Tag Archives: struggle

broken things

photo by Nichole Park Photography

photo by Nichole Park Photography, http://goo.gl/u7JJ90

I had a wonderful thing happen the other day, seriously, a heart-wrenching God-send.

I’m working on these songs, grappling with what I feel they’re saying to me. This may sound neurotic, but once I’ve gotten them out, it’s like a birth… they’re now their own separate thing and I have to honor whatever those emotions were trying to say.

In turn, the songs also have to honor what I’m trying to say. This is the first time I’ve genuinely had an overarching theme that is complete and concise. It makes me so glad. In the end, these songs are saying to me the things that I’ve been needing to hear. I’m getting a chance to write an album of songs that *I* want to listen to and spend time with God in.

Some of the songs get kicked out, because they’re not talking about what I’m wanting to convey… so they have to go, or wait for some other time before they get to exist.

Wednesday night I was driving to Memphis with my wife. She drove so I could write. (very kind of her) I wanted to listen to some of the songs that didn’t yet have lyrics. I pulled up one that I hadn’t messed with in a good 6 months, and to my surprise, I had already written lyrics.

I had completely forgotten. A while back, in a night of sadness I was praying and just trying to find the sorrowful feeling I was having inside… I had forgotten that there was a whole song that gushed out and I had recorded it really fast as a rough draft so that I wouldn’t forget it.

I cried. It really ministered to me the other day.

You see, we’re broken. We’re all broken. We all try to spend so much time pretending that we’re not but we are. The good news is that there’s a God who absolutely adores the broken things. He longs for our company… and in his presence, but by bit, he makes us whole.

Sometimes I’m amazed at the words that the Father will send us in our messes. He speaks so kindly, and his kindness certainly brings us to repentance.


Broken Things

clear my mind – tell my soul to be still
So I can hear You whisper in the middle of my noise
Tell my waves to be still
be still

I just don’t get you sometimes
I see you sleeping in the boat when I’m terrified
Tell my waves to be still
be still

God of my anxiety
Lord of my rest
Author of my being
Messiah, saviour of all these broken things

We just don’t get it
We probably never will
Your perfection doesn’t make much sense to our minds
We argue about you all the time

We want to prove to you that we know what to do
But when we try we only prove that the opposite is true
We argue about it all the time

God of our anxiety
Lord of our rest
Author of our being
Messiah, saviour of all these broken things

Let us learn to let go of the ruins we call home


“Don’t let your struggle become your identity”

I have this lovely young friend with whom I’ve been sharing quotes as writing prompts. You see, she’s a great writer, but she doesn’t think she is, and she wants more practice. Practice is always good, right?

My goal is to get her free-writing and really expressing herself. She has so many amazing things inside of her. The whole thing is really reminding me of the very reason that I started this blog and named it what I did. The whole thought of, “No my dear… we’re already on an adventure.”

Life can be very good. But we’re just not very good to ourselves.

So, I gave her this quote yesterday. I also told her that I needed to write about it myself.

The more that I thought about it, the more it ate at me.

What is my struggle?

I really feel like I’m one of the biggest lugs of condescending crud around. I wrestle with being a chubby, volatile mess of emotions that keeps people on their guard to not trip the wire and unleash “the other guy.”

I hate it.

And you know what? I was taught to think this way.

I could get into parenting here, but suffice it to say that when I blow it, blow up, get snippy or anything, I have it in my head that it’s over. I’ve ruined it.

I have the thought in the back of my head that this is all a test, and if you miss one of the answers, or perform poorly on any of the questions, you’ve ruined it.

It’s the first thing that comes to my head when I mess up.

This is my biggest and ultimate struggle day to day. It leads me to want to give up, hide, sulk, fight more, drink… you name it. It takes me to dark places. It used to take me down so far that I would actually, physically punch myself in the head because I couldn’t handle it… I felt so helpless.

And yes, to this day, I wrestle with that helplessness every single day, multiple times a day.

My Identity

Am I a “ruiner” of days? Am I just a big, arrogant jerk that brings storm clouds? No.

It’s hard to embrace it, but no, I’m not.

I am John. I’m the one that Christ loved. He loved me even when I thought I ruined the day. He loved me when I felt so helpless that I would beat my face in panic and get high to calm down.

He loved me.

I will not let my struggle be my identity. No, I won’t.

I will let it roll off. I will back up when I mess up, and move forward in hope because that’s what’s true.

NOTHING is irreversible.

NOTHING is unrepairable.

I’ve seen more growth happen in my children from saying “I’m sorry” than anything else that I’ve done with them. I’ve grown closer than ever to my wife by backing down when I’m all in a wad inside and holding her instead.

This is my identity. I want to lay my head on the breast of Christ.

I don’t talk about this enough. Every day I have something that will happen, I lose it, I pop, I feel so out of control… if only for a moment. And I wonder, sometimes only for a split second, “Am I still that guy? Am I still the violent man who pummeled my sister and threatened my mother with a knife?”

No, I’m not.

When I shake inside, I will get still and lay my head on his breast. When the storm rages, I will learn to lie down in the boat with him and have faith.

Sure, I may have messed up. But he’s the king. I live in his kingdom. He will show me who I am. He will use it and set it all right.

I’m the one that he loves.

Confessions of an Ungrateful Heart

“O Lord, hear my prayer!

Pay attention to my cry for help!

Do not ignore me in my time of trouble!

Listen to me!

When I call out to you, quickly answer me!

For my days go up in smoke, and my bones are charred like a fireplace… Because of anxiety that makes me groan…

For the last couple of months I’ve been downright tired. In fact, more than a few times I’ve grumbled under my breath that I hate my life.

More and more I had been wanting to escape and just sleep, watch movies… fade away.

We just had an annual festival here, a festival where we get together and celebrate our life together… it’s a weekend where we really enjoy each other and rejoice. I spent most of the weekend longing for my bed. I tried to want to be with people… I did.

I hate that feeling. You’re exhausted inside and out. You know that it’s off, you know that you should want to be with the church, good people who are filled with love, but you just don’t have it in you.

I was walking around watching people smiling and laughing, and I just couldn’t muster it up without being the biggest phony ever.

I know that there’s some out there who believe in the “fake it till you make it” philosophy… but I just don’t buy it. At least, not for the long run. When you’re trying, day after day, and not “making it” then something is wrong.

My friend Shammah told my wife and I once, “There’s nothing more important than being in the presence of God. If you can’t find it, you have to halt everything and get back with Him.” He explained that if we really believe what we say that we believe, then there is no greater task than being next to our heavenly Father… everything else can wait.

That’s not faking it, that’s honesty.

I didn’t feel my God anywhere… but it’s funny, I saw him everywhere. I even saw him working through me and the situations around me. I saw him working despite me. I just wanted to go to sleep.

Finally, I snapped. I wanted to hurt everyone around me. I was annoyed by them all. I couldn’t see gratefulness worth anything.

Sometimes, on my lunch breaks I’ll exercise and watch a mystery show on Netflix or something… it’s great for unwinding. But last Thursday, I just couldn’t. I needed to hash it out with God. I needed something.

If I was hiding sin I wanted it revealed. If I was filled with hatred I wanted to know. I wanted God to show me so that I could make him happy!!!!

But all that I got was love. It was one of those moments when he simply wraps around you and says, “Son, you’re fine, and you need a nap.”

So I laid there and cried. I know, sounds like a weak thing to do. But I’m weak. I’m pitiful without my God. I just wanted to be a good dad, husband, friend… and God was telling me that I needed a nap.

I cried for a while, and came inside and my friend pulled me aside and told me how much Yvonne and I really needed sleep. Wow, what a shocker. It was sweet really.

Having real and true friends is the best combatant of depression. You need people to tell you, “No, you don’t actually hate everyone, you’re just tired. Have a nap and relax. You are loved.” And to believe them and rest in them is so wonderful.

I’ll write more about the following few days tomorrow… because God had a WHOLE lot more to say about the subject, and especially on those first few bits of Psalm 102 that I posted there.