Untitled, March 25, 2021

I fear you are a disappointed Father,
For I am just an ever-failing son.
My life should be a blessing, not a bother.
I should be held together, not undone.

O Lord, correct my misconceptions of you
And all my misconceptions of myself.
Help me to truly know you and to love you
And in so doing know and love myself.


Photo by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash

I remember feeling off the morning I originally posted this poem. I went for a run to try to shake the feeling, but it wouldn’t fade. I thought I needed to take the poem down, so I did, then I didn’t post on the blog again until July 22, 2022, over a year later.

Shortly after I started posting again, I started thinking about finding this poem and sharing it. Now that I know it was OCD leading me to take it down initially, I feel free to share it. And as I read it now, I see two things of interest. First, I see a snapshot of my mind and heart in the early stages of an OCD flareup. I’d already hurt and confused some friends, and I was struggling to make sense of life in the midst of a difficult and busy season. While this was not written during the worst of my experiences, the first stanza here captures my thoughts and feelings during the struggle pretty well.

Second, I see a prayer that I believe God has answered, one that he’s continuing to answer as I continue to learn and grow in my walk with him. While things would get worse before they got better, God used the journey to reveal some underlying issues that needed to be addressed. He was at work through the entire season, and through the processing and work done with a mentor, he’s taught me more about himself and about myself. I believe I now can recognize many of the misconceptions about God and about myself that I lived with for years, and I now believe I can better know and love him and myself. I think God’s answered this prayer in ways I couldn’t have imagined when I wrote it.

When I read this poem, I see evidence of God’s grace. He saw me at my worst. He heard my prayer. He delivered me. This is the story told by all who know him, the story presented in the Bible and echoing on for all eternity. The Lord saves. Blessed be his name.

I hide behind snooze buttons and busyness

I hide behind snooze buttons and busyness,
excuses to avoid you,
for fear of what you require of me:
everything.
Heart, soul, mind, strength,
passion, purpose, understanding, ability—
all of me,
myself in sum,
denied.
I know my life depends upon surrender,
so help my unbelief
until I sit
and listen
and obey.


Photo by jules a. on Unsplash

This poem was inspired, at least in part, by C. S. Lewis’s sermon “A Slip of the Tongue,” wherein he considers our hesitancy to draw too near to God for fear of what he may require of us, for we know that he requires complete surrender.

Confession

Confession: I wish you would do my will,
For I would rather not surrender all.
I would prefer more say in what you call
Me to within your kingdom. Only kill
Those parts of me with which I wish to part.
Pick from the list I curate, then begin
To excise only my unwanted sin,
But leave the rest lest you disturb my heart.

O weak desire, false freedom, foolish dream.
Such service would be fiction, for the throne
Would be yours in name only. Lord, remove
Me from my central focus and redeem
All places where my heart is still like stone.
In grace and mercy, pardon and reprove.


Photo by Kristaps Ungurs on Unsplash

Idols

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Little children, keep yourselves from idols,
Works of our own hands. Voices–our voices–
Call us to cast off all righteous bridles,
Chastise us for limiting our choices.
Choose you then this day your lord, your master.
Choose the voice you trust above all others.
Choose the path to life, avoid disaster.
Heed the voice of reason, sisters, brothers.
Learn distrust of self, for self is often
Led astray by varied vices. Passions
Harden hearts to truth. Consciences soften,
Filled with fleshly fears and fleeting fashions.
Build upon the only sure foundation.
Idols only lead you to starvation.


Photo by Alexandre Chambon on Unsplash

Comparison

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Compare at your own peril, for your life
Will never measure up to what you see
In others. You will only grow in strife.
You build a prison cell though you are free.
When we compare, we only see in part.
We view another’s gain where we have naught.
We note the diff’rences but miss the art
Of walking in the Way the master taught.
O faulty vision, warped by my desire,
Look not to other men but to the Lord.
Comparison would be to me a fire,
And its destruction I cannot afford.
So fight, my soul, temptations to compare
Or else resign to living in despair.


Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash