Twelve Years

Processed with VSCO with j4 preset

For twelve years the sun has risen
and the sun has set
there have been twelve hot green summers
turned into crisp and colorful autumns,
For twelve years we have gone forward
wanting to be where you have been

My fear, if left unattended
turns into a frigid tightness in my chest
I lay in bed pushing away thoughts of loss,
I can’t bring myself to believe in the false security
of his breath rising and falling next to me
I shut my eyes tight
but I can’t shake the feeling
that all good things are ending
that someday I might wake up
and later that day, have to fall asleep
with out him beside me

My dread, if not bolted down by hope
will come in the form of irritability
will settle in like a blanket of sorrow
an unwelcome uneasiness, lining the thought of tomorrow

My anxiety, turns from a raging ocean
into a steady bay
Sometimes the wind picks up,
but it won’t be long until I’m calm again

I have not been left in the casket of my fear, dread, or anxiety
Just like you have been given more life than I have ever known
the same God that has made you immortal,
removes the sting of death from me

I move through life with the thought of heaven
anchoring my heart and breathing peace into every part of me
If one believes that we don’t go on living,
then what would the purpose of these years, like mist, be?

My fear is not stamped out by worldly remedies,
it is healed by the design of a God who sent a savior to die for me
My dread and dissatisfaction only exist when I lose focus of His
grace and prominence
How humbled I become,
when I acknowledge my quickness to forget
that this world is only a shadow
and He has called me out of denial

I do not want to lose any more of the people that I love,
but how wonderful to rest in the assurance that those who have gone
are not actually lost
The world might label this faith as the loss of freedom
but I would argue to say that this is freedom at the core
to no longer be controlled by my fear of death,
to no longer rot in the depth of my selfishness,
to no longer allow sadness to consume my joy
to live in the liberty of a redeemed existence
followed by life eternal,
where there is no more death
or mourning, crying, or pain

There is no time to be wasted,
no time to hold onto bitterness or self-righteousness,
no time to ignore the way that rust eats and bodies age
There is beauty in everything if we submit,
but there is only pain if we reject
This life is just the in between
the race preparing us for the next

Twelve years are like a fleeting memory in comparison to eternity
twelve years, half of my lifetime at this moment
and I am not guaranteed one more day
Let the fragility of this life lead us to cling to the author of salvation,
let it guide us to love like there is no act of greater importance

The loss of you, revealed the greatest truth:
What is seen is temporary
What is unseen is eternal

 

Reasoning

To live in simple moderation,
to accept what I could have changed
to look away at the sight of dysfunction or demise
to fall asleep to the distraction of a screen and
wake up to the rhythmic habits of my own world
Even in this generic approach,
I cannot deny the intensity of life

The weather rages and the stories never end,
the intricacies of photosynthesis in the trees
and the psychology behind a human mind
the endless combination of words in millions of books
each making a new and unique character
I cannot pretend to grasp the largeness of life

The injustice in our laws,
the contradictions in our nominal faiths
the little lies and snide remarks
in our daily conversations

The traffic, a sight of frustration
the ocean, a glimpse of peace
holiday mornings with their nostalgia
and the disappointment of time gone too fast

The pleasure in symmetry,
the components of anxiety
the fear of sickness and the
longing for death or dreading of dying

We must not stay distracted,
or we will miss the point
everything on earth is a foreshadowing of
what is to come or a consequence of what has happened

We must not settle for what our culture has deemed appropriate,
just a little bit of religion or a lot of distraction
materialism and busyness racing in to hold our attention
good works as our redemption
substances as our prevention of feeling deeply
or our means to stay afloat

Shouldn’t an entire world history
and continued actions of
slavery, genocide, and destruction
lead us to believe
we are innately sinful,
and in desperate need of saving?

We are quick to identify
the terror brought on by others
yet slow to recognize the hate
and conflict in our own hearts
I have a hard time seeing how the
world will change
if we refuse the transformation of our
own hearts, minds, souls

I could resort to nihilism,
fall into cynicism,
live this one life with no thought of the next
I could say that all things go,
avoid confrontation through assimilation
but I would first have to deny the artist who created all good things,
I’d have to choose a gaping void over the deepest satisfaction,
the most clear answer to my endless aching

This is a not so subtle reminder
that moths and rust destroy
life moves quickly and what do we leave when we go,
a legacy of family, distracted and busy?
I look to Christ as my hope
a sure and steady anchor,
a purpose for my soul

But when I look to Him,
I’m confronted and convicted of a reality within
his words are not isolated anecdotes of comfort and peace,
they are like fire, burning and refining
“O for grace to discard all hypocrisy,
and to be found of Him sincere and without rebuke…”
How deep the rest that abides in me,
when I surrender everything
I admit to my ignorance,
welcoming your wholeness in my weakness
I wrestle with the absurdities of life
and even my anger with you
but I won’t bask in distraction,
busyness with no real action
Your words are sharp and cutting,
yet your embrace is so sweet.
There is no explanation for living
if I deny you as my King

Humanity moves forward,
clenching on to the past and vying for the future
I remember the truth that each person has been made
in the image of the god that I believe to be true
I acknowledge the mysteries and long to know more of you,
and I refuse to give this faith only a small part of me,
it is either everything or nothing at all.

“Christianity, if false, is of no importance,
and if true, of infinite importance.
The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.”

quotes by charles spurgeon and c.s. lewis

Still Intact

Let my words be large, let them overflow because my
Dreams are saturated and enlightened and I need to grab
on to something now

The man I love told me that my emotions are compulsive but my actions are methodical,
so let that be true, let me feel deeply but act in patience, in worthy commotion
I want to give, that’s the core of it
he said being selfish is exhausting and
everthing in me agrees

My heart is breaking and simultaneously being repaired,
each moment of realization that she is decaying
and too many things are toxic, and challenging
my heart sinks beneath the surface and succumbs to
hopelessness and then it rips its way back up to the
light again, strapping itself up with encouragement
My God is Greater, my eyes seek Heaven, my soul knows rest

So rolling forward with bandages on wounds, regaining strength with
Each new hope and possibility (solely found within the realm of
believing) I take my thoughts and I marinate them in truth and I speak
them back to myself as best as I can

I spent five days wandering hospital hallways,
I saw the brittleness of reality and the opposition of health,
And then I spent five days on the road, traveling with a dear soul and
I saw the world in ways I never have before
and even in new perspective I can get swallowed up in old trains of thought
and even in virginia mountains, tennessee alleys, and texas deserts
I can see that I am small but the desire to live greatly is embedded deep within me
I know that my sentience is only developed through experience

To live greatly does not mean largely,
no, I do not need more than I have
To live greatly means to live in empathy,
to live with kindness and a capacity to see differently,
to live with flexibility, I have my dreams but I’ll be alright if they
are taken from me
To live greatly is to live selflessly, to stop saying “God make something of me”
and to begin to live in the identity that He has already given me
Free, adored, consecrated, new

I am new each morning because of His redeeming glance towards me,
and how can I avoid speaking about this grace in my poetry?
It is the greatest thing, and with all of this ridding of the unnecessary I am left
with the bare bones of life and my God is the spine

My grandmother has called me her Rock, but I am a small stone
her life has been full and I try to absorb
every sound that echoes from her,
from the spoken memories of her Italian childhood,
to the movements that she makes
when the sun is first rising, and I can hear her slippers shuffling
through the crack of the door of our shared bathroom

Time is fleeting and my small revelations of existing cannot slow it down,
with an aching heart I’ve read love letters of past lives, I’ve watched new
uncertainties develop, I’ve seen injustice rise up like a plague,
I’ve gotten swept away in worry, doubt, and fear
and through all of these things, Time is fleeting

Let my heart break and be repaired, the days will follow as they always do
let my shaky voice settle in the confidence that this place is not our final home
let my prayers be consistent and ever reigning over the temptation to stay discouraged
To live greatly is to live overwhelmed and still intact

When the clouds roll

There are large black crows outside of my window every morning and every evening,
I catch a glimpse of them swooping past out of the corner of my eye
It is strange outside, humid and muggy
the clouds roll over the tree tops and down by their roots
the gravel and bricks have taken on a darker shade
Wet like the sky

My world has been changing lately,
weights lifted and others added on
the responsibility that comes with knowledge has the
ability to sink to the center of me and dwell

Nothing is very certain, not one thought is ever solidified..
and then, I think of you
In every new ideal you give me patience
in every new anxiety you hand over peace

Slow and steady, that’s how I’d rather live
yes quick to be quiet, quick to be kind
but I can do with out the immediacy of a strained life
The nervous tension of expectation will rise before
the contentment of a satisfied heart can settle

Leave me with words, and carefully brewed coffee
leave me with souls and the ease of conversation

Speaking of souls, my social anxiety had a better grip on me before
you, now I can almost approach each circumstance selflessly,
I’ve got everything I need and it seems that notion lightens
the impending judgement that I once felt accurate and overwhelming

My fear of misunderstanding is steadied by your
willingness to understand me, by your stubborn rejection
of allowing a night to end with out resolution
You investigate my mind with tact and endurance,
sifting through surface emotions and wrestling to the core
You give my inadequacy an undeserved second glance,
and come up with words that restore my identity in it’s most
strengthened and beautiful state

When I lift my fingertips to the curves of your face
It is to test if your silhouette is a reality
I’ve felt desperation so deep within me,
this fullness can feel foreign and leave me doubting
but joy in the morning has conquered over my weeping

When the clouds roll and the threat of mundanity
gravitates towards me, I will remember the
way that stillness makes a moment memorable
the way that intentional thinking can
tranquilize the anxiety stirring up within me,

And I will think of you,
and I will resign myself to an assured disposition
that allows these thoughts to be enough for one poem
that allows these thoughts to be enough for right now

In an Effort To Be Productive

The desire to make new things gnaws at my heart when I am not moving,
I try to eliminate the guilt that I feel with distractions, small batches of laundry, and random bouts of cleaning.. so, I stripped my bed of it’s sheets, got the washer running and proceeded to attempt to make some space on “my side” of the closet

The closet that I share with my grandmother, who has become particularly obsessed with her stuff since my pop-pop died. Obsessed, not in the way of clenching photographs or lamenting when she sees furniture from their old bedroom, more so obsessed with unendingly vocalizing that through our moves and the process of building a new home she is missing all of her “Stuff”. This closet is a small representation of how many items are jammed into corners of our living spaces, wrapped up in newspaper, hidden in the dark, only to be found out when someone wrestles through the disorder to open up boxes and find sentimental items mixed with literal trash. I believe she’s formed this relationship with her belongings because it makes her feel she can hold on to the past, she falsely associates the goodness of a life well lived with the culmination of material things.

After throwing away three pairs of my worn out, too-small, or too-big shoes, folding clothes that had slipped from their hangers, and awkwardly setting aside a glass house cradling a frog figurine, a broken violin, and a giant plastic wrapped comforter, I found something different.

Something that did not irritate me, something that had a presence and eeriness to it –
My pop-pop’s toiletry bag sat there solemnly, a slightly oversized red-brown leather rectangle with curved edges and a zipper down the center

It was heavy, a weight that went beyond physicality and laid on my soul
I decided to move forward anyways in my new minimalist fashion – to look at this item with out overwhelm of emotion and solely for what it was – an old bag filled with various items… sticky cough-drop wrappers, expired Tums, an unopened package of floss…
but then there was an oiled shaving brush,
then there was a half used travel shampoo bottle from a beach house we visited many autumns ago,
then there was his cologne – and my sentiment returned in the form of a fiery blanket at the base of my throat and blurring tears behind my eyelids

This stiff leather bag was carried, stuffed, and used by someone I love dearly
and as unnecessary as many of these items were then, and are now
they smell of him, and they make me think of mortality and the fragility of time

My pop-pop was an entrepreneur, a fixer, a joker, a musician, he loved others and was loved by them,
he was stubborn, he was compassionate, he was thankful — always

I remind myself that these personal items, even with all their very real and human characteristics are not what makes my memory and love for him live on

I kept the floss (because I needed some) and a key (which I will eventually discard because I doubt I will be able to find what it unlocks) And for now, I’ll  keep the cologne, because it’s scent will inspire a sticky sadness that allows me to visit lost days then reorients my eyesight on heaven above.

The extent of my minimalism ends at photographs, I cannot bring myself to discard of them.
They are time – frozen, and not just the history of myself or my family but of the entire human existence
We make up the world, so this photograph of my grandparents in July of 1947 does not only exist for them, but also as a representation of that day in the past
which may have held a memory of happiness, or an event that disrupted the hope that we often place in this world when we wrongly identify glimpses of heaven on earth

This desire to rid my surroundings of clutter,
to let go of material things that don’t add value or serve a purpose,
is not solely for a clean area that settles the OCD in me but it’s more so a desire to simultaneously live in the very moment that is happening with respect of the past

To give space for my mind to see beyond things and stuff, and recognize a variety of more important matters –
the importance of being with each other,
the necessity to disconnect from irrelevant occurrences,
to let go of thoughts of past and future and solely be present
of making money not because of the fear of not having enough, but with the intent to use it as a tool to further what is truly deemed invaluable in this life
of spending money with the goal of investing into a larger, more pure notion, not just a temporary satisfier or filler of a hole dug by advertising and inadequacy

– Are you missing those around you because you are missing someone gone? Are you enveloped in comparison instead of creating authentic experiences? Do the things that you own serve a purpose? Is that purpose worthwhile? Or do the things that you own cause conflict, in your household or within yourself? Are the things that you own made well? Or was it at the expense of someone else, someone less fortunate than yourself? Are the things that you own stealing peace of mind and potential creative thoughts? Does the way you make money reflect what you value? Do you need all the money that you make? Are you forfeiting personal contentment for status or justification by those around you? –

We have decided that these questions should be less common then “how are you?” and “enjoying the weather?” for the sake of convenient conversation, but if we really want to know the state of our being and the wellness of those around us, we need to accept that our lifestyles cannot be compartmentalized, it all works together, each thing makes up who we are and the quality of our living

My pop-pop’s toiletry bag could’ve stayed in the closet, could’ve been found by someone else, but In An Effort to Be Productive, I discovered it and developed a train of thoughts that would not have been there before

As I move on in my attempt to rid my life of the unnecessary, I will
remind myself that things are not what make up the personalities of people,
that our accumulation of stuff is not the reason we maintain memory,

That which does not hold purpose, could still hold meaning, but I am meant to be alive now
to be awake now, to be real and true now

The past of my own and the history of my family has made me dimensional,
given me perspective and carried me through time
I desire the validity of my character to be made up by attributes, to escape the distractions and crowded closets, to eternalize memory with out the need for physical items

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,
where moths and rust destroy”

how long will it take

how-long2

Oh, how quickly we whine
at the faintest resemblance of discomfort
when we are inconvenienced or set back

How eagerly dissatisfaction sets in our brow
when we are told we cannot have
What we believe should be ours

And how vastly we believe
that this life was meant for our own taking,
when in actuality we have been given something
Far greater (or less) than what we deserve

How long will it take
to find contentment and
an amiable disposition in the midst of ever-changing
flaws and thorns and circumstance

Uneasiness is rooted deep within me, I won’t be dishonest
the second confrontation surfaces, my insides shake up and
my ideals crack like the autumn leaves on a paved road

I want to fix everything, and everyone around me
What a fool I must be, to ever believe that my own imperfections
will not get in the way

I want to bind up my wounds, and yours
and even when my intentions are good they
rot beneath the speculation of others,
and when I feel my thoughts carving out
craters in my mind in an attempt to uncover some
hidden solution that will smooth out the
knots and gnarls of existence

I come up empty,
always empty on my own

So I’ve gathered up my greatest inquietudes,
I’ve got plenty now but I know there will be even more soon
and I’m giving them to You

To You, I give my pride and my desire to be with out thorns,
my inability to satisfy every echoing demand,
my selfishness in the state of change,
my fears of displeasing and being displeased

Because dismissed anxiety is like a venom, it stores up in my system
and brings on symptoms that I cannot bear

I won’t discount the reality of these
unsettled situations, but I will not reduce the sovereignty
of an all-knowing God in light of my discomposure

Wake up, to the thought that response remains
the primary concern
my response to You when I am:
in pain, uneasy, at a loss for words, helpless, overwhelmed, taken under, sorrowful, dissatisfied, aggravated, distressed, disappointed, angry, or a thousand other things

let my response to You be only
praise, and I know I will fail at this but God
then there is your grace
and I know I will take it for granted but God
then there is your peace
and I know I will be anxious again but God
then there is your hand and you reach out to me
and you are present in all of my responses and lacking
and why in the world did you think of me?

And how long will it take
to recognize the veracity of Your character
and the weakness of my own,
my flaws and thorns and circumstance

How long will it take
for me to loosen my grip on this
idea of perfection found in anything
other than You

You are the only one
to save us from ourselves

patient stanzas

I’m thinking it shouldn’t be this easy,
that you or I should say something wrong
that the morning should turn to afternoon,
and with the evening conflict will come

I’m feeling it shouldn’t be enough,
but I’m left wanting more in the most
satisfied way, like the end of a good song
with the rest of the album to spin, echo and play

I’m hurting and sad most of the time,
but a smile often interrupts my aching body
and breaks my habit of anxiety
when I see you, it’s like a light turns on

I can’t think about my grandfather too much,
I can’t believe he’s really gone
but when I pray to god I see him with her
and I’m overcome with the thought of eternity,
more real than all that’s in front of me

These are simple words for a reminder
that love does not stamp out imperfections
but seeks out goodness past first glance,
that love is patient and thoughtful
and patience is the lack of anxiety in
time of waiting

Patient stanzas for a string of days that
were once ridden with such intense fear of the future,
I’m not so afraid anymore,
not all the time like I used to be,
and it’s easier to daydream now
because I’m more content with this reality

If I start my morning with praises,
end my day with prayers
I can see the goodness that’s waiting
and an abundance that wasn’t meant for
someday but for every new day

Simple words to say I’m tired but I’m not weary,
to believe that nights of stillness can live
among times of agitation
to comprehend that rest is the most
glorious, and contentment comes in the
form of deep exhales and admiration of the clouds

So, when my mind wanders to the familiar sorrows
to the leftover aches, to the visions of those I love weeping
when my nostalgia heats up like a hot glue gun
and my sentiment stumbles over my thoughts
I will try to remember the patient stanzas,
the eager hope and satisfied heart that rests on me now
the light that turns on, the peaces that melts like wax and
maybe then I will welcome the presence of repletion
in both times of drought and the
conclusion of a feast

Sought Out

My voice rings back, as I say that I am for or against
I wonder if my opinion could weigh heavy enough to change another’s mind
It seems impossible, to trust that revelation could come with time

I told you that it feels like another life
With out you, I know joy for what it really is
A sorrowful understanding that the answer does not exist within

I want to stretch out my deepest feelings to reach you,
There is an abundant amount of hopelessness here
and I remember it in the quiet gaps of time that announce
their presence in the movement of air thrown from a ceiling fan

I’m taking these steps in front of me with a fearful
realization that I’m moving further away from you
but it’s true, this movement is long overdue and I am
now seeking out obedience for its redemption and necessity

There’s a newness here, I am believing it to be good
but with change comes a constant voice of uncertainty
Let my voice be small and far away, Let Your voice be
like the clouds that hover over rolling hills and relieve
hot skin from harsh sunlight

I’ve sought out a savior and in you I’ve found,
All that’s behind and ahead is alright somehow
In my moments of anxious thoughts and furrowed brow,
let your voice be clear, let your voice be loud

I’ve sought out a savior and in you I’ve seen,
All that’s above and below is greater than me
In my moments of discontent and guilt feeling,
let your presence be known, let your peace find me

Not a Draft

My own body had to stop me,
time has been moving too quickly
hours feel like minutes, and before I know it they are gone
You are gone now
And it’s odd now

Stepping through reality like a daydream,
there’s too much to be done to just stay here
Guilt keeps coming upon me,
wrapping its uncomfortable presence around me
like a blanket but I’m already too warm

Guilt for not being there, for every moment spent away
when you are mourning I want to lay with you
Hold your hand, hold your heart, hold your head up

I’ve kept myself from writing, because these words should be of you
They should be about loss, about your body when it was here and
lifeless and I saw it and it broke me up
they should be about legacy, and a life lived well
and these words are just letters strung together
they cannot weigh as heavy as my heart, they cannot
contain the tone of your trumpet playing off
of a scratchy cassette in the light of stained glass windows,
lingering throughout that cold church on a hill top in maryland

Now, I’ve come back to these words with more to say
How do I convey the speed of these days, all melting into each other
lines bent like heated clay, I think I am content
but then again, I am sinking beneath the face of
commitment and I’ve got to come up for some air

If it weren’t for you, O God
I would be nothing
Not in the sense that I am now something, or that I am a success at all,
I’m a mess of a human, but if it weren’t for you my soul would be
like a bag of wet sand, gritty and slumped into a
stagnant shape sopping with sorrow and anxiety, but God you have saved me
from myself

I reach out for something to hold on to,
loneliness has always encamped herself around me
forever in my line of sight,
I feel her when driving on the highway
and before falling asleep at night
I feel her when I talk to someone, and I really like
what they have to say, but I know their words will come
to an end, and silence will occupy what once was their space

My grandfather loved me, I saw it in his eyes
his love alone rests on the outer edges of my aching heart
when I awake in the morning,
the leftover feeling of his absence cracks into
a thin film of sentiment and manipulates my
day into a constant glance towards heaven

It’s true, this place isn’t my home
It’s not yours either
so even if I’m always overwhelmed, I know it cannot be forever.

Is this enough for me? Can I at least let go of these stanzas above?
they still do not yet feel quite good enough
I’ll have to allow myself to take more days
and I haven’t forgotten about you, and I won’t forget about you
and I haven’t said enough, but I’ve already said too much

Drenched Again

There are remnants of you
in everything I do
like moisture in a bathtub
dried up only to get drenched again

and you, there are small cracks in my mind
and you pry at them until they become gaping,
welcoming yourself into what was once stable
and satisfied, and before I know it I’m bent out of shape again

curved where there was a right angle,
I had that thought perfectly squared away
but the surrounding of chaotic commitment is like
a siren, warning that all the safe places I’ve
built up will soon become unoccupied
_

Terrible is a word that I think of often,
I like the way it sounds for some odd reason
when I hear that something Terrible is going on
I will say it to myself: “Tare-eh-bul”
and I will bow down at its heftiness
because although I like the way it sounds
I know its weight has unbearable consequence
_

I can claim a grander peace,
and an overwhelming freedom
but what I’m still working on is getting
you, and you, and that and this
gone from my head and replaced with silence

I crave the quiet, the way it melts into a tangible
presence in between the bones in my head
Not the quiet that lets my thoughts ring louder
but the quiet that gently crawls right underneath your
cheekbones and beneath the bridge of your nose
To let a stillness raise a calm cure to the anxious
_

So, tell me of the house you grew up in
so I know that I won’t forget mine
Read the last words someone sent to you aloud
so I know that we’re not all wandering in a mirage of people
Write to me the way the scent of the morning smelled
so I can remember what it was like
to wake early and live forwardly

Caught in motion, solely to realize I’ve never stopped,
times of ultimate surrender happen on a daily basis
so can I claim that I have surrendered at all?
Continually letting go of claims that I swore
I dismissed and one day I will sit in the quiet
and I will remember the noise, and maybe I’ll think
fondly of the times that you, and you
And this and that were on my mind and
my soul stretches across thin paper and
sopping bathtubs,
only to be dried up and then drenched again

drenched
drenched-flip

In the light

I am often entirely caught up in the present anticipation of the next moment,
signaling my emotions, intentionally letting my heart get a head start on what is to come
this idea of preparation started the second I realized my body
was capable of losing control of it’s breath.

There is something disheartening about anxiety,
actually everything about consistent fret and oncoming doom
can shake any mark of confidence from your being
If I allow my identity to be built up of
weaknesses, I will inherently be made weak

This is factual, this is brick and mortar,
this is tangible and real-life
This is truth and transparency,
it’s a constant conflict to stay at peace
or feel an ounce of it at all

To take this concept of pressure,
that often overruns my existence,
and to label it as ‘manageable’
can render me defeated

Oh, how I am a mess
my heart fails at the sight of hardship
my tongue sets flame to destruction and
my mind lets chaos reign
left alone, I am broken up
and fearful – pitiful and desperate,
selfish, jealous, and insecure
condemning, bitter, and impure

In the light, I can see this great decision
to be made, and oh how I am grateful
for the opportunity to choose,
even when it’s unbearable, I can still choose
I can choose to rest in an undeniable truth
I can let my best intentions, my greatest strivings
and ambitions dissipate and in my weakness
I am given peace, but only in the moments
where I adopt gratitude over grieving
where I pick up song instead of sorrow

And in the moments where I fail to be in the light,
I am then given insurmountable grace
The defeat that once left me immobile
has been transposed into chance for
redemption and newness

So let my days be made up of
a continual act of letting go,
for everything I hold onto
shakes itself into solicitude

Let my heart be one of
gratitude, let grace be all that is left

Time is too quick to
be made up of anxious preparation,
to be solely an existing essence of regret,
sorrow and past experience

Let my heart know rest,
Let my heart know rest

Do not fret— it only causes harm. —Psalm 37.8

Fretting means getting ourselves “out of joint” mentally or spiritually. It is one thing to say, “Do not fret,” but something very different to have such a nature that you find yourself unable to fret. It’s easy to say, “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him” (Psalm 37.7) until our own little world is turned upside down and we are forced to live in confusion and agony like so many other people. Is it possible to “rest in the Lord” then? If this “Do not” doesn’t work there, then it will not work anywhere. This “Do not” must work during our days of difficulty and uncertainty, as well as our peaceful days, or it will never work. And if it will not work in your particular case, it will not work for anyone else. Resting in the Lord is not dependent on your external circumstances at all, but on your relationship with God Himself.

Worrying always results in sin. We tend to think that a little anxiety and worry are simply an indication of how wise we really are, yet it is actually a much better indication of just how wicked we are. Fretting rises from our determination to have our own way. Our Lord never worried and was never anxious, because His purpose was never to accomplish His own plans but to fulfill God’s plans. Fretting is wickedness for a child of God.

Have you been propping up that foolish soul of yours with the idea that your circumstances are too much for God to handle? Set all your opinions and speculations aside and “abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 9.11). Deliberately tell God that you will not fret about whatever concerns you. All our fretting and worrying is caused by planning without God.

Oswald Chambers | My Utmost For His Highest