Psalm 11:1-4

The last line of each stanza comes from Psalm 11:1-4.

My strength has failed, my courage weak,
My resolve has faltered, the path looks bleak,
But when clouds obscure the mountain peak,
In the Lord I take refuge.

There is a fortress that stands above all,
There is a hand that will catch when I fall,
And there’s something inside me that answers the call
So how can you say to my soul,

“There is no purpose, no point to the fight.
Careful not to miss out cause you’re chasing a kite.
You haven’t the might to attain to that height,
So flee like a bird to your mountain.

“Do as you please and live as you will,
Chase after safety or run after thrills.
Your magnificent mountain is only a hill,
And behold, the wicked bend their bow.”

The weight keeps increasing, the voices begin;
As the pressures mount up, my soul’s caving in.
The fortress’s walls appear to grow thin,
And they have fitted the arrow to the string.

I cannot see clearly with pride in my eyes.
Compared to the next man, we’ve all become wise.
I try to defeat it but still fall for the lies
That shoot in the dark at the upright in heart.

For if false was the truth then all was in vain;
I’ve been setting a pace that I cannot maintain.
I’m drifting, uprooted, nothing remains
If the foundations are destroyed.

But if faith is a seed that grows into a tree,
Then its roots run much deeper than mere man can see.
If you always answer our knock when we seek,
What could the righteous do?

The foundations are steady, barren of cracks;
You’re grace for my weakness, enough where I lack,
My refuge and compass, the wind at my back.
The Lord is in his holy temple!

Icharus

Leaves breathe
The secret deeds
Of daredevils and dreamers,
Leaders, lovers, and liars,
Always climbing higher,
Striving to see past the trees.
They speak
Of a story we’d forgotten,
Locked beyond our
memory,
From an age where men and women lived.
Vivid and vibrant,
Big- and bright-minded,
Defiant of mountains,
They drowned in their daydreams.
Their goal was to climb,
But they couldn’t brave the dry,
Unforgiving elements,
Created and sent as a fence to the sky.
So instead
Of climbing and striving and dying,
They taught themselves to fly.

To be a writer

Word whirl
within my wild,
wandering mind,
trying to find
what the times can’t provide.
Inside,
it’s a hurricane, hailstorm,
with letters of lightning,
a torrent of typography
flooding the ford with unfathomable feeling
and unsearchable sentences.
I’m overwhelmed by Oxford commas
and under attack by apostrophes,
quashed by quotation marks
and dominated by dangling modifiers.
The clauses crowd each other out,
calling and quoting and constructing these
out-of-context icons of inexplicable integrity
crumpled and confused and uncontainable.
The captive constructions
are pulling at their artificial tethers,
raring to be free,
to burst the seems of reality and be.
Thus defeated by my ideas, I set my pen to paper
and everything goes silent, unseen.

Restless

Restlessness, wanderlust, ambition, dreams. This is what I tell myself I have. You point to the sky, I’m going to find myself a way to fly. But the reality of it is a lot less certain. I have dreams, but they’re pretty foggy and unclear. I want to be something–don’t we all–but I don’t quite know what.

Lately, though, I’ve been seeing the other side of this coin. When you’re a dreamer without a dream, it’s not a goal, it’s only discontent. Dissatisfaction with where you are without really knowing where you want to be, or at the very least without a way to get there.

I am the sea on a moonless night, calling, falling, slipping tides;
I am the raindrop falling down, always longing for the deeper ground;
I am the leaky, dripping pipes, the endless aching drops of light.

“Restless” (Switchfoot, 2011)

Paul writes in Philippians 4, “Whatever circumstance I am in, I have learned the secret of being content.” For years, I’ve been furious with him for not telling me what it is. Are you kidding me, Paul? You can’t just leave me hanging here! “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.” He’s just bragging at this point, seriously.

It’s only recently that I realized that even though he calls it his “secret,” he gives us the answer right there:

I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:11-13).

I don’t know why, but for some reason I’ve always read that last sentence as a separate idea from all the others. Maybe because that’s the one that’s always on signs and posters and pillows. But once my eyes were opened to it, I realized he didn’t just give it to us here; he’s been telling us through the whole book.

“It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:20-21).

“I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ” (Phil. 3:8).

But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13-14).

So based on the revelation of this famous “secret,” combined with my feelings of discontent, it has begged the question: where am I finding my satisfaction?

Evidently, not the same place Paul is. His struggles are no dissatisfaction, because his victories are not his source of satisfaction. 

Maybe my discontent really just reveals where it is that I am looking to find my fulfillment. Paul says he knows how to be brought low, and how to abound. May the same someday be said of me.

Blessings,

Bre