Tag Archives: on my heart

an open letter to God.

I hate that my heart’s grown numb to You. And maybe the fact that I even can hate means my heart is not quite as numb as I think it is. Perhaps this perceived lack of feeling isn’t quite something to be so dramatic about as I can still feel hate for the gratitude and things I seem not to feel. But if I feel that hate and little to no love for what this condition may mean, then is my heart healthy or sick? Is it possibly both? How could that be possible? It’s not. So it’s either one or the other and I wonder which it is, but even if I were to answer for myself I would wonder whether I speak the truth or speak what I wish to be the truth.

And this is where I should be able to just sit and listen to You or observe the opportunities You place before me as where you either see me fit or see I need growth. I should be. But my heart is so numb that I notice these things and don’t think anything of it. I scarcely look at all these things anymore and say “Lord, thank You for letting me know what you see in me, growth and need for growth alike.” And that’s the part I hate.

So it seems that the hate for this condition of mine is warranted or righteous. Yet this is where I begin to wonder whether I’m doing enough about it– am I allowing it to sit and fester like dirt in an open wound, or am I at least attempting to pour the rubbing alcohol over it despite the searing pain of its cleaning? Do I bite my lip? Do I cry out? Do I mutter or yell out curses from the same lips that claim to praise You? I hate that any one of these could be answered with a ‘yes.’ How does fresh water come from a salt water spring? it can’t. So I often wonder whether or not my praises are then valid and pure enough to be worthy of You.

Truth is, I don’t know how I’m doing. It doesn’t seem to help that every door is getting slammed shut in my face and all I can think is either what am I doing wrong? or why am I not enough? It makes it hard to believe that You’re really there or that you care– but believe I still do.

I guess sometimes all You’re asking of me is to survive. As long as you allow it, my life simply means that your grace, your patience, and your kindness hasn’t run out on me.

So I guess I should be asking myself why am I letting my own grace and patience and kindness run out on myself? any of that which is mine came from You, and yours never runs out– why do I deplete my own supply when you’re right there?

Lord, I know you’re not a feeling, but I just don’t want to feel numb to you.

lord, I know it won’t always be easy to believe in you or your promises, but help my unbelief.

Lord, I know that by my own power my imposter syndrome is right, but it’s Yours I want to draw from and rely on. By your scars I am healed. By your blood, I am purified.

so help me God, please.

What do you go by?

Something that’s been on my heart a lot lately is the simple thought that God doesn’t see you by your sin or the things you’ve done wrong. He got up on that cross and died for you by name, He rose again on the third day for you by name, and He has gone to prepare a place for each one of us by name that accept and live by His unending grace. He is coming back soon to call us home by name.

So I guess the question I have for you to think about is this: what is the name you go by?

At some points in my life, I called myself the loner because regardless of whether or not I had friends around, it often felt like I was there just to fill the space. I still have my moments, but moments are not the whole picture. I know that now.

There were some points where I just considered myself a disappointment. I let myself down on promises I made to myself often. I forget things a lot when my mom gives me a list of things to do. Even in moments when I had told someone a friend’s secret for the sake of my friend’s safety I used to consider myself a disappointment to my friend because I’d betrayed their confidence, regardless of the reasons.

Sometimes I felt defenseless or like a victim more than anything, for a number of reasons that some of my past creative pieces outline.

I could go on with the names I used to go by, but ultimately none of those names I give myself matter. None of those were the name that Jesus called me by, though He considered what I called myself in how He called me. He never compromised the identity I was born with, and nor should we when approaching others, but He used the identity I once held to show me just a fraction of the great magnitude of His grace.

I mean think about it, Paul was once the greatest persecutor of Christians, but in every letter he wrote in the New Testament, he introduces himself as a servant of, an apostle of, or a prisoner for Christ, and in a couple of those openings his pupil and friend, Timothy, is included as such. Simon Peter was a fisherman and a gambler, but in both of his letters included in the New Testament he calls himself an apostle, and in 2 Peter he adds that he is a servant of Jesus Christ. When we accept Christ as our Lord and savior, we are dying to ourselves– the identity we held before is no more and we are made new through the power of Jesus’s blood. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away, behold, the new has come.” This is echoed from Isaiah 43:19, “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

Paul continues to build on this idea of becoming a new creation in Christ in Philippians 3 as well, but I think before quoting this it’s important to say that even when we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior we are not yet perfect– on this side of heaven we are consenting to the process of sanctification. We are committing to not only resting in God and His promises and trusting that His work is enough to make us perfect come Judgement Day, but we are also considering that He doesn’t keep us from the fiery furnace– He walks in there with us. Philippians 3:12-16 says this:

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.”

So while in this very moment we are not perfect, the Word tells us of God’s promise to wash us clean of our sins (Isaiah 1:18) and to create in us clean hearts (Psalm 51:10), the work is as good as done. What God says will happen, will come to fruition. What God says will happen is as good as done.

God shows this in a myriad of ways, but I want to go back to Daniel for a moment, before Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego walk into the fire. King Nebuchadnezzar ordered the furnace be heated to seven times its normal heat, which was so hot that even the guards outside the door that threw the three into the fire died. The significance? Seven days of creation, opening line of Genesis is seven words, symbolic of fullness or completion. In that opening line of Genesis, the middle of those seven words in the original Hebrew is two letters– alpha and taw– which are the beginning and end of the Hebrew alphabet.

In other words, when God is at the core of who we are, what we do, how we live… there is nothing that can stop His power that is living in you. Culture changes. We change. Things and people come and go. But one thing is sure, as it’s said in Isaiah and quoted in 1 Peter:

A voice says, “Cry out.”
    And I said, “What shall I cry?”

“All people are like grass,
    and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field.

The grass withers and the flowers fall,
    because the breath of the Lord blows on them.
    Surely the people are grass.

The grass withers and the flowers fall,
    but the word of our God endures forever.”

Isaiah 40:6-8

And while we are in the exile that is this life on this earth, Peter points out that we should be conducting ourselves in a way that shows gratitude for the payment of the debt we could not pay. The payment that, when we place full faith in Jesus, makes us righteous before the perfect, holy, and just God. The payment that makes us adopted sons and daughters of the Most High God.

So I ask again, what do you go by? The changing states of mind, past traumas, or other struggles you deal with (not that those are any less valid hurdles in life)? Or do you call yourself a servant of God, a child of God, and someone that– however undeserving– God calls beloved?

that quote that bugs me from Penn Jillette because he’s not wrong about it either.

I think I already mentioned that laminin is going to be difficult to finish before it’s due. That said, I think most of it should make enough sense and enough of a point to say that it’s finished enough. I’m not planning to rush to finish this though, so I’ll continue working on it probably for some time after this even.

I think the only major hiccup I have for that is publishing my piece from Twine so it has a live link. I tried using the link my browser gives me when I click “test from here,” but if I open it on any other browser or device, it doesn’t work. It will simply lead users to create something on Twine themselves. I’ll probably figure this out by asking one of my swimmers after practice tonight, but if anyone has suggestions on how to do that, I’d really appreciate it.

Other than that, there are still so many testimonies that I’m prepared to add to this, and so much more from the Bible to add too (as that really is meant to be the center of the piece anyway). And I know there may be people that read those Bible passages and might not get it, or maybe some will roll their eyes because they’ve been hurt by Christians. I get that. I used to do the same thing, and I know a few people in my life right now that continue to do that too. But here’s the thing– it bothered me when I first heard this quote, and it bothers me now even more that I do believe:

I’ve always said that I don’t respect people who don’t proselytize. I don’t respect that at all. If you believe that there’s a heaven and a hell, and people could be going to hell or not getting eternal life, and you think that it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward—and atheists who think people shouldn’t proselytize and who say just leave me along and keep your religion to yourself—how much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?

“I mean, if I believed, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that a truck was coming at you, and you didn’t believe that truck was bearing down on you, there is a certain point where I tackle you. And this is more important than that.

Penn Jillette (from Penn & Teller)

While I have no intention of shoving my beliefs down someone’s throat (which is how most people get hurt by the Church), I wouldn’t be loving people if I didn’t at least tell them about the God I know to be real, true, loving, just, merciful, faithful, and kind, among many other things. Is it awkward sometimes? Yes. But in a world where everything is broken in its own way, having the One thing that keeps us whole is going to be uncomfortable, it’s going to make you stand out, and it’s going to hurt sometimes. But He still holds us together. I mean that’s the whole point behind this piece and that’s why I’m in no rush to get it 100% finished (and just to finish it well enough to hand in).

That’s also why I named this piece laminin. I wouldn’t doubt there have been times in other people’s lives, as there have been in mine, where it felt like God was allowing everything to fall apart. And maybe on the surface He was– though He doesn’t cause things to fall apart (that’s just what the broken nature of this world does), He allows it for a bigger purpose than we often might see. But deep down, He was still holding us together through those times. How?

Laminin is a glycoprotein that essentially holds the cells of our bodies together. Is it a coincidence that it’s in the shape of a cross? Is it a coincidence that the cross, as Rome had ‘perfected’ it until Constantine I abolished its use, used to be a symbol of the most excruciating, humiliating, shameful, and gruesome deaths that one could experience? Is it a coincidence that this symbol now also represents new life to how many millions of people around the world, that it’s a symbol of life so strong that many of those people are continuously being persecuted to the point of death?

And I want to bring that back to the point I made with that quote from Penn Jillette for just a moment. It’s not as common (though also not completely unheard of) in America that Christians are persecuted to such a point. While I’ve seen and heard such threats, Pastor Russell Johnson at the Pursuit NW being one of them, I’m also hearing much more from even people within my own church that are afraid to make things awkward or to lose friends due to sharing their faith. But first off, are they really your friend if they don’t hear you out and still love you as a human being, even if your beliefs are a bit different? Also, were you really their friend if you don’t love them enough to care about their eternity? And finally, if God isn’t enough for you, then what is? God is the one and only thing that will never fail or break or forsake you, so if He isn’t enough… what is?

And that’s the other point I’m starting to build on within this piece– Christians should be bold. There is no greater love we can give than to lovingly share the Gospel and spread the good news of God. I’m hoping this will be an encouragement to people in the faith that are scared to be bold because I get it. My social anxiety has been crippling at times. My trauma and certain triggers have forced me out of otherwise fun things or things where God was moving. But God. Do I still feel the anxiety or get bothered by certain triggers and stuff? Yes. That doesn’t usually just disappear. God can, but I’ve found that my anxiety has been that thorn in my side, as Paul wrote somewhere in the New Testament, that reminds me to rely on Him when I need it most. And when I do rely on Him more, it gets easier to move through, even if the circumstances don’t necessarily change. I don’t have to retreat from social or triggering situations because there’s no safer place than where God calls you to be. And I’m hoping that laminin will be that encouragement to Christians too.