Saturday, August 28, 2010

Plagued By Lyrics.

It certainly wouldn't be the first time. And due to my love for music, I'm pretty sure it won't be the last. I wake up with a song in my head, perform daily duties with songs in my head, and lay down at night with a song in my head. It's like my own soundtrack to life. Sometimes they're lighthearted and fun, other times they pull my soul down a melancholy path. The latest lyrical prose to circle my mind? Phil Wickham's "Always Forever" - a beautiful beautiful love song to God. I listened to it the other morning on the way to work. Well, more accurately I sang my heart out to it. Until I got to this line:

"I would lay down my life / Just to be by your side"

My brain stopped dead in it's tracks. I asked myself the question, Would I? Would I reallly lay down my life if it meant being by His side?" I mean sure, if it came down to that. But doesn't it come down to that every day of our lives? Isn't that what we, as believers, are called to every day? We lay down our plans, our hopes, our dreams...every day...for Him. That's weighty stuff. But oh the return! The rest of the song describes what God is to us when we lay down our lives to Him:

"You are the hand that catches my fall
You are the friend that answers my call
You are my day, You are my night
You are my love and all of my life...
You are the grace that covers my sin
You're everything the beginning and end..."

Wow. That's the God we serve.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Think. Pray. Love.

I know, I know. You can't believe I swapped the "eat" part of that for "think." Seems all I write/talk about these days is baking. But, surprise! There's more going on in this little brain than you might think. I am an INTJ after all (a Thinker with a well-developed feeling side, but a strong thinker nonetheless). You know when you're around someone who can't stop talking and you find yourself annoyed to no end? You eventually stop listening and try to think of ways to expedite the end of the exhausting one-way conversation? We've all been there. Well, that was me and my brain on Saturday night.

It all started with a 2+ hour sit through the movie Eat. Pray. Love. I was eager to see this movie (even though I hadn't read the book...shame on me!) because it's one of my faves Julia Roberts (playing Liz) in the role of a woman who travels for a significant amount of time...something I rather connect with. As the movie played out I found myself wanting more - more of Liz' inner thoughts...her processing through the journey...her conclusions afterward...and how they would affect her from that point forward. I also found myself wanting the smells. Sounds funny, ay? Well, that was one thing that struck me in every country I was in. The aroma of different places. The underground tube station in London. The botanic gardens in various cities. The crowded streets of downtown Cebu. The crisp mountain air in New Zealand. It completes the experience. A movie can only portray sights, sounds, and often they can evoke an emotion. But they can't make you smell it. Nope. That's only something you get by being there.

I was also struck by brokenness in the movie. People's brokenness. It was the central theme to just about every character in the movie. It pervades every human heart on this earth, whether we realize it or not. It's a thought I've had several times in the past few weeks and months. I began to pay more attention to that on my journey as I walked the soul-filled streets. I guess being around strangers tunes you in to actions, movements, words, and facial expressions in ways you maybe overlook in people you know well. I recently had a rather significant breakdown moment in my car. I was driving past my old house in TN - a place and time where life and circumstances were vastly different. The weight of the changes came crashing down, resulting in a temporary emotional breakdown of sorts. I tried to pull myself together so I could safely drive away - then a thought hit me. How often do we pull up to someone at a stoplight or pass someone on the Interstate who's experiencing the sadness of brokenness? It's hard to do anything about it when we're all driving in our own little (or big) cars. But what about our coworkers? The cashier at Walmart? The guy who fixes your car? People we interact with daily. Are they carrying around the weight of brokenness? Tragedy, accidents, hurts, healing, fear, anxiety? Do we see it? What can we do about it?

I can't begin to say I've got all the answers to these questions. All I know is that I can't help but pray. I think of Kendall Payne's song "Paper Skin." What truth in those lyrics! How God's heart must break continually for His people. May our eyes be opened to what breaks His heart. May more of His Kingdom come down to earth as we live in Jesus' redemptive love. As we all walk around with paper skin.