Katy Perry's song Roar hit the airwaves en force last month. Since then it has become an anthem for discouraged, seemingly-defeated-but-resilient people everywhere. Just yesterday Richard showed me a YouTube video with kids in a children's hospital lip-syncing to this song. There's no way around it--I'm inspired.
Given my 'no love' stance toward Taylor Swift, you might assume Katy Perry was on my 'do not listen' list as well. But you'd be wrong. If I were interviewing nannies, I would go with Taylor, but otherwise--Katy's my girl. I can't help it. She has talent and soul. And, every once in a while I see remnants of holy in her.
With the release of her new album, Prism, this week she's been widely interviewed about the inspiration for her songs. It doesn't take a degree in poetry to gather that she's writing about a time of difficulty in her life. In her interviews she confirms that she went through a period that took a toll on her self esteem. But it was out of that darkness that Roar was birthed. (Apparently hyper-sexuality was also part of the healing process, but I'll leave that alone for now.)
As a woman who has a daughter and who works with women leaders to help them find their voice, Roar should be my theme song. You can't hold me down! I'm a fighter! You hear my voice...like thunder, gonna shake the ground! I'm a champion! Roar!
But I tell you...
There's only one problem. God isn't asking me to roar. I'm not saying that having some fight isn't often what's called for, I'm simply observing that the way of Jesus is, more often than not, a much quieter path.
Today I wanted to roar. I'm physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted. As I meditated and prayed this morning I secretly hoped I would emerge from this time feeling energetic and ready to take on the world. After all, isn't that how the agreement works? I plug into the power source of the Holy Spirit and, just like my iPhone in the morning, I leave fully charged and ready for another day of productive activity?
I'm currently taking a class on the Disciplines of the Spirit and one of our textbooks is a favorite of mine...The Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Calhoun. This week we completed a brief assessment designed to surface where God might desire to shape us. I faithfully completed the assessment and moved on to the reflection questions. What I hoped would come out in my reflection was a sense of deep rest and encouragement. I found myself drawn to the disciplines of Sabbath and listening to God.
Inwardly I crouched, waiting for my time to roar.
And then, he spoke.
"Kelli, ask a friend to show you your blind spots."
"Kelli, you've wounded another friend. Ask for forgiveness."
So, let me clarify. I feel tired and vulnerable and God wants me to invite someone to point out areas of weakness of which I'm blissfully unaware. And then he wants me to admit to another that I've neglected our friendship.
Just what I was hoping for.
This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:
After accepting his invitation I am more amazed at God's faithfulness and grace. But I do not feel like roaring. On the contrary, I feel more dependent, quieter, still tender.
I love Katy Perry, but, for now, she'll have to roar without me.
First of all, I am a hypocrite. I am going to talk about Sabbath, all while it appears I may be violating mine. I'm not quite sure. But just in case, I'll make it short.
I'm writing this post to save myself. I need a reminder of the need for Sabbath--an intentional, regular rhythm of resting, ceasing, feasting and embracing.
A subtle shift has occurred in my life over the last month. I am now fully engaged in my new life. I'm busy. And panicked. And at the core I believe the lie that I will need to keep working harder and faster in order to do everything God has for me to do.
photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/raoulpop/477873603/">Raoul Pop</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/">cc</a>
I've got it backwards.
There is a subtle shift that needs to take place in my thinking. (Subtle shifts can go both ways.) Marva Dawn explains it so eloquently in her book The Sense of the Call.
"...glorious patterns repeated in the creation liturgy of Genesis 1...suggest that, rather than working our heads off to gain some days of holiday, we rest first and then, out of the Joy of that rest, work for the next six days. Grace reclaims us first, and out of its freedom we respond with our work."
Sabbath is the beginning, the gift--not the end.
So here I am--blogging on Sunday.
I haven't decided if this is work or rest. Now that I'm a writer (apparently, if you write stuff, you can call yourself a writer), the line is a bit blurred. The act of writing isn't the issue, it's the motive. Part of blogging these days is to continue to develop my craft, to tell the story of God in my life and encourage the heart of the Saints. All good things. But they do not fall under the category of Sabbath. Writing is something I do "the rest of the week". And, even as I pen this it seems glaringly clear that practicing a ceasing of writing would make for more substantive, Spirit-directed content during the week.
Don't forget the feasting.
Since it's not just about ceasing, but about fully enjoying God, I can enter in to truly renewing activity. A walk along the ocean, a nap, a good book, a drive through the redwoods, good music, a glass of wine, ice cream, phone calls to family and friends.
No Excuses! If you're like me, you've already dismissed this idea as a good idea, but not really practical. There is simply too much to do. Women are notorious for the this excuse--"I can't relax if I know there is work to be done!" How ridiculous! There is always work to be done.
But more importantly, there is always time to accomplish what God has called us to do--including his call to Sabbath. Do you believe that? I think I do, but it's largely untested in my life. So I'm committing to take one action--I won't blog on Sunday. Frankly, that's a small sacrifice (I'll write it on Saturday and schedule the publication for Sunday), but it's a step toward trust. And obedience. And freedom. And rest. What is God inviting you to? I'd love to hear about it.
Kelli is a writer, speaker and consultant equipping leaders for a deepening intimacy with Christ, greater impact in ministry and more effective intentionality in all of life.
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