When I’m Silent

when I'm silent

When I’m silent, don’t think that I don’t care.

Many times I keep quiet because I care so much.

I know that words, once spoken, can not be taken back.

And they matter: words can hurt or heal, sometimes both.

I don’t take this lightly.

 

When I’m silent, sometimes it’s because the story isn’t mine to tell.

Our stories are important, and I believe

That we each should have the space to tell our own truths,

Without stolen thunder, or words out of turn.

So I wait quietly.

 

When I’m silent, it’s because I’m made of simple clay

An earthen vessel, prone to imperfection

And I know – not every opinion needs to be aired

Nor every thought spoken.

Wisdom earned the hard way.

 

When I’m silent, don’t think I’m being weak

Or that I will never speak, because I will

When the time is right, when the words are ripe, when the story’s mine

I won’t hold back. And you may at that time wish

That I were silent.

The Song That Sets Me Free

the song that sets me free

Have you ever felt caged? I have.

Honestly, it’s a familiar feeling to me. I’ve felt caged by commitments, by expectations (mine and others) and by circumstances. The two “cages” I’ve struggled with most frequently are anxiety and depression, and sometimes they’ve felt familiar enough to me that they almost feel like home.

That’s the problem with cages.

Sure, they are restricting. But there’s also an element of safety they provide. So the financial lack is frustrating, but there’s also less risk of making BIG financial mistakes. Expectations might feel constricting, but there’s security in knowing where the boundaries lie. Depression and anxiety feel awful, but there’s also a lot of comfort in feelings that feel so real.

We protect our cages too.

Cages make the world feel safer, more manageable. So we stay in toxic relationships, because the ugly reality feels safer than the great unknown. We risk little and accomplish less, because it’s more manageable than risking (and quite possibly failing) big. We lean towards smaller goals and dreams we can accomplish in our own strength. We make ourselves at home in situations that aren’t right and don’t fit, because the shoes still have some wear in them, and surely the blisters are here to teach us something.

But we were never meant to be caged.

Look at the tiger in the zoo, relentlessly pacing. Sure, it’s safer than the wild. But that’s not freedom.

Look at the man trapped in the daily grind, who knows he was born for something different, but feels it’s too big of a risk to try. There’s safety in security. But that’s not freedom.

Look at the girl who has lost herself in the relationship, who longs for her own voice and wings to fly. It’s so easy to find your identity in the role you play. But that’s not freedom.

Freedom is finding your identity outside of the cage.

Is that why the tiger paces? Why the caged bird still sings? Why we feel such discontent in a life that’s good, but not great? Why it hurts so much to give credence to our dreams?

We too were born for more than this.

I was born for more than this. You were born for more than this. We were born for a great and marvelous destiny, to be more than conquerors, world-changers… Image bearers of the Most High.

And the day we realize this is the day our freedom starts.

The day you realize that you were meant for more than this is the day the prison walls start to rattle. The day you start singing like the songbird you are is the day your cage starts to crumble. The day you look at your circumstances and say this is where I am, but it’s NOT who I am, is the day things start to change.

We all find ourselves caged from time to time.

And it’s easy to see the walls around us and the padlocked door and get discouraged. It’s easy to see the cage and feel like that is what determines our freedom. But it isn’t. Freedom is an inside job. Freedom comes from knowing who you are and Whose you are.

This is why you’ll find me at 6 am on a random Tuesday, blasting worship music loud enough for the neighbors to hear. This is why you’ll hear me singing (over and over!) “Look how He lifted me…” when the last thing I feel in that moment is lifted. When depression and anxiety threaten to drown me, and I desperately take hold of the One in whom there is joy, and peace, and hope.

History is full of cage-breakers.

People who decided to do a victory march before there was even a battle, who built an ark before it rained, who relaxed and feasted in the presence of their enemies. Worshippers, who literally caused earthquakes with their praise. Mighty warriors found in the most unlikely of places.

And I am one of these. And you can be too.

Uncaged.

Learning to Love the Broken

learning to love the broken

The last six months have been a mix of beautiful and brutal. Our little family has overcome some big challenges and made some really fun memories together. But we’ve also experienced a whole lot of pain and heartbreak – we’ve been blindsided, wounded, crushed.

There have been people that I love who have hurt people that I love in ways I can’t even fathom. There have been ties that I thought were unbreakable that are now broken, boundaries that I thought immovable that have been shaken, and relationships that I took great comfort from that have now crumbled to the ground.

The biggest thing that I’ve learned from this season is that there is so much pressure to navigate these storms correctly – to say the right things, and more importantly not say the wrong things, to respond with the right words in the right timing to the right people, to be honest but not too honest, to protect the innocent and yet be transparent, to weep with those who weep yet have compassion for the guilty, to not offend anyone, to not withdraw, yet not to say too much, to be strong when in reality you’re not.

And I have done none of these things well. When much of my known world has imploded around me, I’ve found myself shell-shocked and disoriented. While so many of the ones I love are broken and bleeding, I find myself with just a pitiful box of band-aids that are laughable in light of these gaping wounds. My own lack in the face of this has been the hardest thing to take. When I so desperately want to bring healing, all I can offer is myself, and I am broken too.

“Love the broken.” <– This is what He whispered to me after yet another conversation that left everyone, myself included, feeling wounded and bruised. Right away, I thought of others – those who had caused the pain, and those who had been hurt… but “No,” He gently said, “Love the broken like I do.“

And then I realized it – He was talking to me. He doesn’t stand above me, shaming me for not responding correctly or loving others enough. He LOVES the broken, myself included. And He wants ME to love the broken, myself included, too.

Can I just say this? It set me free.

Free from the burden of my own brokenness. Free from the need to be the healer. Free from the pressure to somehow be the savior, to anyone, in any of this.

Those were shoes we were never meant to fill.

Even better, He fills them perfectly.