer. I was a high soprano with lots of vibrato, and so I stopped singing the high notes altogether. When I moved to Orlando months later, I stopped auditioning for musical theatre too. I methodically drained any public brush with singing from my life. There were a few exceptions, but each of those left me feeling small and weak and sorry I had risked it. Apparently, I would rather quit performing and live with an ache rather than singing for a critic’s ear.

If you had asked me even a week ago why I had stopped singing, I would have given a vague answer about moving to Orlando. But that’s just not true. I stopped singing because I was still on that school bus whenever I opened my mouth to sing. I could still feel the sting of criticism, deep down, even if I had long since shaded that memory in gray.

But then journaling swept this memory back into color. And though it hurt to remember the sharp pain of that conversation, I discovered something else. A gem that made the journey worth it. I am a singer. God gave me this, but I have chosen to stifle it for over a decade. I may not be a soloist, and that’s okay, but I am a singer. And I’m through pretending that I’m not.

We each have critics in our lives who can silence us if we choose to let them. Some of those critics might have left long ago, but their voices still linger in their wakes. I’m suggesting that we step up to those voices. If God has given you a way to create, claim it! I know it’s a battle. I know it isn’t easy, but I assure you that you aren’t alone. God loves you and wants to free you with enough perseverance for the both of you. Ask Him and see. And a journal wouldn’t hurt either.

How do you respond to criticism? How have you moved past it?

Look Fear in the Face

“Have you ever looked fear in the face and said I just don’t care?”—Pink’s Glitter in the Air lyrics

When you first hear the word “fear”, what comes to mind? An impending attack? Feeling paralyzed? Many of us struggle with the fear of the unknown or fear of something that isn’t even real. Why is that? Fear causes irrational behavior and sometimes, harmful outcomes.

Facing fears is an important part of life. Without this courage, how can we continue to grow with God, in creativity, through life? Start by writing it down. Write down all the inner fears you hold on to, too afraid to speak them out. Spill out all the jagged lies that have wreaked havoc in your soul over the years, no matter how insignificant they seem. None of them are—I assure you. These trappings will hold you back from living the life that is meant for you. (It is best to handwrite them down first because you will be more honest.)

When I looked up “fear” online, here were a few meanings offered:
1.    a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid
2.    concern or anxiety; solicitude
3.    something that causes feelings of dread or apprehension

As you can see, fear takes many forms. It can make us feel crazy, paralyzed, worthless, and pointless, like we will never make it. Most of the fear I have experienced in my life has been imagined and propelled by lies—lies that I accepted as truth. (If you want to read more about my story, check out this article from The Good Women Project: https://www.goodwomenproject.com/daily-life/stress-lies-and-truth).

Wherever you are in life right now, it is always a good time to assess what is on your mind and whether anything is holding you back from your life purpose. I constantly remind myself that when I feel fear it is a great opportunity to take some sort of action…and to grow. As an artist, growth has become vital to me—just like breathing. Sometimes, I feel like I can’t even breathe. Then I take a step back, draw in fresh air and stare at the sky. I’ve learned the tricks that help me get past those trying moments. What are yours?

Today, I leave you with a verse that has helped me through fearful days and nights:
The LORD is my light and my salvation– whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life– of whom shall I be afraid?—Psalm 27:1

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