Happy Birthday

Hillsong College has been booming with end of semester presentations and performances lately, which has been great fun mixed with a little nervous excitement. The first year songwriters had their performance this week and as I sat at the packed out café and listened to their beautifully composed songs I began comparing (as you do). But it wasn’t a negative comparison or even a “me against them”. It was more reflective of my first year songwriting self – I began to wonder if there was a difference between my time before college, last year and this last weeks performances and the caliber of songs that I was producing. I think this was Jesus – because I am not this clever – but I felt in my heart that it wasn’t a measure of “are my songs better” but:

“Am I better? Am I better at being a songwriter?”

I got stuck on the thought that if I haven’t improved in my discipline of songwriting, then, I haven’t improved. I feel the same can be said of my character and life. I question a lot if I’ve changed much year to year being at a Christian Leadership college and spending most every day at the church. We are invested into almost hourly and are exhausted by the second week of school. It’s beautiful here and it is hard. This has been the most demanding semester I’ve been a part of and I have felt stretched and sometimes broken. I didn’t address my infrequency of writing this semester in my previous blog because I didn’t want to.

But just so you know, I KNOW.

In my questioning if I have changed, if I’m the same, if I’m different but revert quickly back to the worst of me, I again felt that drop of a discipline thought – If I haven’t improved in my discipline, I haven’t improved. I can’t actually gauge how I’m doing by how I feel because that changes every time I change my diet. If I don’t see my journals filled, if I have more books to read than books that I’ve read, If I have more abandoned coffee dates than friends then I am no better.

But tomorrow, I get to start a new journal, I get to start reading Joshua, I have a coffee date with a good friend and I get to choose to believe that He who began a good work in me will carry it out unto completion. I’ve learned more this semester than ever about getting into the Word of God and APPLYING it to my life. Technically there is a model to look at them, us, me – but that’s more of an in person conversation and it’s my blog so naturally I’m talking about me.

The Word of God is active and is most useful when it is USED. Of all my disciplines I pray this increases the most.

My life isn’t about the caliber of my accomplishments but the consistency of my growth – and I pray that yours never becomes about what you produce but the daily producing of fruit and great things to build your community and to grow you closer to Christ.

I love you all, Happy Birthday.

Driving Lessons With Laina

This is unapologetically a songwriter post. Lyrics have always gotten me right in the feelers – at least when they are done correctly they have. I have other friends in the songwriting stream who are absolutely convinced that the music is all that is important in a song, but to me a well constructed story with a beautiful melody is enough to provoke my thoughts for a while.

We were recently singing at a worship night in our lovely home when some lyrics from a very old song just hit me I was captivated.

“You, O Lord, are my strength, my shield

To You, O Lord, may my spirit yield”

I’m such a word-nerd anyway that as soon as the phrase got stuck in my spirit I had to know more about what it actually meant. To Yield: is to give way to. While driving when you yield I get the picture of merging onto a highway – I stop or slow down and look back to see if someone is coming and give them the first go on the path and then I follow suit. You, O Lord, are my strength my shield. You go before me and it’s up to me to stop my spirit, slow down and look to see You coming. I want to live a life where I’m ready to stop or slow down and let you lead the path and guide me. How often do you stop and look back to see if G-d is headed the direction you are trying to go? Is it possible that you can’t yield to what He is doing if you aren’t even headed down the same road? I actually don’t know all the answers but I pray that my heart learns to look for the Saviour and follow after Him.

“You alone are my hearts desire

and I long to worship You”

This is a little on the shorter side but it is something I wanted to share… I feel like I could try to expand on it but all the other words would be filler and less sincere. So I might just leave this as it is. I get in reflective moods and don’t feel like word vomiting. But I hope this finds you as it found me, and leaves you the same as it left me. Realizing the need to be still and know who G-d is and what He is doing. He has good in store for us and if we just look back and see that He is coming the direction that we are headed in becomes a little bit clearer.