Saturday, March 18, 2017

Building a Better Love

My life is defined by songs. Seriously. There are entire years of my life that can be defined by songs. Sometimes happy, sometimes sad, sometimes defiant; there was the year when "King of Anything" by Sara Bareilles was my anthem, which can tell you a lot about the person I was dealing the most at the time. Other years it's been stuff from Broadway, or the year the "Hey There, Delilah" and "Bubbles" took over the girls dorms at college as everyone sighed at the idyllic relationship goals.

Last year, I came across this song. I'd heard it a few times before, but it wasn't until the 4th of July weekend when I went up to my camp for "a day" (four days) and was able to participate in a number of worship sessions that really broke down some pretty gnarly brick walls I'd been trying to dismantle with a spoon (at least, that's what it felt like). 

I suppose I should stop here to explain that I am a pretty charismatic Christian, on the spectrum of the faith. I don't usually go into the full measure of my beliefs, but I think it's important here. I believe in radical love that can literally heal emotional wounds that have been left gaping open, bleeding on everything in your life. I believe that the Holy Spirit can sweep in and set your body, soul, and spirit straight in an instant if you let her. I believe that God speaks to me through a variety of means, and sometimes I know things that are impossible to know about others because something in the back of my mind whispered it to me. I believe that God didn't stop doing revolutionary miracles in the first century, He does them on a daily basis right now. I believe that the reason He still does all these amazing, incomprehensible things is because He loves us more than we have the capacity to know.

So back to the song. The thing about God's love is that we filter our perception of it through our own understandings of love. It's natural. You have lenses that you have adopted as you go through life, and there's really no getting around it. So there gets to be a lot of really unloving versions of Jesus running around the Church, and much of that gets passed on to how we love others, because after all the second greatest commandment in the New Convenant is to love your neighbor as yourself. As I've said before (and I will say many, many more times) if we don't love ourselves well, we are going to do a really poor job of loving our neighbor, no matter how hard we try. 

I'm hardline about very, very few things in my Christian faith. I'm a recovering know-it-all, so I do my best to debate rather than argue, and present my beliefs as just that, my beliefs without any expectation that whoever is listening will agree. God's Love is the thing that I will fight anyone on. (and by fight, I mean pray unceasingly that you will let Him show you how much He loves you) It is God's identity to love, and He spells out what that looks like in no uncertain terms in 1 Corinthians 13, and a variety of other places. 

This song is called "Pieces." It was written by Amanda Cook, of Bethel, but the best-known version of it is sung by Steffany Gretzinger. I love Steffany's version, because she has a rawness to her voice that really cuts me to the core in the best way possible. Also, it's the one that first got through to me.

This song is brilliant in that it calls out a lot of the misconceptions about God's love that we carry with us every day. Today, I was again reminded how many of those I still had hanging on in my life, and went through another session of telling the lies to take a hike. So now I'm playing this song on repeat to drive in the Truth.

I invite you to listen to this song and read the lyrics. Listen to what His love is, and find the places in your life where that understanding hasn't reached yet. Like I said, he'll heal you. If anyone wants to know how I will gladly walk you through it via any messaging service you prefer. 

Unreserved, unrestrained
Your love is wild
Your love is wild for me
It isn't shy, it's unashamed
Your love is proud
To be seen with me

You don't give Your heart in pieces
You don't hide Yourself to tease us

Uncontrolled, uncontained
Your love is a fire
Burning bright for me
It's not just a spark
It's not just a flame
Your love is a light
That all the world will see
All the world will see

You don't give Your heart in pieces
You don't hide Yourself to tease us
You don't give Your heart in pieces
You don't hide Yourself to tease us

Your love's not fractured
It's not a troubled mind
It isn't anxious
It's not the restless kind
Your love's not passive
It's never disengaged
It's always present
It hangs on every word we say
Love keeps its promises
It keep its word
It honors what's sacred
'Cause its vows are good
Your love's not broken
It's not insecure
Your love's not selfish
Your love is pure

You don't give Your heart in pieces
You don't hide Yourself to tease us
You don't give Your heart in pieces
You don't hide Yourself to tease us

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