Just Stay

You don’t have to be perfect
You don’t have to have your life all together
You don’t have to be rich
You don’t have to have the best job

You don’t have to be [insert everything you think you have to be here]

Just stay
Just show me your love
Just be kind
Just accept the inner me
Just be content with who you are
Just hold me when I cry
Just be forgiving
Just fight to uphold good
Just be honorable
Just trust me with your inner self
Just protect

You don’t have to be perfect
Just be the man I know you already are
And just stay

Five Minute Friday: Reflect

“On Friday’s we silence the inner critic. The loudest of all naysayers. And on Fridays we remind ourselves that The Word is for us and loves us and welcomes us.” I must confess, I broke the rules this time; this took me much longer than five minutes to write.

“Who are you?” This is one of the oldest questions in the universe, one that is asked on a daily basis.  People ask this of other people, as when meeting an unfamiliar person, but people also ask it of themselves.  Answering this question is the primary concern of youth, but I do not think this question is every fully answered.  I’m not saying that people must live their entirely lives lost with no sense of identity, but I am saying that people are constantly growing.  “Who are you?” is not a question that can be answered simply, for people are complex beings with nothing simple about them.  Who you are as a child is different from who you are as an adolescent is different from a young person is different from a middle-aged person is different from an elderly person.  And this is a good thing.  This growth of who we are prevents stagnation – and everyone knows what happens to stagnant water.

One part of social media I have always loathed is the tiny box on the profile page with the prompt: “Who are you?” Who am I? You want me to tell you in that tiny box who I am? This is impossible.  I am a woman who has hurt and been hurt by others. I have made mistakes and corrections. I am known to the King of the Universe, but unknown to the king of the land.  I am a force of nature that can be stilled by a single, well placed word. I am a reader and movie watcher and tv show watcher and video game player. I am a fan and a girl and occasionally a fangirl.  I am– I could continue this for days and still have only barley scratched the surface of explaining who I am, and you want me to sum this up in your tiny little box? Even if I could manage to find a simple explanation of a complex being, the moment I find the words, they become inaccurate, for in that moment I have increased my self-awareness and grown as a person.

The complexity of the question does not negate its importance; on the contrary, its importance is compounded by its complexity.  This question is worth grappling with for an entire lifetime, for when we begin to grasp how complex we are as individuals, we can then begin to think of others as complex beings, too.

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Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel

It’s Christmas time again, which means that my favorite musical artists are singing songs I grew up singing in Church. Songs like “Oh, Come, Oh, Come, Emmanuel.” (Click here for an incredible piano/violin instrumental version of the song.) Sometimes, though, we sing a song so many times that we forget the meaning behind the words we’re singing. We’re just singing on autopilot, with our brains engaging other thoughts.  What does this hauntingly beautiful song I secretly sing all year actually mean?

Oh, come, oh, come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, our Wisdom from on high,
Who ordered all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
and teach us in her ways to go.

Oh, come, oh, come, our Lord of might,
Who to your tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times gave holy law,
In cloud and majesty and awe.

Oh, come O Rod of Jesse’s stem,
From ev’ry foe deliver them
That trust your mighty pow’r to save;
Bring them in vict’ry through the grave.

Oh, come, O Key of David, come,
And open wide our heav’nly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.

Oh, come, our Dayspring from on high,
And cheer us by your drawing nigh,
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.

Oh, come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Oh, bid our sad divisions cease,
And be yourself our King of Peace.

This song is so much more than a Christmas song – it’s a prayer to God.  Actually, when you begin to break this song’s meaning down, it’s not really a Christmas song at all.  This song is asking God for deliverance, for wisdom, for manifestation, for victory, for exodus, for encouragement, and for unity.  Between each request is repeated the reminder that no matter our circumstances we should still rejoice, for we know that God With Us  is going to come through.  This song is a song of hope, of expectation, and of supplication.  

What ties this song to Christmas is that Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection is that makes answered prayers possible.  Without Christ and His great love and sacrifice for us, we could not approach God, for without Christ there can be no forgiveness of sins.  But because of Christ we can approach God with boldness and present our needs to him.  Think about it: The maker of the universe and everything in it wants to hear what is going on in your life, and he wants to provide you with every good thing.  That is the hope of Christmas! We can gain salvation and an audience with the Father because of the gift of the Son.