Anywhere, Anything: On Worship and Hyperbole

Photo by. Lucindy Garcia @ CreationSwap.com

Photo by. Lucindy Garcia @ CreationSwap.com

Sometimes on Sunday morning our worship team does the song Burn for You by Steve Fee, and it suddenly feels hard to be there.

I have a tentative relationship with my church anyway, but when they start singing this song, it’s hard for me to stay in that dark room with all the drumming and the lights and the raised hands and promises.

It’s a song with a lot of fire imagery and power words. There’s a fire in my bones, uncontainable, and it’s causing me to burn for You.

As a person who has burned for Jesus, who has been burned, who knows the destructive nature of fire as well as the cold absence of it, this is a loaded metaphor for me to begin with.

And then you get to the chorus:

I’ll go anywhere
I’ll do anything
At any cost for you my King

And I have to sit down in my seat so that I can’t see the words. I have to fold up into my own smallness and remind myself that I don’t have to earn the love of God.

*

It makes me think of that Bruno Mars song that the pop radio stations had on all the time a couple of months ago. The one with the chorus that promises:

I’d catch a grenade for ya
Throw my hand on a blade for ya
I’d jump in front of a train for ya
You know I’d do anything for ya

It’s a song that annoys me for a couple of reason, the first of which is the word “ya.”

But also, it’s the audacity of those claims. The arrogance of them. The vague, unlikely promises that are easy to make, as chances are, no one will ever lob a grenade at her head.

When that song comes on the radio, I get irritable and start asking questions to my radio. Would ya do the dishes for her? Would ya change the dirty diapers for her? Pick up a box of tampons for her? Get up in the night with a crying baby for her? Would ya Bruno?

Would you listen? Would you stay if she failed you in the most unimaginable, heartbreaking way? Would you go to marriage counseling and sit there on the couch holding her hand, answering the hard questions? Would you do the work of forgiving, the work of being forgiven, in that moment where it would be easier to give up?

Because that’s love: not the proud vow that you would die for her if it came to that, but a hundred thousand little deaths that somehow add up to Life.

But, you know, who wants to sing about that?

*

The problem with hyperbole, with lofty promises, is that life is not lived in the grand gesture.

I have seen enough of my own dark heart to know that even though I might desperately want to believe that I’d do anything for God, go anywhere for Him, give up anything he asked of me, there is a breaking point for me.

I have been to the place where he has been silent and he has asked me to trust him anyway, and I couldn’t do it. I have been to the place where I have been lonely and hurt and instead of choosing faith, I chose tequila and denial and loud cynical anger.

Every day, I come to tiny little crossroads, places where I know what God wants from me and where I choose the exact opposite. Anger instead of love. Gossip instead of restraint. Bitterness instead of forgiveness.

So when they sing the song at church, I sit, because for me, it would be a lie. I sit and I try to remember that the God I believe in has already lived the hyperbole. He loves me to the ends of the earth, as far as East is from West, to the moon and back.

I believe that he pierced himself on the blade of my anger and sin and brokenness. That he gave it all and was not destroyed. That he loves me just the same, even when I fail miserably at loving him back.

*

I am trying this new thing.

Instead of promising God anything and anywhere and any cost, I am trying to stop in the moment and ask him. “What would you have me do here?”

I tried it at three in the morning when my son woke up whiny and needy and making demands like a little terrorist.

When he told me to put his blanky on his tummy and his sheet on his feet and his lion toy in a very particular spot on his pillow (NO, Mom. Not there. THERE!), I sucked in a breath, asked God my question, and heard the answer. Love.

When he screamed for me to come back and GET HIM A FRESH PULL-UP, I rallied, listened. Chose love one more time.

When he went into full meltdown mode ten minutes later because he wanted his turtle, a small plastic toy that could be buried at the bottom of any one of the 18 boxes of toys in my living room, I heard God say love, love, love, love, love, and I said, All out of love, God.

And then I went into Crazy Mode and shouted DANE. IT IS FOUR O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING! MOMMY IS ANGRY! And I called him a little shit under my breath while I went stomping into his bedroom to deal with the situation.

We try and try and then we fail. We cannot do the big things or the even little things, and God is well aware of it. In my failure, I am enough for him, and in my victory, I am enough for him too.

God’s love is big and small, more extreme than the greatest hyperbole, more concrete than the tiniest need. And wide enough to cover all of it.

  • http://www.seeprestonblog.com Preston

    Oh, amen.

    You know, in the British Episcopal tradition, when you reach the baptismal vows, like promising to love Christ, you say, “I will.”

    In the American, though, blessed though, you say, “I will, with God’s help.”

    I think there’s a cosmos of spirituality hid in those last three words.

    No more promises. Promises with qualifiers, with the One who qualifies.

    • Addie Zierman

      Love that, Preston.

  • http://www.widewhite.org Joey

    Great post! It reminds me of this comedy bit from one of my favorite comedians. I’m in the same boat as you with this stuff. And that Bruno Mars song drives me bonkers!

    • Addie Zierman

      Thanks for the laugh this morning. Love it.

  • Jen

    Truth: he wants the small moments, for they are everything. And, you did not fail. You are a good mama. That is all.

  • Brent

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. You’ve put into words what I’ve wanted to say for a long time. The certainty of “worship” songs drives me nuts and, as a worship leader, I find it incredibly difficult and incredibly inauthentic to lead the community with these types of songs. Instead (in the face of a certain amount of criticism from the “churched” folk), I lean more toward songs by the likes of U2, the Avett Brothers and Mumford & Sons that leave room for doubt, for questions, for wrestling. I believe that to be much more authentic worship. There’s a guy in my faith community who’s “tried on” over 100 churches in a few years and finally settled on ours because his first Sunday, we played “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” I fought tears as I responded by telling him how glad I was that he stuck around.

    Sorry for the rambling. All this to say … thank you.

    • http://www.widewhite.org Joey

      Brent, sounds a little like my church. I struggled to find something until we landed there. They’ve played Mumford & Sons, REM, and everything in between, yet I’ve never had the feeling that they’re doing it for the sake of fitting in or attracting people. Funny how when you finally find a church that feels like home, you can almost become “that guy” who feels the need to brag about it.

    • Addie Zierman

      I love that you do that. I think sometimes in an effort to show how wonderful God is, churches actually sell him short by simplifying him. We need the sad songs. The searching songs. The quiet, reflective songs. Thanks so much for sharing this.

      • Nancy

        Pardon the pun, but you’re singin’ my song. I, too, simply sit down in the middle of a perfectly beautiful song sometimes, to ponder the reality of God and the reality of me. I feel it vastly more important/real to know and sing about Who GOD is as revealed in scripture, than who I am and how I feel at any given moment. I absolutely agree that “Searching” songs can be valuable, but I find myself impatient with “worship” that sometimes ends up being all about me and my response to God rather than God and his attributes.

        • Handsfull

          YES! You have put into words exactly what I’ve been thinking! I keep stopping singing in the middle of songs, because I hear the words that I’m singing, the promises that I’m making… and think that I’m not sure that I can actually, truthfully say that. Or sing that.
          So I’m trying to sing songs about God, rather than about me.
          And I’ve been quite surprised to discover how many of my favourite songs are actually about me!

    • http://turquoisegates.com Genevieve

      WHERE IS YOUR CHURCH??

    • http://turquoisegates.com Genevieve

      I repeat…WHERE IS YOUR CHURCH????

  • Brent

    Amen, Joey! And thanks for saying that. You’re right — it’s not about attracting people or playing popular songs to be popular. (I know that there are churches who do that.) Instead, it’s because the songs fit in with a particular story we’re telling … faith is FULL of uncertainty and I’m of the opinion that our music in worship should reflect the fact that we don’t have all the answers.

  • http://kimvanbrunt.com/honestly-adoption-the-blog Kim Van Brunt

    Thanks for giving me words for a tenuous relationship with contemporary worship songs. Because when the music fades, what then? When we go back home to regular, every day moments, our same old failures and sin, where is the swelling emotion? Back at church, where it lives and dies and does no one any good.

    This is real good, friend. Did good for my soul.

    • Addie Zierman

      I feel the same way. There are worship songs (mostly hymns) that I sing over and over at home because they sustain me. And then there are other ones that leave me feeling empty.

  • Amanda

    Oh, sister… I used the F word last night when my baby woke up teething. And I cried out to God for the thousandth time, “why?? don’t you know I can’t do this anymore? don’t you know I’m too tired?” I get you. It’s all those little choices to love, to accept His strength, and knowing He gives grace when we fail. I fail so often. And yet I do think the God calls us to such crazy hyperboles – be perfect as I am perfect… die to yourself, take up your cross, and follow… and we can accept that it’s nothing we can do on our own, but only through Him, with lots of stumbling and falling and being picked back up. And I think you’re so right – it’s those little choices each day that testify to the Life he’s given, not always the big choices to give up everything and go be a missionary. We can be faithful in the little things, and maybe that is our everything… maybe our anywhere is those middle of the night vigils instead of comfy in our beds…

    • Addie Zierman

      I have used that one and MANY OTHERS in response to my lousy non-sleeping kids. It’s hard when you’re exhausted and totally at the end of yourself. Grace for you in this time.

      • Handsfull

        Many times I have gotten mad at God for refusing to answer my desperate prayers for babies/children to sleep through the night… or even just to sleep for 4hrs straight!

  • http://www.carisadel.com Caris Adel

    So true and beautiful. I had a fleeting thought along these lines on Sunday when we sang Empty Me in a joyous way….that song seems like it should be said with tears and fear and anxiety….I don’t actually want him to burn away bad things from me. That huts. I don’t want to be emptied, I mean I do, but…it’s not a fun process. So if I have to sing about it, I want to sing about it in a way that reflects the seriousness and hardness of it….not a happy happy joy joy Yay God kind of thing.

    • Addie Zierman

      I love this and I couldn’t agree more. There almost seems to be an arrogance to that “bring it on” God kind of talk/singing. Being emptied is hard. Being stripped is painful. To pretend that it isn’t doesn’t do anybody any favors.

  • Aaron Zierman

    Quite possibly your best post ever (and that’s saying something).

    “The problem with hyperbole, with lofty promises, is that life is not lived in the grand gesture.”

    How easy it is to feel like a failure when we’re not “on fire”. When we’re not “doing something big”. And when feeling like a failure, it’s so easy just to throw in the towel on the small things, because how can they possibly matter in comparison?

    God doesn’t demand us to do this or that. God demands US. This and that will develop naturally out of that relationship, without worry of failure. Not I, but it is Christ who lives through me. Gal. 2:20.

    • http://www.simplelivinginc.net Neal Brower

      Just like I am not seeking God’s blessing, or knowledge about Him, but HIM!

    • Addie Zierman

      Thanks Aaron. :)

    • http://mostlyquestions.wordpress.com Bernard Shuford

      As a teenager, I made God a lot of promises. I promised to never do such and such again, if only he would forgive me. I feared unbelievably that if it happened one more time, it would be over his limit of seventy times seven that I could get forgiveness.

      I don’t think I’ve been able to keep a single one.

      But I don’t think I’ve ever actually promised God that I would go anywhere, or do anything.

      The terror of being “called to the mission field” and having to go far, far, far away from everyone I love was huge. The thought that my life would be hell because I wasn’t in the center of God’s perfect will caused me much grief.

      But I really, really, really was NOT willing to go. I even came to the point where I intentionally decided that I would rather NOT have “God’s best for me” than make that kind of commitment. I would just settle, and deal with it.

      There’s a caste system in much, if not MOST, of Christianity. The best Christians become missionaries, and the second best become pastors or evangelists if they don’t have kids in school or love homeschooling. The third best become Christian school administrators or teachers, and the leftovers become engineers, lawyers, or dog catchers. Wives simply take on the quality of whatever level of commitment their husbands have, or else they spend their lives in misery because they should have never gotten married in the first place.

      That BIG moment of decision, excuse my french, is nothing but bullshit disguised as a rose.

      I don’t care what “you” decided to do at 14, when you turn 21, there are going to be a MILLION more decisions you gotta make. When you turn 75? Yeah, you’re STILL going to be fighting and having to make decisions to keep your faith in God.

      Singing “I Surrender All” in 1975 does absolutely nothing for 2012.

      Every freaking MOMENT requires faith. Every freaking moment.

    • Nancy

      YES!

      • Nancy

        Oops. My “YES” was meant to be in reply to Aaron’s post.

  • Amanda

    Thank you for this post. I love your authenticity. I’m a member of the worship band at our church, and sometimes, when I pay attention to the words, I feel like a hypocrite being up there on stage. :)

    And yep, that Bruno Mars song drives me nuts, too. Especially the “ya.” Glad I’m not alone.

    • http://mostlyquestions.wordpress.com Bernard Shuford

      I feel like a hypocrite being on stage just about all the time. I know that I deserve to be leading absolutely NO ONE. In ANYTHING.

      • Addie Zierman

        See, I think that’s exactly what would make you a great leader. :)

        • http://mostlyquestions.wordpress.com Bernard Shuford

          That’s a terrifying thought. Every time God slides me into some type of “leadership” position, I desperately want to run. Not because I’m afraid to “do” it – for whatever reason He took my stage fright and threw it to the four winds – but because I know leaders are expected to have their act together, and my “act” is often just an “act”, and I know that.

  • Renee

    Thank you so much for saying this! What a relief to know someone else feels the same way, although you said it a million times better than I would have. And put it into practicable words. Thank you for not just expressing your discontent, but for offering an alternative.

    Your words on grand gestures were so humbling and convicting. And encouraging. Much more fulfilling and worshipful than making big declarations I won’t ever have to prove that I’ll keep. I would much rather worship God in the little ways, the “hundred thousand little deaths that somehow add up to Life.” I’m thinking that they will be much harder, many times, but will make me feel so much more connected to God. And that I’m actually achingly, sacrificially worshiping Him. With all I am, rather than just with my vocal chords.

    • Addie Zierman

      So glad that this resonated for you. Thanks for this kind comment.

  • http://www.leighkramer.com HopefulLeigh

    Oh, Addie. Can we please figure out a way to hang out soon? Because I want to sit across from you and hash these things out. (And talk about our favorite tv shows, obviously!)

    I love your honesty. That you choose to listen to the lyrics and consider whether it’s true of you before standing and singing- something we should all do every Sunday. That instead of making grand declarations, you look at the here and now. What in this moment can I do? I speak in hyperbole all the time. I even started this paragraph with “I love.” And it’s true, I do. But I wonder sometimes if I miss out on the small moments because my hyperbolic ways deem them less important to process or consider. I don’t live life that way, at least I try not to, but my language might reflect otherwise. This is good food for thought.

    • Addie Zierman

      Yes. Definitely. A margarita, some Vampire Diaries, Jesus and Leigh. A cocktail of awesomeness. :)

  • http://www.simplelivinginc.net Neal Brower

    Addie, you heard God say, “Love?” Wow. There is another post!
    I’m trying to figure out whether the whole idea of gathered worship is, in fact, the perfect/only place for hyperbole. While I take joy and find rest in the fact that I am enough for God, is there a place to remind ourselves that God is the personification of hyperbole. Our words and gestures and expressions all so insufficient that we must delve into hyperbole to even get on a page with the incomprehensible.
    Now, as to our hyperbolic expressions of commitment, devotion, and what we may or may not do in response, I couldn’t agree more. Let’s just stay in the present and live now. All I have to offer God is my next breath, I have no clue as to what its quality might be, and know only that this breath will be worthy for must one reason–Jesus makes it so.
    True comfort for all of us “little shits.”

    • Addie Zierman

      Yes, I love the idea of celebrating the God who is bigger than the biggest hyperbole in worship. It seems actually like hyperbole was made for trying to get at the bigness of a God who is beyond all of our best metaphors. Thanks for the reminder. And for saying “little shits.” It made me laugh out loud.

  • http://www.judithhougen.blogspot.com Judy Hougen

    Great stuff, Addie–raw and real and well articulated. Those songs also bother me as well. Any time I hear the hymn “I surrender all,” Jesus and I have a little conversation in lieu of actual singing. Such songs are so idealized, and if we sing them enough, I think some people actually believe they’ll go anywhere at any cost, etc., which may or may not be true. In the end, I think it’s the slow, small ways that God reclaims our lives to God that matter most and stick the best–but, of course, that’s pretty unglamorous and doesn’t rhyme very well.

    • http://mostlyquestions.wordpress.com Bernard Shuford

      “I Surrender All” is an absolutely terrifying song that makes us ALL into absolute hypocrites.

      Because NONE of us can do that. And if we claim that we CAN, obviously we’ve not surrendered our lying tongue.

    • Addie Zierman

      This is my favorite: “Jesus and I have a little conversation in lieu of actual singing.” I can just see it. :) Thanks Judy.

  • http://everydayawe.com Stephanie Spencer

    I’m kind of glad I didn’t read this before I saw you today, because I perhaps would have wanted to talk about nothing else ;) The way you string these words and insights together is so beautiful and thought provoking.

    Worship songs have far too much in common with cheesy pop song platitudes. We are a culture bent towards easy romance that ends in divorce when things get rocky- and sadly the church culture ends up mimicking that in many ways.

    • Addie Zierman

      You’re so funny. :) Thank you for the kind comment. And yes, I totally agree: when we romanticize faith in a way that detracts from the hardness of it, the uncertainty of it, the questions, it actually feels like it cheapens the wild beauty and grace of it all.

  • Christy

    I love love your blog. I identify with so much of what you write and this post was exactly what I needed to hear today. Thanks.

    • Addie Zierman

      Thank you Christy. So glad you found your way here!

  • http://Ifollowuontwitter Brenda Meade

    Bravo, well said! It is those little decisions we make all day long…… I almost never do what Jesus would do! But His love covers me! I get up each day and try again!

  • Kate

    Thank you for this post, Addie. My heart is too full to speak much more, but please know that this post is one that I will visit again and again until its message sinks down into my heart and soul and becomes part of me.

    • Addie Zierman

      Thank you, Kate. So glad.

  • Jake Brower

    “I sit and I try to remember that the God I believe in has already lived the hyperbole.”

    Im seriously going to steal that… in fact you’ll probably see it on Twitter before this day is over. I know how you feel, and as a worship leader I struggle with the reality that most songs tend to paint a picture that is less than accurate of the people, myself included, singing them…

    I tend to steer clear of songs that, speak for God, and songs that lie. You know,

    “I lift my hands and spin around…” while everyone stands in one place. How did we get there?

    Let me challenge you this way…

    Every time we sing, pray, whatever, something our heart doesn’t truly believe it is an opportunity to allow God to begin making it true. I am constantly calling people on Sunday mornings and throughout their week to say, “I surrender,” and “You’re all I need,” and “I want you more,” phrases that our failing hearts simply do not believe, our lives prove we don’t believe it. I do this because a lot of what God gives us is true weather we believe it or not. Choosing to submit and surrender, if you are honest with where your heart really is, opens your life for the Spirit to enter into those places and teach your heart to believe it. Its ok to “Worship by faith,” sometimes, again, as long as we are honest with where our hearts really are.

    Instead of making big claims about ourselves, “My heart… I will…” etc, we need to simply make statements that are true in our worship.

    We can say, “God, I don’t want anything other than you,”
    or
    “God you are better than anything else I may want.”

    The latter is actually true, and can be said in a worshipful way no matter what our heart condition is… IN those moments of frustration of church mishaps, just tell yourself truth, let the Holy Spirit do His thing.

    Love you Addie, thanks for your raw words and life.

    • Addie Zierman

      This is a thoughtful and insightful response, Jake. Thanks. I guess I’d never considered this idea of “worshipping by faith,” and it makes sense…still I’m such a word person. It’s very hard for me to make those bold “I’ll go anywhere” kind of statements when I sense my own internal struggle so acutely. Like Judy said about about using the time to have a little conversation with God…that’s kind of my way of “worshipping by faith.” It gives me a chance to be honest about the condition of my heart and to ask for better.

      That said, I do love the way those life giving truths are written in Discover the Life (a great book. You guys should all read it!). I feel like when I am saying “God you are better than anything else I may want,” I’m not choosing between faith and truth…I get them both at once. Perfect.

  • Dave

    Well written post and if it was two years ago, I would have agreed with you 100%. However, I have had a change in perspective regarding hyperbole in worship and I wanted to share it with you.

    Expressions like “I’ll always follow you” or “In all I do, I honor you” are obviously not true for us at all times. I used to sing those lines of songs and almost try to convince God and myself that they were actually true…as if God didn’t already know. :)

    What I’ve come to learn now is that those expressions are not intended to be expressions of absolute truth.

    We sing those lyrics to help align our hearts with God’s work in us through the gospel, especially as we’re aware of our need for God’s Spirit to carry out those commitments.

    In the Psalms, King David would constantly write poems or lyrics with those types of statements. Yet he was a liar, adulterer, and a murderer. I think he “got the point,” that we sing those things to help align our hearts with God’s…and that’s a good thing.

    Does that make sense?

    • Addie Zierman

      That’s a great point, Dave, and one I honestly hadn’t considered. I hadn’t thought about the Psalms, and this kind of makes me want to go through and reread again and see where he used this kind of language. I love your italicized line, especially the bit about “aligning our hearts with God’s work.”

      There’s definitely something to this, but I also know that I’m not there yet. Your comment helps give me a little more understanding, but at the same time, there’s something about these types of lyrics that makes me feel uncomfortable. I think it probably has to do with how I spent my evangelical youth, trying to stay at the raging center of being “on fire for Jesus.” Constantly feeling the pressure to be more than I was, feeling like any weakness or faltering in my faith was another way I was failing God.

      I feel incredible freedom in just being honest, allowing myself to be where I’m at. To know that God loves me even here.

      • Dave

        Addie -

        “how I spent my evangelical youth, trying to stay at the raging center of being “on fire for Jesus.” Constantly feeling the pressure to be more than I was, feeling like any weakness or faltering in my faith was another way I was failing God.”

        I had the same experience in college, and that is not freedom at all. 2 Corinthians 3:17 says “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” And numerous times throughout the New Testament, we are told that God’s Spirit dwells within us. So if God’s spirit is freedom, and God’s spirit is in us, what does that mean? We are walking temples of freedom! Anything that oppresses is flat out not from God.

        I’m convinced most Christians today have not heard the true gospel, that God loves us. End of story. He loves us.

        Continue to live in freedom and in the knowledge that God loves you!

  • Paige

    This. Post. Is. Amazing.

    Thanks.

  • http://turquoisegates.com Genevieve

    I believe that he pierced himself on the blade of my anger and sin and brokenness. AMEN. The trick for me is to journey with Him to the darkest spot of my soul and keep my eyes open to see the light He bathed that spot with when He was pierced. A long, low, hearty, and almost wordless “AMEN” from my heart to yours for this one, sister.

  • Mark Allman

    Addie,

    I followed you over here from you post on Leanne’s site. I see I am going to have to add you to my daily blog read list. Leanne, Joy Cannis, SCL, Kari Scare, Rebooting worship and The Very Worst Missionary.

    Great post here. I often stop singing songs because I know I would be lying to God if I continued. Sometimes what I want to sing is “life is hell, life is hell, life is hell… HELP”

    Most certainly life is not lived in the grand gesture. I hate it that I dream of making a grand gesture at times and I have to remind myself it is the thousand little things that make a difference over time and how I react in the moment to those things. I have to choose to act instead of react. To react often is translated “to screw up”.

    I hate that we barely recognize people for doing those daily grind it out things. I hate it that so much that is worthy goes unnoticed. I try to discipline myself to look for those things like that that people do and thank them or tell them it is noticed and appreciated.

    That grind leads often to asking the question “why the hell do I do this? no one cares” and sometimes the only answer I have is “because it is the right thing to do regardless.”

    Sometimes the only promise I can make is “I’ll try today”.

    I know that sometimes there are “grand gestures in love” but I believe that if love was not lived out in the difficult, the trying, the unnoticed, and the endless minutiae, then the grand gestures would be grandstand gestures.

    So let us relish the minutiae as to choose to have our love multiplied through it.

    • Addie Zierman

      Thanks, Mark! I feel honored to be listed among such great names. And thanks for the thoughtful comment. I love the idea of disciplining ourselves to noticed the small, mundane things that others due and thank them. What a wonderful practice.

  • http://alittlemorethaniwas.wordpress.com Jen

    Your honesty is refreshing.

  • http://sharmeetsworld.blogspot.com Shar

    Someday I am going to print out all your blog entries (and all the wonderful comments), put them in a binder, and read through them again on my couch while crying my eyes out. This thing has been the best reading of the year. You know, right, that you’re required to blog for the rest of your life now?

    • Addie Zierman

      You are so kind Shar. I’ll be squirreling this comment away to re-read on the “I’m-the-worst-writer-ever-why-do-I-even-bother!” days. Thank you.

  • http://kristiahrens17.typepad.com/blog/ Kristi Ahrens

    I just love your blog. This writing was so comforting to me. I am in the season of mothering a 1 1/2 year old boy and 3 1/2 year old boy. I have lost my temper and yelled and screamed more times than I can count. I keep waiting for that glorious day when the fruit of the Spirit will be fully manifested in me and I can have self control. Maybe that won’t be till heaven. I’m just so thankful that our God is a God of grace ALONE.

    Thank you for your honesty!

    • Addie Zierman

      Thanks so much Kristi. Sounds like our boys are just about the same ages (mine are 3 and 1). It’s exhausting…and humbling. I too am very thankful for grace these days.

  • Carlie

    Your posts often leave me speechless, but I find it necessary to find a voice anyway, at least to say thank you for using yours.

    I find those tiny little crossroads, those NEVER ENDING CROSSROADS, much more difficult to conquer than what we were ‘trained’ to be ready for. For me, it was so much easier to “go anywhere” than it was to stay.

    • Addie Zierman

      Thank you Carlie. Yes, I understand that too. Staying and being faithful in the small ways is hard, hard, hard sometimes.

  • Heather G

    I love this post. You are right that life is not lived in the grand gesture. But something about us yearns for greatness. Singing songs about the great and lofty things we want to do and go for in our dedication to our Beloved can sometimes be inspiring and help us dream. But you’re right, sometimes it can be too much…and sometimes it can occlude us from living in the small and meaningful everyday things.
    Although, sometimes, we do get the opportunity to make the “grand gesture.” Three men gave their lives to save their girlfriends’ lives in that theater in Aurora. A friend of mine moved his family to a third world nation to serve Christ and serve the people there, leaving all behind – and was martyred for his faith there. His favorite song was “counting the cost.” Sometimes, there is a knock on the door asking if we’d like to make the grand gesture. I don’t know that I can promise ahead of time that my answers will always be yes – but I hope that they will be and that I will see it as a gift and priviledge to give all.

  • http://bretwortman.com/ Bret Wortman

    Wow, I love your message and I love the way you write.

    I especially like your message, which I’ve heard and said before myself, about how it’s easy to make the big sacrifices for the other, to say you’d die for them. But to daily sacrifice your wants for the other, or for your children, that’s where real love is found. That’s a message I really needed to hear today.

    Thanks for sharing this over on Bryan’s blog. I’m glad I chose to read more than a few of the posts shared there. :-)

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  • http://www.joshlanger.com Josh

    In our modern “worship” music we have drifted into a false, poetic, and God-degrading authenticity that isn’t healthy for the church. We need to define what worship really is and the purpose for the church. When you’re in a counseling session, yes by all means, PLEASE be honest and authentic so that you can be helped and prayed for; deal with issues and don’t be pretentious. But when you’re in worship it is about GOD and GOD alone…praise doesn’t build up God, but builds up our confidence in Him. Healthy worship is found in a faith expression even in the midst of challenges. Saying “GOD YOU ARE GREAT” in the midst of difficulties and hardship has nothing to do with not being authentic, but it is actually what will bring us back to reality.

  • http://www.susanisaacs.net Susan

    Oh my gosh, did I relate to this. On the other side, I go to a liturgical church now, and sometimes the songs are soul-numbing. Every once and a while I find myself missing Chris Tomlin. But then again it’s not about how hip or cool the music is, or how rock star the sermon is. “The purpose of the liturgy is to protect the congregation from the pastor.” Thanks for posting this.

    • Addie Zierman

      I can see that. It seems like on of those things that’s hard to balance…like it often veers one direction or the other. Such an interesting idea of liturgy protecting congregation from the pastor. I’m going to have to mull that one over. Thanks for the great thoughts!

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