Ramblings Of The Heart

I’ve been stuck in a writing rut recently – hence few new publications in the last couple months. There are many factors at play – a new relationship, an increasingly crappy laptop, and general insecurities that deter me from sharing my heart publicly.

In the past it’s become apparent that as a writer, sometimes you have to press through and just start writing. So that’s what I’m doing right now. Starting to write, and hoping that what comes forth from my fingertips makes some sort of impact on your hearts, or at least challenges you to think a little bit more.

Fair warning – there’s a lot on my mind, so this will be one of those hodgepodge blogs where you’re like, “Wow – Justin thinks too much.” Click to the exit button now while you still can.

First off, I never knew it was physically possible to miss another human-being so much when they’re not right there beside you. Dating Katie has been such an excellent blessing in my life and only as ‘time-consuming’ as I’ve allowed it to be – because I just freaking love spending time with her. She’s the gentlest, sweetest girl I’ve met and certainly “a looker” as some would say. I’m a man of great relational wealth.

Relationships, however, open up your eyes to your general insecurities. With my heart quite tethered to hers now, it makes me a lot more vulnerable. An available heart is a vulnerable one – and our hearts have become very available to one another. Therefore, it makes our words, actions, and body-language all the more potent. I’ve been on a huge learning-curve (as this is my first serious dating relationship) and made a lot of mistakes and she’s been incredibly gracious and patient with me. The bottom line – loving someone is hard, but we’d gladly tell you it’s been worth it.

One area of insecurity that I’ve been wrestling through is the inability to control the future, or predict what will happen. “Will we fall out of love?” (Whatever the heck that means…) “Will I remain attractive to her?” “Am I too much?” (The answer to this one, is probably “yes” most of the time. But she endures the race with perseverance. Ha!)

And then there’s been non-relationship-related insecurity, such as, “When will a more lucrative opportunity open up within my company (or elsewhere)?” “When will I start seeing progress towards some of the goals I’ve set for myself?” “What truly makes me an adult?” “What defines me as a man?” #LifesManyQuestions

It’s been angst-filled season of life. I haven’t come across an “Adult Life for Dummies” manual yet, but if I were the author, it’d have “25 – The Hardest Mental Year Of Your Life” as one of the titles. The quarter-life crisis is a very real thing. I’m well into the second quarter of my life with very little to show for it. These are the defining years – what will a healthy definition of “success” look like for me? When I’m in the reflecting years of my life – what will I look back upon and be proud of? How can I actively provide for a family someday? How do I plan to become more independent for myself right now? Honestly – all of these questions – can cause me a great deal of anxiety sometimes, because I don’t often feel like I have the answers.

Then there’s been the issue of the spiritual. I feel it’s been a particularly dry season of life when it comes to my Christian faith. I’m beyond the point in life where happy-go-lucky platitudes will suffice and frustrated with the politics of the capital-C, Church, in general. “Our way is better than yours” and “if they’re gonna be ‘missional’, then we’re gonna be focused on growth for the ‘mature’ believers”. I empathize with the concerns expressed by the homosexual community – and wonder how one protects the sanctity of marriage, while also loving their neighbor. It’s all quite complicated and I find most of us (including myself) are far too quick to judge and cast out others for their differences. I understand that group dynamics dictate that there be common goals, objectives, and beliefs, but I wonder what a collective group of loving, faith-based individuals really looks like. Has the American church figured it out yet? How does the Church look more like a loving family and less like a politically oriented campaign – often backstabbing one another? I also deeply desire to see the power of the Cross at work – the gifts of the spirit readily available and shining light into darkness – but at the same time I’m weary of the hype created by charismatic groups like IHOPKC, etc. and the dangers involved with making that the primary focus.

Despite the build of deterrents within my heart toward the Church, I concede that there is a desperate need for community within the heart of man – what more healthy place can that be found than within the context of Christ’s love and the church. I also concede and find myself awestruck to the compelling and gravitational pull of God’s immense power as displayed by my Good Friday thoughts on social-media this morning:

“Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two.” (Matthew 27:50a) The symbolism here is potent – now ANYONE can stand before the Father, because Jesus is mediating on their behalf. “…The earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened…” (27:50b) His glory could not be contained.

Finally, despite my inner frustrations/critical-thinking about the world, I’ve increasingly seen the value of friendships within my life. There are people in my life that I can talk with about anything and they’ll LISTEN. They have no agenda – item they’re selling, idea they’re pushing, or want they’re vetting for – they simply love me. And I very much love them. For the few and proud close confidants – thanks for your unwavering support and increasingly valuable depth.

Wrestling Through Life With You,

Justin Meyer

Questions

Christmas Grace

The baby wasn’t the one that was helpless that night. We were.” – Louie Giglio.

Are there any truer words? Something comes with age – a certain understanding of the depth of the world’s struggles. Yes, I’m not 50 (shout-out to my parents about to have their 50th Birthdays), but I am nearing my 25th year on this earth. So I don’t get to play the youth/young-adult card anymore.  And I’ve learned much more than it may appear.

Have you ever walked into a coffee-shop or bar and seen the light gone from someone’s eyes? I have. In fact, I’ve been there – in that spot, where darkness has washed over and there seems to be no light in sight.

That’s the state of the world – in all of its drunken endeavors and pursuits, for more.

The thing is, until Jesus entered the equation, we were all helpless to that pursuit.

The “pursuit of happiness” was all that we had.

But now that He is, indeed, here. Our world collides with an awe-striking phenomenon called grace. Not just any world leader (King, President, Pope, etc.), but the King of Kings and LORD of Lords, entering the world in the form of a baby – a “helpless babe” and yet we are still the helpless ones.

We were helpless in our pursuits of better selves; helpless to addictions and the seeking out of immediately self-gratifying pleasure; helpless even to see the light.

So God sent a Helper.

The prophecies had been told and the Old Testament’s promises held onto dearly, but the world was losing hope. Little did they know that evening in Bethlehem that their prayers had been answered in the filth of a stable. I can barely drive past a farm on the outskirts of Olathe, KS without rolling up my window and holding my nose. But wise men and king’s men and others came far and wide to see this baby – in this barn.

And there was hope – so much hope – more hope than any present there had experienced in their lifetime. Prophecies could be fulfilled and prayers could be answered.

Joy filled the Heavens and angels lit up the skies. Heaven met earth. Light overwhelmed darkness. And death began to lose its sting.

On this day, I remember. On this day, you remember. Our minds are redirected to this precious gift. The gracious outreach from Heaven into the midst of our longing and directionless endeavor.

This Christmas, be still and know that He is God. Tomorrow, wake up grateful for immeasurable grace that you and I could be forgiven. More so than that – we could be redeemed.

There will be some of you (perhaps even myself) that struggle to find the Christmas Spirit and Light in the midst of an internal war. But together, we can find joy in the remembrance of renewed hope in something far more powerful than ourselves.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Christmas Grace

Dare to Dream

Jesus always concerned himself with the heart and the depths of a man’s soul, yet rather than follow suit, we tend to focus on tweaking behaviors. Under the guise of a “fixed” exterior, the interior (heart/soul) may lay in ruins, and perhaps no one would ever know.

Because, at our current social state, it would be “better” for his esteemed social “resume” to appear “good”, rather than real. And heaven forbid, his real, just might be broken. Perhaps, for a season, even bad.

It would be interesting to dream of a church and its’ esteemed individuals fueled by a deep love, rather than a rattling fear of not measuring up to the esteemed expectations of family/friends/pastors – to be driven by a real relationship with the Cross.

I simply dare to dream that perhaps our attitudes toward church – perhaps our uptight nature toward dealing with one another’s quirks, faults, and brokenness just might be faulty. I cannot see how keeping people’s questions at bay is of help, or how keeping “the worldly” out of our lives could be of any value. Did not Jesus, Himself, hang out, almost exclusively (aside from his disciples) with the downtrodden and uncertain – the unabashedly sinful? Even more so, he almost taunted the Pharisees for their esteemed “perfection” – they had an attitude that if everything on the outside was clean and in good condition, then they were good. Yet, Jesus still points to their hearts…

Let’s say, for example, that one is struggling with doubts about the Sovereignty of God. Presently, due to the social pressures and expectations of others, it would be much easier for him to remain quiet and to pretend that he was not struggling. But wouldn’t it be healthier not only for that individual, but also for the body (Church) as a whole, to work through those questions, together?

But then the Attitude of Answers come into play. You, yourself, have never struggled with “doubts about Sovereignty”, so you have all of the illustrations, references, and words to assist this “lost” man. At the heart of you desire to help, is it that you really esteem the best-interests of the confused man, or is it that you’ve longed for a position of authority over another? I can honestly answer that I’ve been on both sides of the spectrum – the latter obviously being unhealthy and often hurtful for both parties involved.

It would simply be interesting to go into a deep conversation with another without the attitude of “who will win?” Perhaps it would be better for us to admit that we do not always have the answers. Or that, even if/when we do, might it just be better to walk alongside another as they wrestle – rather than pressing, pulling, and torquing their heart to match out predispositions?

What a joyous and connecting conversation it might be if we allowed ourselves a level playing-field, without the ideal that someone is an outsider (i.e. I visit with a prostitute and strike up a conversation – why can I not converse as their equal as opposed to their superior?). Imagine the dramatically different friendships we might have.

“Flame” (my previous post/poem) was my heart’s cry for this attitude of transparency and realness among the Church, and even across the (“worldly”) community as a whole.

“I’ve hungered for this honesty,
The honest me.
Better to admit your doubt,
Than to fake it out.
Better to share your hurt and uncertainty,
Than to feign joy and assurance – see?”

So, I dare to dream of a body of believers that wrestle together – that dare to share their faults without shaking in fear of the condemnation that may come their way. I dare to wonder what it might be like if I’d come to the Word out of a desire for hope and love, rather than in submission due to fear/anxiety.

What if someone said, “Hey guys, I haven’t really been able to see the Lord working in my life lately. It feels like my prayers aren’t being heard.” – and the Church’s response was, “Tell us more – I think I’ve been through that before as well.” It would seem to me, to be a much more welcoming, even helpful, approach than to simply dig deep into the purse of verse-memorization and hyper-spiritual sentiments.

This is what I’m wrestling through – thanks for learning with me. Will you also dare to dream?

dream

Unveiled

Is it truly living if only half

Of who you are sees the light?

The other half sits in darkness on behalf

Of the hideousness associated with it, what a fright!

 

If people knew you struggled with this

And have a history with that.

How could you possibly be His?

You are repulsive like fat.

 

Blemishes and scars appear

People run and people hide

Cannot stand what they see in the mirror

As they struggle with too much pride.

 

It’s not true, it couldn’t possibly be

That these imperfections and things unseen

Could possibly belong to one like me.

 

Unable to comprehend the notion

That He would love you unconditionally

Leads to empty hearts and lack of emotion

As your lives continue dysfunctional.

 

Imprisoned by fear of being found out

You hide behind walls of busyness

While the Evil One pounds out

Every ounce of strength you have in business.

 

Around “churchy-folk” you’re righteous,

Outside that circle you’re restless

Uncertain whether or not Christ is

Worth all the effort and investments…

 

Folks, it’s time to wipe off the makeup,

Let things unknown come to light,

Remove yourselves from darkness, wake up!

Haven’t your teachers taught you left from right?

 

The Lover is concerned with your heart,

Do not concern yourselves with outer things,

They will only distract and tear your apart,

From the One who gives flight to your wings.

 

Child, are you not tired of running and hiding?

Run to the Father and allow yourself to seek refuge,

No need to remain independent and continue backsliding,

I hear His Love for you and me is rather HUGE!

 

Here’s the deal, the time has come

For you and I, alike and different

To remove our veils and give Him all, not some.

 

Father is not interested in half of your cup,

He already drank it all.

Lay down your pride and lift up

Your faults to the One who delivers us from the fall!

 

Daily you’ll need Him, as do I

Discontinue pretending it is possible alone

Don’t even begin to try

The task is an absolutely colossal one.

 

It is time; we’ve reached the conclusion,

Remove religious makeup, tear away veils,

Authentic hearts and Jesus Christ is the solution,

He is the one to bring momentum to your sails!

Confessions

What good is teaching if the teacher himself is disobedient? If my view is that all should share the Gospel with exuberant joy and unbridled fervor, then shouldn’t I act upon that view? Absolutely! If a politician takes a stance on an issue of political interest, but does not act upon that stance, they are immediately slammed with being hypocritical and lose a decent amount of support and influence.

Last night I laid awake way after I had wanted to be asleep and felt God challenging me in a number of ways. I’d like to share them with you and I pray that this would benefit the Body of Christ, regardless of whether or not I lose face. The following passage from Micah is my prayer as I share these confessions…

“Do not gloat over me, my enemy!
Though I have fallen, I will rise.
Though I sit in darkness,
the LORD will be my light.
9 Because I have sinned against him,
I will bear the LORD’s wrath,
until he pleads my case
and upholds my cause.
He will bring me out into the light;
I will see his righteousness.
10 Then my enemy will see it
and will be covered with shame,
she who said to me,
“Where is the LORD your God?”
My eyes will see her downfall;
even now she will be trampled underfoot
like mire in the streets.” (Micah 7:8-10)

My Confessions

Confession #1: Let’s talk about the number one sin that men struggle with: LUST

If you’re a guy, then you understand entirely. If you’re a woman, then I’ve learned recently that this struggle is real for you as well. Although, truly, I can’t bring myself to believe that it would be to the same degree. Regardless, it is prevalent. It is real. And it is something that I struggle with. I have been taught well, resourced well, and given some of the best counters that Christian society has to offer: “Bounce your eyes…memorize Scripture….use accountability software….” Yet, even with all of these excellent tools and resources, the Evil One still manages to make me fall.

Confession #2: Evangelism

If you’ve been a reader of mine over the last month or two, you will have read “Shock and Awe”, a powerful story about God at work within Starbucks. I was presented with an opportunity to pray for and share my faith with a random stranger who desperately needed Jesus. Many of you responded with enthusiasm and excitement over my service of the Lord. However, I am saddened to inform you that other than a few minor encounters with friends, I haven’t shared my faith within anyone outside my comfort-zone since then. Today, I boldly stated on social media the following:

“What is the worst thing that could happen if you shared your faith in Christ with the next person you saw? Rejection? Why would that matter? You are ACCEPTED in the Kingdom of God! Christ reigns!…Also, the Great Commission is a command from God, the One whom we proclaim (right?), so you AND I need to stop treating it like a suggestion.” (My Facebook, March 12th)

The above statement is 100% true. Yet, I have not lived in light of it. I, myself, am scared and see myself as incapable of effectively presenting the good news to my peers. How ridiculously hypocritical of me…So, I will be working on sharing the love of Christ with others this week, so please pray for God’s grace and sovereignty over this aspect of my walk with Him. I cannot be selfish and with-hold such a valuable and precious revelation from those God brings me into interaction with!

Confession #3: Lacking Faith in Grace

The title of my blog is “Embracing God’s Grace”. I fully believe the grace of the Lord is REAL. Very real. I am a strong advocate of its’ power to wash over and redeem the lives of those I encounter each day. In fact, I do everything in my power to accurately teach on and encourage my friends in this area. As I know the LORD’s love, forgiveness, and ability to redeem and heal is so evidently available to them.

I bring your attention, however, to the fact that I often believe it is not available to me. There are days when I am convinced by The Accuser that I am unworthy of such a beautiful and divine gift. “How could someone like you, Justin, still be used by the LORD? Your efforts to shine light upon His Kingdom are worthless.” Are these lies? Certainly. Do I still buy into them sometimes? Unfortunately, yes.

Concluding Remarks

I felt led by the LORD to confess these things to my peers. Why? I am not sure. It certainly removes pride from my heart, as I am NOT proud of what I’ve told you. Also, bringing things into the light removes the darkness, and can be used to strengthen the Body of Christ. Which is my end goal, certainly.

Also, by bringing these things to the light, I hope to strengthen my walk with the Lord and take further steps toward obedience that I may be a more effective servant of His!

I request that you would all consider lifting me up in prayer as I seek the LORD’s will on my life over many things. And of course, over the redemption from the aforementioned confessions. And finally, feel free to bless me with any insight that you may have, or share with me how I can join in praying over your current struggles.

Humbled By His Sovereignty,

Justin Meyer

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16)

Won’t You?

Won’t you come find me at the bottom of the well?

Won’t you search for me and break the spell?

Won’t you rescue me from this hell?

Won’t you restore me to where you dwell?

Won’t you make my heart beat once again?

Won’t you remind Satan it’s you that wins?

Won’t you take my hand and walk with me?

Won’t you take my soul and set it free?

Won’t you renew a shattered spirit?

Won’t you allow the broken hearts to hear it?

Won’t you use me to share the news?

Won’t you use me to break old views?

Won’t you come back now, mighty to save?

Won’t you snatch hearts out of the grave?

Won’t you answer prayers from the weak?

Won’t you restore my friends that are meek?

Won’t you remember the promises you made?

Won’t you give us rest under your angel wing’s shade?

Won’t you meet me, here where I stand?

Won’t you save Abraham’s descendants; as grains of sand?

Won’t you answer these questions that fright?

Won’t you open our eyes and give them sight?

Won’t you quiet my soul and give me rest?

Won’t you hear the cries of my heaving chest?

Heartbreak’s Redemption

I wrote this poem toward the beginning of the academic year and haven’t yet published it for the blogging world and/or peers who perhaps do not follow my Facebook page as frequently as I post things. Many of us are burdened with broken hearts, but I assure you that there is redemption; “Heartbreak’s Redemption”:

You start cursing and hating

While your heart starts debatin’

With your friends ya start tradin’

Stories of men you’re hatin’

 

Da boys have done it again

Slept with other women for the ‘win’…

But they lost you! And your hearts crushed.

Ya still remember when he made ya blush

The physicality was sorta rushed

He kept your heart’s shame hushed.

 

Do you know if you keep it bottled,

Then one day unquenchable rage will follow?

 

Your hearts been betrayed,

Mind and soul dismayed.

“Am I too unattractive…

Is that why he was distracted?”

 

Your heart wants to be accepted

But once again ya feel rejected.

 

Trampled under arrogance…

They’ll receive their inheritance…

 

Shall their lives remain unchanged

And their loveless heart’s lust inflamed,

Then there’s no doubt in my mind

That Hell’s fire will swallow them from behind!

 

God’s wrath won’t satisfy

Nor will it rectify

The you that was dropped…

In a relationship that was stopped

At a pin-drop/ tick tock

 

Time’s running out to keep your attention

I’m aware this creates a lotta tension.

 

So here’s the truth…

 

You’re shattered.

The words he said never mattered

Used you and your battered

Your heart’s garments tattered.

 

But haven’t you heard?

I know it’s absurd!

Your Father died for you!

He created and adores you!

 

Knows your heart best

So please sit down and rest

Take the burdens on your chest

And place them at Jesus’ feet!

He’ll protect your heart with His fleet!

 

His vessels abound

And ready to surround

Your heart with undying love

Bought by Christ’s blood.

 

Walk towards His light…

And watch your dark days turn bright.

Well I hope that you were able to find the message within and that your heart’s were touched by the beautiful truth that there is redemption to be found in Christ’s love for us. I also pray and hope that this artistic way of demonstrating God’s unfathomable love for us will truly penetrate your hearts to the core and that you will consider allowing Him the chance to turn your dark days bright. Blessings friends!