Broken Records & Sad Songs—-Day #16 out of the 30 day challenge to blog

My friend Jimmy called me after I sent him a text that merely said, “I’m sad. Pray for me.” St. Jimmy of the giggles like a girl called me. Yeah, he giggles like an eight year old girl. But I don’t hold it against him, because we all laugh like goofballs. That is the people that really let themselves go and enjoy life. I’d much rather hang with the person who doesn’t care how they sound when they laugh versus the person who tries to be all stuck up and serious all the time. There’s appropriate time for seriousness, and wisdom is a precious jewel, but I think we have made too much of being serious, if you ask me. And only fools confuse maturity with being serious.

Jimmy asked me a really profound question in the pit of my sadness. He said, what’s the record that’s playing over and over again. Oh, man that’s a great question.

It’s not so much important what I told him, because the record often changes from day to day. But with each passing day there is a song that’s playing over and over in my head. Sure I’ve gone through seasons to where it never changes for months, or dare I say years.

I just thought that was terrific.

What’s your broken record? The sad song that plays in the deepest parts of you. Do you know it’s a sad song that plays deep inside of you, or have you buried that reality with busyness? Or buried it with responsibilities? Or buried it with the mask of “having it all together?”

But you may go…I’m doing pretty well in life…I feel pretty joyous…life is going okay…well that’s great. Enjoy it. I truly mean it. Enjoy it. But forgive me if I don’t believe you. Not because I think you’re lying about being “happy” in this present moment. We all can have those moments.

But I do think there is a reality to our deepest selves that we have spent the majority of our lives pretending about …and that is this…there is something deep inside you…and me…and all of us that is broken.

For the Chrisitan, that’s a part of the reality. That without Christ…I’m in a canoe without a paddle…and yes I may try temporary things that bring me temporary pleasure…some vices…but even the virtues don’t last forever…they only bring a temporary fix to and foundational problem.

If my joy, happiness, and even a momentary delight doesn’t have it’s core in something outside of myself…if my life and journey doesn’t have a repetitive motion to it in living response to the love of God…I am merely just spinning my wheels. I’m just a sinking ship, frantically trying to scoop up the water with a cup and throw it out…trying not to drown.

Emotions are like the waves. They are intense, and calm. They are beautiful, and can be horrifying. They are fun to surf, and have the power to kill. They can seem larger than life, and in the next minute totally disappear.

Waves are unpredictable, and can never be fully trusted. And neither can your emotions. Let me not fall into the identity distortion that I am my emotions. Let me not fall into the trap to thinking that I can save myself from a powerful wave. I have as much ability to be my own savior as I do containing and capturing a wave. And God, let me not wear masks…for as St. Rich Mullins once said, you love me more than my mask.

If we are happy. It won’t last forever. If we are sad, hopefully that too won’t last forever, even if it is the constant soundtrack to your life…eventually someone will fart in front of you…and you will laugh.

Maybe it’s because I’ve observed my own broken record for too many years, or maybe it’s my Chrisitan belief…but either way…I’m convinced that the problem within myself…and you…and all of us…can’t be helped by ourselves, or even a group of us…although that can bring some remedy and can definitely help in terms of growth of the individual…matter of fact I don’t think we can grow without others…but deeper than that…we are broken so deeply…even if we don’t know it…that there must be help outside of ourselves. Hence why I think self-help stuff is horse shit…not trying to be offensive…I have many friends that do, and think things like the book the “secret” work…but I have a secret for them…it won’t work. At least not forever. How do I know…”Because the flowers will fade, the grass will wither, and nothing will last except for the word of God”..And that includes everything inside of us, outside of us, and …us.

To a few friends, that’s how I’ve simply explained why I am a Christian…because if you take every religion…or philosophy away…every pearl of wisdom…every hunch…every mythology…every ounce of literature…and the scientific method…and you are brave enough to stare into they abyss of your own heart…you will come up with something , hopefully like I have realized and that’s this…it seems we were made to be loved unconditionally…not by ourselves…or even other humans…but something that won’t die…something eternal…something that is unbreakable…and something freely given…because no matter how good I am…it won’t be enough…no matter how strong I am…eventually I will be weak…No matter how healthy I am…eventually I will be sick…and no matter how alive I feel…eventually I will be dead….Death is the true sign…that something is wrong, and can’t be fixed by ourselves…

And then if I open my eyes to find this “unconditional love”…I only find it in Jesus. That’s why I’m not a universalist…as good on paper, and as harmonious as it sounds…pluralism has a fundamental problem…and that is in every other religion and philosophy it depends of me doing something, earning something, being something…but within the maddening love affair I find between God sending Jesus to die for my sins to save me…and to bring me life…out of his furious love…”that knows no boundary, limit, or breaking point”…I am given this for free, because God knows no matter how good I will be it won’t be enough…no matter how healthier I get inside and out…I still will get sick…inside and out…and eventually I will end up in a box six feet below the earth.

I have many friends that struggle with depression, or just a mild case of the blues…and they seem confused as to why…well there may be deep issues that they need to face and pursue mental health or even medicine…but on a simple foundational level I go…”Yeah, makes sense…because we are broken…inside and out…and we can’t help ourselves…”

This isn’t bad news. It’s great news. And his name is Jesus.

So don’t get too down on yourself for getting depressed, or sad, or a mild case of the blues. So many people I know get so ashamed because of this…and I go…”Do you get mad when your car runs out of gas”…”or when your microwave stops working because it’s unplugged”…???

Then why would you get mad at yourself for when you’re down. Why would get mad at yourself if and the inevitable when…you will get a headache. Don’t get too mad at yourself…you just are out of gas…you’re just unplugged from the source…which is Christ Jesus…

So let me piss you off for a second? But you say…I’m connected to a higher power…and I hear what your saying David…but I’m just applying it to my own beliefs…but it still doesn’t work. You’re right. It doesn’t work, because it’s not Jesus.

You taking the philosophy of you can’t find joy, peace, love, and fulfillment outside of a relationship with Jesus…and applying it to self help…or frankly another other philosophy or religion…is like running out of gas…and putting peanut butter in your tank. That doesn’t make sense, does it?

so you say…hey I get it…but I’m fine and dandy just without Christ…I get it…I mean Jesus said…It’s hard for a rich person to enter into the kingdom of heaven…or another way to put it…is the person that thinks he has everything…is going to find it difficult to think he needs something.

So you’ve medicated the plummeting ship with duck tape. You’re not sinking…yet. But water is slowly coming in…and you know it…you feel it…

It’s like that scene in the Matrix…where Neo is being explained by Morpheus that you’ve always had a feeling but just couldn’t put your finger on it…

So if you are brave, braver than brave…stare into the abyss of your heart…stand tall and look at your religion dead in the eye…and be forceful with your philosophies….and see if they can stand the true test…does it really work, meaning is it bullet proof…or will it to pass away like the grass of the fields…and fall like the flowers..

See, I think it will all pass away…religion, philosophy, and even us…and our only hope is the thing that will last forever…Jesus. Sure it took faith, faith that opened up a door to reality for my eyes to be opened…much like Neo had to take the pill and see how far the rabbit hole really went. I took that step of faith, and now I know that it’s true. Jesus is God, and he is the only hope for true lasting joy, peace, and contentment…not just on this side of death…but the other.

And it makes sense because he’s the only God that forgives sinners…(and there is only one God)..but you get what I’m saying.

Now you say, but David…I know you…your a sad sack of potatoes most of the time. That’s right. But then how come you’re not more happy, and joyous, and blah blah blah…

I’ll tell you why…because even though I know that my car takes gas…I too often put peanut butter in there..Even though I know finding my identity As God’s beloved child should be my foundation…I often try to find it in things I shouldn’t…not just vices…but also in virtues…I sin, I take my eyes off Jesus, because I’m not perfect, and I’m human. That’s not something to beat myself up either…

I have always liked sad songs, because they often are more honest than pop songs…or even “worship” songs…I like things that are real….and it feels good to be sad, I’m not gonna lie.

But when I was on that phone call with St. Jimmy, I realized that even though I know the source and the truth to find true joy, and love…and even though I know I don’t always live in it…I discovered that often…I have a sad song playing on a broken record deep in my soul…it’s sad…because it’s usually a lie. A lie that I tell myself…like “I have to be a good Chrisitan” or “Nobody loves me” or “I’m a failure” or whatever bullshit is skipping on my CD player in my head…

And even though Jesus wants me to run to him and not away from him…and live in my identity as Abba’s child…I often would like to close my bedroom door, turn off the lights, and listen to the sad song in my soul…over and over and over again.

But that’s not what scares me…what scares me I realized after that phone call was this…it’s always playing…and I’m so used to the white noise it’s created in my life…I didn’t realize that I have those lies on automatic repeat in my heart.

So where’s the hope? Well yes the hope is Jesus. But where’s the practical hope inside of this rambling today…well I think it may be found in the one thing that we know will last…the word of God.

Psalm 46:10…”Be still and know that I am God.”

Be still. Quiet down your soul, and listen to see what’s on the record. And see if it truly is the truth that can be found in the furious love of God, or if it’s a sad lie that you’ve been telling yourself over, and over, and over, and over, and over again.

David Leo Schultz

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~ by David Leo Schultz on October 21, 2015.

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