(this sounds so familiar)
Here I am again. It’s like jesus throws cold water on my face and wakes me up for one second and I see things clearly-did you know hell is real? People will go there.
WTF I’m planning on releasing a SAFE record?! No way! What is wrong with me, I always fall back into the slow numbing, ok lets write average songs that will have a piece of truth in them and it will be a good filler track. WHAT WAS THE POINT? I thought that by now, surely by now, I’d be living a life of love, totally abandoned to God. I’ll be thirty soon, what will I be like then? Will I really be this same thing who is holding back?
Yes, here is the truth God: I AM HOLDING BACK!! By the time I’m thirty it’s practically over, ill be dead soon and my youthful zeal will not be natural anymore. Oh to believe what the Bible says! No one is telling me anything, I have to piece it all together myself, this picture of what a real Christian looks like.
Here is where I am: I love God and want to know him more, we have something very special and personal. My heart breaks for social injustice and I give money. I cringe whenever I hug the same girl at youth group five times in a row. I am much more obsessed with a musical career then Jesus. I am much more obsessed with my fiance then Jesus. Why do I think I will grow into radicalism, that it will be a natural Next Step some day? I’m wondering if its not at all this organic thing that comes after I’ve "matured with the Lord", but what if it’s something I do, like writing a song. Just take my foot in front of my other one and take a step. Oh my gosh the regret I would feel if I really released an album on a national record label that was Fluff and everyone just loved it. Oh my gosh. The thought is nauseating.
So, the pattern is, I will numb down again, because this is what always happens. How do I stay awake? Doesn’t this sound familiar to you dear reader?
I will ask myself this tomorrow, a year from now, when i do reach the dreaded Thirty: Where are you now? Are you more radical then I am now?
You better be, Ariel. You freaking better be.
Maybe I'll make a list. 2-13-10
I read a brief story today that got me thinking. In hopes it may cause a similar reaction in your head, I will share it with you.
In 1965, a woman named Caroline was stabbed for thirty five minutes straight until she died. This took place outside, in her neighborhood. If you were to catch a glimpse of your neighbor being stabbed to death, what would you do? You would probably would notice the violent act from behind your curtains and in panic call the police. It wouldn’t make you a superhero but it would be a pretty reasonable response to such a gruesome act taking place in the front yard, right? Well, here’s what really happened: A few of her neighbors came outside and watched. Within that 35 minutes, a gathering of 38 of Caroline’s neighbors were surrounding the scene, watching her being stabbed to death. It was later revealed that nobody did anything to help because nobody was doing anything to help; everyone thought someone should do something and nobody thought they were that someone.
For some reason, this sounds very familiar to me. There are so many times I learn some new and disturbing piece of information that inspires me to want to help, and the next moment I find myself thinking “I obviously don’t know the whole story, if there was something to do then somebody would have done it by now.” My ignorance is my safety; by not knowing all there is to know I can come up with a million reasons why I cant do anything. I figure that someone has probably to tried to help before and they just ended up burned out and bitter, I reason that there is someone better for the job and I shouldn’t get distracted from what I’M called to do.
What am I called to do? I remember the first time I realized that I had two hands and those hands could work and make a positive contribution to someone else. I think sometimes I am so focused on wanting to work smart that I forget that sometimes the only work that there is is hard work, and my fear of there being a better way of doing something shouldn’t stop me from doing something in the first place.
What can i do. Maybe I'll make a list. Lists save worlds don't they?
I am a musician in a band and at every nice little venue we have the pleasure of playing, we sing really cool songs and sell super cute fitted tee shirts. We remind you of our myspace page and how much we want to keep in touch so that next time you’re in town we can let you know. So then you can come to our next show and hear some more cool songs and we can leave that night feeling like we have so many fans and are really living out our calling and with a few more years of hard work and passion, we’ll probably Arrive and I’ll finally get to be on the cover of Rolling Stone. And then we’ll get to play arenas and we’ll feel super cool and our mothers will be proud and we’ll show the world how awesome we are.
And then a few years later the next big thing will come along and we’ll be too old to compete and we’ll throw in the towel and everybody will forget about us. We’ll die and we’ll stand before our Maker and he’ll say, “What did you do with the talents I designed especially for you?” I’ll tell him, “Daddy, you’d be so proud, we had two platinum albums and great radio play and we got to tour with Linkin Park and I sang good songs that encouraged people to look for more in life. I was always nice at meet and greets and was a good example in the press.” And He’ll be like, “What…?”
I want to be a freaking revolution. I want to ruffle feathers. I want to burn with holiness. I want to offend society by my existence. I want my hands to heal and cast out demons. I want to die a lover of God, going closer then anyone has dared. I want to totally throw away my life for others, spending myself on people that will never have a chance to thank me. I used to think God had made to be an example for the youth of America; all the kids would think I was cool and then they’d want to follow my example. Um….of what, being cool? Who am I kidding? I’m starting to think this Cool thing is a total stumbling block to get over and then the real fun begins. We have to be willing to waste our cool on people who won’t care! I bet the starving kids in Cambodia could care less about my super awesome pink hair- they would want my love, they would want food.
So what can I do? I think the fact that I’m questioning the way I’m doing things is bound to lead to some sort of results, to some new and better way of doing things. I just don’t think Jesus would do it this way, and I want to keep searching....
I have never felt so awake in my entire life. I feel like my heart is on fire, and I am thrilled to be burning about something for once. My excitement is offset by the fact that this is not normal for me and I know I am experiencing a rare, strange, delightful thing.
To provide some perspective, I spend almost every minute of my life wide asleep. I am a walking billboard for the numbed-out, over saturated heart that is so ridiculously common in this life. I want to pretend this is a new thing in our culture, that the exposure to too much violence on our TVs and too many preservatives in our cereals has led to a generation of completely unaware, soulless individuals. But I’m willing to bet that’s not the case. I bet the majority of mankind has always been a walking dead..….I wake up every morning with good intentions on how I’m going to save the world., and I go to sleep each night feeling burned out and a whole lot of guilt, because, yet again, I did nothing. Every once in a great while I’ll feel a spark inside, like for one second reality finally got turned up loud enough for me to hear. And in that split-second I want more then anything to listen, I want to embrace the fact that the world is dying and I am doing nothing. And I want to change.
And then the next moment I will remember I have band practice to get to and dishes to do, and I snap back into my comfortable, safe “reality” I so carefully created to ensure that I function as a happy, normal member of society.
But the problem is, I am not happy today. And I’m growing really uncomfortable. I have times where I wonder if maybe I’m supposed to actually do something with those rare glimpses of reality, if maybe I have some sort of role in changing things. This leads me to where I am today. I have felt awake and aware for nearly two full days. My head is spinning at lightning speed with all the thoughts my heart is throwing at it. And I’m starting to hope that maybe I will be one of the lucky ones that can outsmart my selfishness and stay awake this time. I am excited at the thought of wasting a perfectly good human such as myself on people that will never thank me, and living a life of love for others at times where I will not be recognized for it. I am seriously ready to throw in the towel on the American lifestyle and just call it quits on anything resembling comfortable. People would think it a waste. People would probably think it strange. People would definitely think it unnecessary. But I’m beginning to realize the loss of status, friends, money, fun will be worth actually being happy and not feeling guilty. Yes, I am sure: I would rather live my life getting dirty and losing sleep and living like Jesus then dying a fat, rich, old lady whose sole accomplishment was raising some nice kids that perhaps could do something about the mess in the world. I have hands, I have a heart, I want to burn.
But…I don’t know what to do. I feel helpless. I am embarrassed by how uninformed I am about current affairs, and ashamed to admit I don’t have much money left from my paycheck because I’m making payments on my sweet new laptop. So what can I do? I can’t keep doing nothing. But I am afraid I will do something, and it will be the wrong thing, that I will give my money to an organization that’s a fraud, or I’ll show up to help at my local soup kitchen and there will be plenty of volunteers and I won’t be needed. What if I blow it, what if I’m misinterpreting verses like John 12:25 that say the girl who loves her life will lose it, while the girl who hates her life in this world will keep it for eternal life? Honestly, at this point I think I’d rather do the wrong thing with intentions of obeying God then keep doing nothing.
Like, take this: There are little girls in places as far as Africa and as close as your hometown that have to have sex with strangers several times a day. You think “Oh yes. Human trafficking, I’ve heard of that. That really sucks.” There are little seven year old girls that have had their little organs totally damaged by multiple grown men everyday. These girls are often drugged up if they refuse to “perform” and men pay a higher price to rape them because they are considered more valuable. These girls live where they work and have no home to escape to, no place where they can clear their heads and be kids for a while. And yet I freak out if I don’t get an hour to myself to mess around on myspace or something.
This does something to me. I don’t know how to put it; there is something messed up about me that I can continue to live everyday life and give this nearly no thought. God’s heart is burning with the injustice of it all, and I want to let mine do the same. I think I might be advocating it by allowing it. Like everyone else I’ve talked to, I have no idea what to do, but I will pray and God will act because he will tell me what to do and I will act. It’s possible that I can live without some new Dr Martens this year and give my money to help this. It’s possible I can forgo watching The Office this Thursday and spend time in prayer for these girls and their torturers, or researching different organizations that are doing something. And it’s possible I can forget about getting signed and spend shows sharing God’s heart to the youth of the Midwest. I’ll let you know if I have the guts to keep burning and I’ll let you know how that goes.