Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sing Cause You Mean It

A few weeks ago I was having church in my mini van in the middle of the day, belting out "You! Are! More than enough", feeling so happy and so dang free.

A few days later, same scene, different song. "You're all I need!" Oh, I sang it. Yes I did.

But I started to wonder, do I really mean what I sing? Because it matters, right? 

Earlier this week Calvin made up a ridiculous, outlandish, untrue excuse for why he "couldn't" do something, when really, he just didn't want to do it. He opted for the easy lie and that's a problem. We value the truth. Lying is a sin. Blah blah blah.

And then I turn right around and get all goose-bumpy alone in my mini van or with all of my friends at church, I close my eyes and my heart smiles and everything feels right in the world while I'm saying things that aren't really true. To Jesus.

I'm guessing he knows the truth, which is this: You! Are! More than enough as long as my health and the health of my family and financial stability are automatically included!"

Just doesn't have the same ring.

You're all I need God, but I'm assuming all of my basic needs are part of some kind of a package deal.

I started freaking out, because I didn't know how to fix it. I was all wound up for weeks. I wanted the words to be true without my addendums, but thinking of God and nothing else was hard. How do you distill Him down? Impossible. I kept trying to picture it and all I could see was myself, alone in a dark cave of a room with a tiny window and a giant Bible.

I'm being totally honest here, it didn't seem like enough.

Then I went to a meeting at church and heard a friend talk about turkey hunting. It should have been a run-of-the-mill hunting story, the kind I partially tune out because I'm just not huntery. It should have been cranked up on testosterone and painted a garish flourescent orange. But instead, his eyes got soft as he spoke poetry about the way the sun lifts up over the horizon. He took us to the moment when the silence and the dark collides with the glow of a new morning, how all the turkeys start in with their turkey business. He made me see that it was beautiful. More than that, he made me see that God is the gobble of a turkey, at least to my friend. It's worship to him. It's communion.

Maybe it goes back to our favorite homegirl theologian, Ann Voskamp. I think she's on to something with her "All's grace" message. There is no "plain, ol' God". We can't entirely separate Him from all that He is, all the little things He uses to love us. He owns it all. It does what He wants it to do. It gobbles because He tells it to.

The turkeys, the sunrise, the canvas, the song, the perfect fluted bowl of a single rose petal float God right down to where we sit. Maybe a watermelon that makes me want to weep for its crunchy ripeness and the ache in my buns after an extra-fast walk, all of these gifts, every little one, bring us closer to His heart. He whispers to us in ways that we can't help but hear, because He is the tuner of our ear. He calibrates our eyes to see, our hearts to feel. Maybe as we begin to see past all these gifts and into the heart of the Giver, we become conditioned to lean on in when the gift looks like heartache or loss or just the dreariest day.

Want to wig yourself out in a really good way? Take a slow look around you, all three hundred sixty degrees, and see God work in and through every bit of it. He's out there, beyond the darkened room. He's evident in more than the soft cheeks of our babies. He's everywhere, but He's especially where He created each of us to see Him.
 
His love and his grace flow through the capture of light through the shutter.

It's right there, in all the colors of the produce section of Meijer.

He's in the hind paw of Charles, right there next to Silas's cheek when a little comfort would be nice.

He knows just what we need (and what we don't). He's more than enough, even when it's hard to handle.

Sing on.

38 comments:

  1. Oh Shannon, spot on my friend, spot on.
    My eyes will never be big enough to see, my arms big enough to hold, nor my heart big enough to feel it all or my mind big enough to comprehend all that He gives me each and every single moment of each and every single day.
    Sing on.

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  2. Ha! I hadn't thought of the singing in this way before! But I think we can sing on, and it's not fibbing, because we've determined to set our hearts on what is true, and trust that the Holy Spirit will increase our faith accordingly. Maybe when we don't feel it, that's when we need to sing the loudest? Yeah, I'm not going to try to explain that to my 8 year old! :)

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    1. "we've determined to set our hearts on what is true, and trust that the Holy Spirit will increase our faith accordingly" Preach it!

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  3. LOVE this! I was just reading Brandon Hatmaker's book tonight and read the chapter about worship and I was feeling completely convicted and wondering how to fix it, too. :) But, yes, God is in everything! Thank you for the reminder!!! :)

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    1. Yep. Brandon's book is what started my whole train of thought. Hey, Everyone! Read his book! http://zondervan.com/9780310492269

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  4. Love this! I am singing on and loving Him as He continues to drench me with His l-o-v-e!

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  5. This is why I stick with Merle Haggard instead of the praise & worship. It's easier for me to be authentic in my singing.

    Just kidding. Sort of.

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  6. I sometimes wrestle with wanting Him to be enough, yet not really wanting to let go of the stuff and comfort. Right about that time He surprises me with someTHING, and I know it's from Him. Don't know if this makes any sense. Anyway, the whole thing is intensified since our recent trip to Ghana...how could I ever want more STUFF?

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  7. Best little bit of writing you ever did. At least for me. And you write a lot. So that's saying a lot. Write on sister friend, write on.

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  8. Love it! Your blog is my daily devotional these days. Thanks, chica. =)

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  9. Come on, now...first thing in the morning and I'm all weepy on account of your post...

    :)

    Making a special effort today to see the 360. Thank you so much for this reminder.

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  10. You know, I was singing that same song this past Sunday and feeling like such a fraud. I'm wanting something more... usually having nothing to do with Him, but mostly always, it's about me. I am always including addendums, asterisks, conditions.

    So, today's post is touching my heart where it needs- God is calibrating and tuning me, using your words. Thank you, Shannan.

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  11. Thanks Shannan! Great thoughts as usual. Now I need to go chew on this some....

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  12. That was absolutely beautiful and wonderful to read before I get started with my day.

    Thank you ~ FlowerLady

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  13. I just finished One Thousand Gifts about a week or 2 ago, and since I'm still flying high on Eucharisteo (I hope to forever be), this post had me soaring to the heavenlies! Oh, the minivan anointing.

    I just linked within yesterday and read all about Silas coming home, and I so I came undone a little when I saw his little self in these photos and felt a swelling of thanksgiving for Charles and the rest of Silas' family. :) I'm feeling a little Tiny Tim this morning..."God Bless us every one!" He has!

    ps, I thought your new lyrics wouldn't work out because nothing really good rhymes with "included"...but then I thought of rooted. And diluted. Sing out, sista! Looks like He's changing the lyrics as you do...

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  14. Beautifully well said... and accurate. Lately, I am striving to see God in everything -- even in the "nos", remembering that he loves me and wants the very best for me -- and KNOWS BETTER than I ever will what that IS. Thanks girlfriend! {Hugs!}

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  15. I want to be authentic. I want to mean every word I sing in a worship song, but inevitably I'll mouth the words at some point. Yee, He's still so good to me. Ann is right. All is grace.

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  16. Wonderful way to start my morning. Thanks for the reminder to keep my eyes wide open to see God in my day!
    Blessings!

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  17. preach it, girl! I've really been feeling challenged and encouraged by you this past week or so. Thanks for sharing so faithfully what you're learning and processing so we can all benefit from it!

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  18. Thank you for posting this. It’s exactly what I was looking for!

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  19. Oh, yeah! When we get to this point, it's really such a gift!

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  20. Love this! Were you singing Kari Jobe? If so, I've been belting out those same songs. :)

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  21. How do you DO this? You write such wonderful truths and make us all stop to think.

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  22. Nicole C. Mullens'
    Redeemer Lives

    "Who taught the sun where to stand in the morning?
    And who told the ocean you can only come this far?
    And who showed the moon where to hide till evening?"

    The lyrics always get me...right...there.

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  23. you know my husband doesn't sing at church. he feels like if he isn't doing it all right, then why sing the words. i sing sometimes and i've said that it can be more of a prayer to god than a proclamation of what i'm doing/how i feel.

    it is true though...those words really mean something, and i believe people need to give a little more thought about what exactly it is they are singing.

    great post, as always!

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  24. Your post is like a cool breeze on a hot, sticky day…a balm to my soul. Thank you, once again, for putting into words what I am feeling and dealing with these days. I am just trying to figure out how you are in my head so much!! :-) Love you, my friend!

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  25. I totally agree that God "tunes our ears", "callibrates our eyes to see, and our hearts to feel". He lets us see him and feel him in so many ways if we are aware and seeking. Funny that you mention worship songs and hunting. My husband rarely sings the worship songs. Singing is not his thing. He prefers to think on God during that time. However, he says he feels so close to God and is constantly reminded of the awe of God's creation when he's out in nature and when he's hunting. I definitely feel him touching my heart and convicting me through the music (though I see beauty and love in so many things around me).

    I remember in one of Beth Moore's bible studies that she said that God initiates love--never will we feel a love for God that he hasn't just reminded us how he loves us. In those moments she encouraged us to not say "I love you, Lord", but to respond to his love with "I love you, too"

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  26. i love looking around...all around...and seeing all that he is doing in everything that I see and hear and touch and feel. He is everywhere and in all things.

    we were made to worship.....it's amazing that we can look at a flower and worship him for it. YES!

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  27. I have been truly blessed by your outpouring of your heart in the last few posts. A true blessing to see beyond the dirty laundry and finger printed walls and windows and see the 360! Much appreciation!

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  28. amen!
    thank you for the reminder to look BEYOND mere circumstance and what's floating right in front of me, to see the beauty that surrounds.
    xo

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  29. This is so honest, so true, so wise. I have sometimes stopped in the middle of worship - brought up short by the words I know I haven't lived out. I have come to believe that He sees beyond my failures and knows my heart longs to be exactly what I say.

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  30. Yes...Jesus is my Boyfriend songs (Thanks, Peter Rollins) make me cringe for this very reason. Yes of course they are singable, but do I really need Jesus like I need air? I can get very preachy on this topic, but I have realized that most of this life is "preaching faith until you have it then preach faith." So, go ahead, tell Jesus he is enough, and grin because you know he just might make it so.

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  31. so at halfway through my 10 foods we sang our god at church. i stood there thinking "we are just singing words. do we really even think about what we are singing? we really don't live like this song declares!" yep..been there and tried to wrestle with those same thoughts. i shared them with one person. she thought i was being pessimistic and told me to get over it; God just wants to hear us worship? i will say it has made me much more mindful of what i vow to God, through song or word!

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  32. I just loved everything about this. So, so good.

    XOXO,
    Angie

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  33. i read mostly all of your posts mostly all of the time. i like them, and sometimes they really speak to me. this one REALLY did. He is everywhere. everywhere. all around us. why don't we take the time to really SEE it? thanks for smacking me in the face today. quite frankly, i think i needed it. :)

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