pushing against the lie of lack–using poetry + beauty + conversations with Jesus

It bubbles up within me, and I recognize the lie–the lie that there is lack everywhere, that there is not enough love all around. It takes a simple look to creation to set me straight: the miracle of huge buzzing bees, the zooming of hummingbirds kissing the plants in the pots just outside the window. Or the sway of boughs in the breeze, the flitting of birds from one lush branch to another. Life is bursting forth. Alive and radiant. Exploding with energy and hope.

God is everywhere. Abundant and lavish. Exorbitant and decadent in beauty. Light and color. Movement and song. 

I am half inside, half outside the house as I write these words. I sit on the floor with the door open, my feet bare. I take in big breaths of air. Letting my lungs expand fully–holding in the air for a moment before letting it out. My arms are cold, but I can’t go inside–the birds are holding a concert, after all. Singing with gusto from the tops of the trees. I can barely see them, hidden as they are among branches of deep sparkly green. There is a spaciousness here, even in my small backyard. Rose bushes are sprouting deep red-purple leaves again. Flowers bend their petals toward the sun. 

I want to raise my face to the sun too, inhale and exhale. Consider what it is my heart needs. Let my heart soak up the presence of God in me, outside me, all around. The neighbor’s tree on the other side of the fence is bursting with blooms, delicate pink and white blossoms, dozens and dozens on each branch. Wow, the voices of those birds. I don’t know how they could sing any louder. 

In the midst of our hurting world, full of disease and want, hunger and destruction, abuse and isolation, injustice and war, our hearts are made to turn to beauty–be restored by it, be reminded, at our core, of what is true.

This is an act of kindness to our hearts. Turning our eyes, our ears, our senses, our minds, to an encounter with beauty helps us to be restored.

Another act of kindness is having conversations with God after we write. These conversations can settle our hearts and allow us to process what it is that prompted the poem’s inspiration in the first place. Here, I enjoyed creating a poem–and then using the words of the poem as a prompt of sorts for engaging my heart with God.

After I wrote the poem, a conversation with God followed: 

“You take me on journeys with You, and I want to say yes to each step of it.”

I like the crunch of gravel under your feet.

“You do not tire holding my hand when we walk, even when it is up hill.”

You do not weight as much as you think–your burdens are not heavy now–not one of your burdens was ever too heavy for me.

“Where will we go now?”

I am teaching you to open your mind and heart in new ways.

“I want You to teach me, yet I recognize, so often, I am ignoring You.”

You ignore Me when the focus is on you–when you believe you are small. You are small enough to weigh nothing as we walk, and heavy and strong and full of my glory when your eyes are on Me. Keep your eyes on Me.

As we write and we listen and we talk to God this week, let’s keep our eyes on Him. On His truth. On His beauty. On His goodness. On His promises. It will be so worth it.

By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.

There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!

Romans 5:2-5 The Message (MSG)

For our Loop Poetry Project prompt this week, write a poem focusing on beauty or sweetness or what outside influence brings interior restoration of your heart. And I encourage you, after you’ve written your poem, to use it as a prompt to talk to God. He cares deeply about what you think and feel. He has much to tell you, promising to bring hope to you–and growth.

I’d love to hear from you! Tell me about your experience writing–or your thoughts about creation, or beauty, or conversations with God. I have much to learn from you! I’d love to know what you think!

love,

jennifer

P.S. If you post on social media, make sure to use the hashtag #looppoetryproject so I can find you! And here you can join the Loop Poetry Project private Facebook group!

This post appeared originally at jenniferjcamp.com

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