Soaking Up the Sun

I had weird nightmares last night. They were specific and detailed. I was afraid and crying. There were so many details I didn’t want to forget, so I saved them in my Dream Moods app before I went back to sleep.

After reviewing all the symbols, it looks like I’m being lead to assert some authority over my past. Apparently no matter how much healing I’ve experienced, there is always a remnant that needs to be addressed.

It’s been five years, but the fear of being blindsided by the truth is still alive. I don’t know if people ever get over that. How does anyone firmly reestablish faith in humanity after that faith is crippled? Anyone who fails to live up to your expectations, no matter what level they are, immediately justifies your skepticism and doubt.

The sun is shining on my lunch break, and I’m soaking up some rays before I go back to my “green” [dimly lit] cubicle. Thankfully they’re replacing the lights “soon” but my mood definitely wasn’t helped by my surroundings this morning.

The Members Will Dance

…When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up. – 1 Corinthians 14:26

Many members, but One Body. That’s the mantra I feel the Spirit massaging into my heart lately. Many gifts, but One Spirit.

I asked the Lord last week why it is that we have music, especially in church. What is it about? Do we need it or is just something the church does? After many years of leading worship, you would think I would have asked Him sooner, but it honestly never occurred to me to ask. And He answered me! He said, “I have music in the Church because no matter what part of the Body you’re in, all members can join together when they hear music… and they start to dance.”

It was such a simple answer, but it struck me as incredibly profound. I shared it on Sunday before we started the worship set. “No matter if you’re the head or the foot or the hand or the heart, no matter if you’re introverted or extroverted, you can all join together.” In all the years I lead worship, I have never heard such a positive response after. “Thank you!” and, “That was wonderful,” and “Anointed,” and even more “Thank you!”

I was resistant to leading worship again, but it’s something I can do for the Body of Believers I’m with. I stepped out in obedience, not willingness, and I truly believe the Lord is blessing me for it. It felt like pouring water on a parched piece of earth, not just for my Church Family, but for me too.

My best friend and I are going to be trading off leading every other month, and I can honestly say I’m excited to be part of it again. She and I started playing on worship teams in junior high, and here we are, leading the church her and her husband started into worship. It’s a beautiful, wonderful, special place to be.

Head Bouncing

Let’s get one thing straight. My head does not “bounce off” of anything, especially not “the pillow.” So imagine my surprise when the alarm clock sounded this morning and my eyes flew open. They don’t do that, even at the best of times. As far back as I can remember, even as a kid, I have never been awake in the morning. It takes a good, solid two hours and at least one cup of coffee for my words to start forming. Until then, I carry a look on my face that says, “Morning people beware!”

Evening out my deficiencies is causing things to change, and boy howdy, I’m glad they are!

I saw my dad over the weekend. We had exchanged texts about my appointment with my naturopath. “Sorry you’re crazy,” he whispered to me with a smile at the seminar we attended together, “That’s probably my fault.”

I laughed quietly, “Yeah, thanks!”

He’s struggled with depression… always. I think at some point he must have accepted it as his Cross to Bear, part of who he was.

I couldn’t do that. I love my dad dearly, but I didn’t want to see my health deteriorate into obesity and diabetes if there was any way to prevent it. I’ve got teenagers to raise, for God’s sake! If I’m gonna have a prayer in keeping up with them, I cannot be depressed.

Spontaneous Song

“Let me be singing when the evening comes.”

I had my follow-up appointment with my naturopath yesterday. Clinical depression. Clinical anxiety. Test results. Black and white. It shouldn’t be any surprise to anyone following my journey of cynicism and tears this blog.

My first words upon hearing this? “That’s great news!”

Honestly, my biggest fear surrounding that appointment was that he would say the test showed nothing out of the ordinary, and I had no objective reason for feeling this way. Worse, that there would be no help for it. I should just continue to squeeze my willpower into smiling and being productive.

Thank God for answers!

The naturopath, who is also a Christian, prescribed supplements to boost the neurotransmitter levels that were low. I hesitate to give more details than that, because the treatment plan is specific to my history, my situation, my [possible] genetics (since it seems this has been an issue in my lineage, going back four generations), my work environment, and my test results. The short story is that I am relieved.

Then something happened this morning. I started singing in my car on my way to meet a friend. It was totally subconscious. I didn’t even realize I was doing it. When I finally noticed, my eyes filled with tears and my throat closed. I was singing.

The only other time in my life that I remember spontaneously bursting into song were among the happiest days of my life. My brain chemistry hasn’t had even 24 hours to change, and my outlook, my attitude is already starting to transform. For the first time in many many years, that song didn’t come out of sheer willpower. It spilled out of my joy.

More than the answers I received and the supplements I bought, I am excited… I am excited about the change in my heart.

Big Rocks

I did quite of bit life planning awhile back. I think I need to revisit it before another year whooshes by without anything more than a vague memory of what happened. You’d think I was completely out of it most of the time, but I’m actually a very planned-out person. I could tell you all the little things that happened this past year, but there are very few things I’m pleased and proud to report on.

Continue reading Big Rocks

They Will Know You by Your Understanding

I’ve created a lot of posts as a Free Believer on this blog, but many probably have no idea what that is. It’s hard to define, and I’m gonna go ahead and be lazy and not try. There’s a podcast I love to listen to and this episode really got to me today. “You cannot change people,” Darrin says, “but you can understand them.” It’s a powerful notion, and it’s confirmed something I commented to another blogger not too long ago:

If there’s one thing I know about grief, it’s that there’s no use grieving with someone who’s never been hurt. “I can only imagine,” comes out of their mouth, and you just want to drown them for having the audacity to speak. “Yeah, you can ONLY imagine; why are you talking??” Misery loves those that have experienced misery. I’m convinced that – Understanding – is the greatest gift we can offer another human being. It heals more in a moment than therapy and chemistry can touch in a year.

I’m powerfully grateful, once again for Darrin and Aimee and Hans, and their commitment to the Into the Wild show. Understanding at its very best in the modern world of disillusioned Christians.

hypokrisis

One of my most vehement criticisms of church leadership is the issue of hypocrisy. I’ve been thinking about it a lot this past week as it seems I will be stepping back into a semi-leadership role soon. My best friend has asked that I take over leading worship for our house church once a month. She’s adopted two kids this past year and she needs a break. We’ve been talking about it for months and I’ve helped out a few times, but this month will be my first month on my own.

Leading worship is really like riding a bike for me. I’ve been on worship teams off-and-on since I was 12 years old. Before that my parents were a tag team at the church were I did a lot of my growing up. My dad had a great ear for the sound booth and my mom played the flute and sang on worship teams for as long as I could remember. That changed when they stopped going to church together, but I carried on the family… habit? of church leadership by playing the keyboard for my youth group all through high school and partially through college.

I’ve filled-in here and there over the past several years, but I’m a bit out of practice now. Still, I can make-do with the library of songs I finally organized into a 6-inch binder a couple years ago. Of those hundreds of pages, there are a dozen or so I can still bear to sing. Most of them are so repetitive and useless, I can hardly stand to read them.

My relationship with music was re-energized when I came across this hymn a few months ago. I had heard it before, but I never really listened to the words:

My life flows on in endless song;
Above earth’s lamentation,
I hear the sweet, tho’ far-off hymn
That hails a new creation;
Thro’ all the tumult and the strife
I hear the music ringing;
It finds an echo in my soul—
How can I keep from singing?

What tho’ my joys and comforts die?
The Lord my Saviour liveth;
What tho’ the darkness gather round?
Songs in the night he giveth.
No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that refuge clinging;
Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth,
How can I keep from singing?

I lift my eyes; the cloud grows thin;
I see the blue above it;
And day by day this pathway smooths,
Since first I learned to love it,
The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart,
A fountain ever springing;
All things are mine since I am his—
How can I keep from singing?

I don’t know how many times I’ve read it these past few months, but my eyes still blur when I read certain phrases.

Still, my biggest concern with stepping into this role is hypocrisy. I’m the age and in the position now that use to criticize harshly for inconsistency. I don’t think I’m not living a life that it completely contrary to what I believe, but I’m sure there are things I claim to value that I fail to practice. And I’m sure that my kids would be able to pin-point exactly what those inconsistencies – those hypocritical themes – might be.

If only I had the courage to ask them.