Last night I finally finished a song. Of course, by “finished” I really mean, “placed a bunch of words with chords that make sense but have a lot of room for improvement.”
I wouldn’t say it was easy. Sometimes artists have moments of brilliance when a piece legitimately flows out of that place without hindrance. Sometimes it’s like lighting a match; where it takes a few passes over the emery paper of the matchbook before the stick actually ignites. Still further, it’s like starting a fire from rubbing two sticks together or causing flint to spark. I believe that scenario to be the majority of my creative processes.
Since returning from Michigan, I’ve been running on empty. I was out of joy, out of hope, out of peace, out of trust. I always do well to keep it together. I raised my walls back up and went day to day essentially pretending I was fine. The truth of course is, I wasn’t. I know people with problems much larger than mine, I told myself. No one needs to hear my sob story. Truly, without realizing it, I let the sadness sink it and let the lies overrule truth. Where was God in all of this?
He was right next to me but I refused to acknowledge his presence.
I would read my Bible, yet I could only see words. I’d hear encouragement from friends, but it seemed pointless. I found an amazing new apartment downtown, but it wasn’t enough to really excite me. I thought I was praying, but I guess I just thought too much. God was whispering for me to simply give it all up and get close to him. But I tuned it out.
I easily allow myself to be busy as to not deal with the issues at hand. Why? Because I don’t want to feel the things I know will hurt so bad. I don’t want to experience the pain that will eventually bring healing. I don’t want to rip apart my heart so God can put it back together again. I’m afraid to feel anything.
I was afraid until Sunday morning. I heard a message on Love from Perry Noble – quite possibly THE BEST message I’ve heard in my life. And at the end of the 9:15 service, I led the well-known John Mark McMillan song, How He Loves. From the stage, I was completely and entirely wrecked by the words and couldn’t hold back tears. I felt the love of God.
Last night I found myself with a matchbook. I had a writing session with Neil earlier that morning and he brought up a chorus I’d written many months ago. We didn’t end up heading in that direction, but the memory of that chorus lodged itself in my brain for the rest of the day. Late in the evening, alone, I struck the side of that chorus, and with a few tries it became a flame. And the flame lit the fire of a story I so desperately needed to get off my chest: The story of my reluctance to trust and allow God to be my everything.
I hope you will get to hear the song one day, but for now, I want to share with you the chorus as a poem. Maybe you’ve been here; maybe you are here. Maybe you just need to hear this today:
How many times have I been ashamed to cry
Till your love came down to find me here tonight
And how many times have I let my words run dry
Till you picked me up, and held me close,
and loved me through the mess I made of life
Pastor Perry Noble’s Message:
“How Do I Know God Loves Me?” – Newspring Church