30 April 2011

Take This (Simple)

In 2006, I wrote a song and recorded it in the span of about 24 hours - it was my first experience with such a fast-paced process. Over the years, I've gone back to it time and again, grateful for the heart with which it was composed and a little bashful over the production value.

Tonight, the themes of the song still resonate deeply with me. Perhaps it is just that God has led me back into a similar season or that I still have not grown out of my abiding desire to hold perfection and control within my own grasp.

I wish this were simple -
This falling down and getting up again.
It would be easier if I wasn't so frustrated by bruised shins.

I get so frustrated. Not many people see that side of me. It's not that I get frustrated with life all that often (although that hasn't necessarily been the case in the last few months - an anomaly, I assure you), I get frustrated with how I react to life. My depressive, defeatist side comes easily out of the woodwork when things are brewing around me. Things like bruised shins hurt, but they heal if given the time. Unfortunately, I don't like how allowing time for such things to heal creates delays in "the plan."

But every fall is dangerous,
I've made an idol of control and, in doing so, lost it all.

It amazes me how the bruises of life and our desire to keep ourselves from them at any cost results in a continued effort to fix things on our own. Each trip and injury I sustain is dangerous because my pride makes me think I can fix anything that comes my way. And when I can't, I'm miserable, frustrated, and I've lost the most important hope that I have - that of Christ reigning over me.

Supposedly, it's simple - 
This getting up and falling down again.
It would be easier if I weren't so daunted by the distance.

Have you noticed that almost everything we desire seems to be so far off? When I originally penned the lyrics for this song, Chris and I were dating and eagerly waiting to be engaged - at which point we would still be waiting, then just eagerly waiting to be married. 

Waiting! I feel like so much of my life is filled with just longing and waiting to be somewhere else, someone else, and doing something else. 

I find it difficult to trust God for the things that I've always considered "far off." Music is a great example. There have been seasons where God has opened my heart and my time to pour into creating music that I'm still proud of and desire to share with others, but those times have been few and far between. Granted, He has had many things for me in the "rests," the musical pauses between measures, but I've always been daunted by the scale of what I've desired to do with music. It's terrifying in so many ways to me, especially now that I am married and looking to a future in the workforce and eventually (hopefully) having a family - how does music begin to fit into that framework?

But every rise is dangerous - 
I've made a mess of success, taking glory that is not mine.

And, yet, I wonder - am I still not in a position where I can fully give God back the glory that I so easily stole from Him in high school and in college and, heck, recently in thinking that I could do all of this myself? I so easily steal His glory and fail to realize that I have none whatsoever on my own.

How foolish our rises in pride are! How dangerous! I do not understand what I do - Lord God, have mercy on my soul!

I get into the perfect place for Satan to make me utterly useless - that place where I fear doing anything for fear of rising or falling too far from where God desires me to be. That place where I fail to surrender anything at all at the feet of the only One who can fashion all I bring into things of use for the kingdom. So much more often than it is, my prayer needs to (honestly and earnestly) be:

Take this away from me - 
Take this fear of failing, this urge to hold all that's holding me;
Take this need for normalcy, these attempts to grab and keep.
Take this like of being liked, this view that I am holding everything;
Take this mind that believes perfection is right within its reach.

Take this from me.

Are you ever at peace within yourself? I think there have been times that I was, but they (as so many other things) are few and far between. I never know the meaning of "enough" - even if the sufficiency comes from Christ - and that is a problem. I am:

Never satisfied -
Always not quite right;
Never pleased with stumbles;
Afraid of every fumble.

But You're right here and You never steer me wrong.
It is to You that I belong.

I cannot even begin to understand the root concept that I belong to Christ and only Christ. It certainly is not reflected in my daily life as I waddle around in the mire I've created trying to serve too many masters. I too easily forget I can cling to the wonderful and mysterious beauty of the Word made flesh and made an atonement for my every sin. 

That is the Hope of Easter. It is what my soul desperately needs every moment.

[["Take This (Simple)," ©2006 Alyssa Kate Grinstead; All rights reserved.]]

28 April 2011

Burdens & Chaos

If you have been keeping up with our renovation blog (http://mercuryreno.blogspot.com), you will know that our lives have been slightly chaotic for a long time. As the school year comes to end, we find ourselves in an accumulated pile of burdens and chaos that seems to have snowballed over the last few months.

Perhaps the biggest thing is simply that this spring was not anything like Chris or I ever thought it would be. I planned to work toward finishing my thesis. Chris planned to take a long-term sub position and continue to hope for a full time job next year.

We had no intentions of buying/renovating a house.

We had no thoughts of Chris hurting himself in the midst of that process.

We had no concept of what it would look like to have Chris try to work both his own job and the long-term sub job while recovering (twice) from knee things (the initial injury and then surgery eight weeks later).

We had no idea that it would be so hard for me to finish a semester where I haven't made any progress on my thesis whatsoever, can barely keep up with the one seminar I'm taking and the one lab section I'm responsible for.

And yet, as much as I tend toward disappointment and frustration in all of our stalled and delayed and unfulfilled plans for the last few months, I find that I am still attempting to carry this burden all by myself. Didn't Jesus say:
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs on your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. [[Matthew 10:29-31]]
I fail to see worth in myself unless I am fulfilling my self-ordained plans. It is simple to feel the failure when I have not really accomplished what I set out to do with the last few months. It has been a struggle even to see small projects (like the blanket below) get finished when their original purpose is no longer existent or has no use at the current time.

I've struggled with idols in my heart and misconceptions about God and who He is and how He views me like I have never before in the twelve years I've walked with Christ. There have been so many times where I have looked at my life these past few months and wondered if there was any blessing in it.

Don't get me wrong - I know that there is blessing in it and blessing written all over every inch, even if I still don't see all of it. But there are things that I have held so tightly to that they have accumulated upon my back and weighed me down. My relationship with God has been strained as I have struggled to understand what "blessing" and "common grace" and "love" all mean.

And yet, there is one thing that is always the last thing to come to mind - when I need it most of all:
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. [[Matthew 11:28-30]]
 I need rest for my soul. Pray that I find it in the only place it can be found.