Being an extreme extrovert, I have found that expressing myself in a meaningful and deep way has always come easier in songwriting than anywhere else. So, I have tried to foster a weekly rhythm of writing at least one day a week, a practical step I was challenged to take by 10,000 Fathers worship school. As was my custom on Thursdays I left my office, with my guitar in tow, and took an elevator to the second floor of the building I worked in. The elevator doors slowly slid open and I made my way down the hall to the classroom where I usually wrote. Often on my short pilgrimage to this writing spot I would have a lyric or melody in my head and some sort of outline or note in my phone about the direction of a song. However, on this particular day I had nothing, no direction and no real plan. I was just going to start playing and see what happened, not exactly the recipe for a productive writing session. Finally, I reached the sunlit classroom I called home several hours a week, and settled in.
There is something visceral about pressing your finger against a taught guitar string, something spiritual in listening as well designed wood fills silent space with melody.
The beauty of music can pull us gently to the present and as I started to play my breathing deepened, my restless heart and mind fell into repose, and in the clarity of the present I began asking the Holy Spirit to speak.
The art of being present to the Lord is a central theme of 10,000 fathers track intensives and every morning we would begin the day by meditating on scripture and being present to God’s presence. As I started to reflect on my current season of life all of my deficiencies and shortcomings flooded my being. The weight of fear, shame, and condemnation burdened my soul, and in a moment of vulnerable transparency I remember saying to God, “I feel like Your ashamed of me, and You should be, I fail You more times than not.”
This confession unlocked something inside of me. For years, as I would feel this sense of inadequacy throughout my journey with God, I would either ignore it or distract myself with an endless involvement in perpetual next. But, in this moment I chose to engage the painful reality of my present self-rejection and in doing so allowed the Holy Spirit to speak truth into and over my broken perceptions of both the Father and myself.
As the afternoon passed, and my heart stirred with stories, melody, and rhythm, the Holy Spirit began to speak a phrase over the everything I was experiencing, “Your grace is so much greater than all of my failures, Your love is running deeper, than the stain of my sin.”
I felt the liberating echo of God’s truth in the depths of my soul. This was the Lord’s declaration over my earlier confession of inadequacy! He had revealed the shame I was feeling for what it was, a lie. When God looks at me and you He is not ashamed, He rejoices over us. As Henri Nouwen would say, “We are the beloved of God, in whom he is well pleased.” So where do these paralyzing lies come from? My time with 10,000 Fathers has been so important in helping me recognize the truth that the Father is speaking over the lie of the enemy. Every lie that infects and affects our heart and well-being comes from him. Revelation 12:10 describes him as ‘the accuser of the brethren,’ and he wants us to live as slaves to fear and self-condemnation so that we will not walk in the full authority of our calling.
God is always speaking truth to and over us, whether we are living on the mountain full of faith, or wandering in the valley of self-rejection and condemnation.
The grace and mercy of God are always greater than our failures and even our victories. His perfect love that abides with us and relentlessly pursues us is always running deeper, further and faster than we can. We have to keep reminding ourselves that God is always good, all His ways are kind, and even when we feel like more times than not we fail Him and that we are unworthy to be called the beloved of God; nothing we do or is done against us can separate us from His love and mercy.
This post is written by Heath Williams