The Unfiltered Nuisances of a 20 Something:
Series of Spoken Word Excerpts
By: Alex Warren
Copyright © 2016 Alexandria Warren
Distributed by Shakespir.
All Rights Reserved.
So why did I write and publish an ebook? I know it seems random because I’m no author. I’m just a kid trying to do this whole adult thing. This is probably the shortest book you’ll ever read but it is comprised of six spoken word excerpts that I’ve written this summer, this is not a book by definition but a way in which I can articulate this journey that I feel a lot of us share or have shared. Feel free to join the poetic expression of perspective vulnerability that comes with this thing called growth. This is dedicated to anyone who has ever struggled or has ever wanted to be someone beyond oneself. Hope it encourages you, stimulates your brain, your heart and gets you thinking about some Jesus stuff.
I. The Disconnect:
Already we seem to be phased by preconceived notions that have been sculpted by the shallow grip of society’s expectations and the opinions of others. Seemingly desensitized to faulty influences, to the point where we no longer feel alarmed or the need to protect ourselves from the things that compromise who we are. You see there’s this void within us that we can’t even detect because we’ve been blinded to it for so long. A void, that gets filled by the media and empty relationships that we entertain, which sometimes drain us. And in turn we adapt to this feeling of tiredness, we disconnect and forget to finish the things and dreams that we were once so passionate about. We forget to look back and see how far God actually brought us. There’s this sense of tunnel vision that comes with being disconnected where we can only see the lack of everything we want to accomplish ahead of us and nothing is ever produced. We settle in complacency and abandon what actually matters, losing sight of our identity—simultaneously disconnecting from the path God intended for us. We disconnect so deeply until it becomes this normal routine, shrouded by clouds of denial. Its in this moment of complete blindness where one discovers the need to be filled not by what is familiar but by who God is, that desperate need to have Him fill every crevice of our hearts in complete trust, to connect with everything that was intended for us from the very beginning. Yet we feel this resistance inside because being connected means lack of control, and sometimes we don’t know how to feel when there’s such a huge space for the unknown to play out in our lives. Its as if settling is a better cop out than complete commitment because it feels “safe”. But is it really? Is it really safe to place limitations on God and try to show Him how we think our lives should go, knowing fully well that we have no clue what we are doing? To know of our lack of understanding is so much better than to have a self-sufficient level of understanding. Because inevitably we will fail, we’re human and we’re flawed. We drop the ball countless times and could never be enough on our own. But its when we really lean in to connecting with everything that God is where we find the resonating truth-- that with God there’s always victory, there’s always something more.
II. Numb Realization:
When we wake up noticing the shifts that occur within oneself during a deep-rooted conviction we begin to long for something more than the dull routine that bears no pursuit. We realize the blankness of complacency that has vacated our hearts and we see the need to remove it. The baggage of unhealed hurts, insecurities and lack of understanding leave us feeling numb but still we realize. We realize our lack and our need for God. Our need to find ourselves and to center our value on the core of who He is. Our need to live a life of love and to do beyond ourselves. Our need to live a life fulfilled. Numb realizations begin to thaw out as we allow God to expose us to the warm rays of His unparalleled love, and real vision starts to form. Real God dreams begin to stir within our hearts as we turn our conviction to action. That action in turn developing character, ultimately leading us to the identity we were intended to walk in all along. Numb realizations leading us to elevations of new ground, where we walk in unfamiliar territory yet our hearts are sound. Our hearts are sound because we know the God who has us, the God who is in control every step of the way. The God who gives us the security of knowing everything will be okay. Numb realizations revealing the derivations of our pain, stripping away old bandages we used for coping with past due baggage, giving way for true healing, no longer gambling with life’s games. Numb realizations prompting God’s divine activation over the promises He has for our lives, enabling us to access all God has for us. Numb realizations… apparent when weary…showing us the brokenness that is needed just to see clearly.
They say that ignorance is bliss, but is it really? Is it really okay to miss God’s promises because we refuse to turn our heads and look at the truth of who we are supposed to be? Is it okay to keep our eyes closed as tight as we can so that we don’t have to see the obedience that is expected of us? Is it okay to pretend like we are not awake so that we can continue to sleep through the tremors of life that just so happen to challenge us and make us feel uncomfortable? What is it that creates the urgency within one to actually grow? Maybe it’s getting a glimpse of what could be, or maybe its just being tired and ready for change. Ultimately it dwindles down to the realization that its time to wake up from living a passive life of comfortable sleeping. Its time to stop settling for what is easy and convenient. There’s no cutting corners in this beautiful life that God has graced us with, and to be quite frank, there’s no way we can experience the beauty of this life in its entirety without openness to the challenge. It starts with removing the box that we so quickly place God in, often subconsciously. It starts with a look in the mirror as we identify and accept our many weaknesses and decide that we want to function outside of our limitations. It starts when we choose to be awake, when we choose to actively engage in this life, and make something of it. When we choose to surrender ourselves to a state in which we are fully aware of God’s presence and fully aware of our smallness. How much have we missed in our attempts to be passive, safe and well liked? What is waiting on the other side of our obedience?
When we awaken is there peace or chaos? I think that these two go hand in hand. Each places demands on the other and in turn each exists, creating this glaring contradiction, which reminds us of how much we hate the confliction we feel within ourselves. How is it that peace can exist in chaos, how can one feel such stillness in the midst of such a lack of control? Is it even possible to look beyond the heaviness of such burdens? We know its possible, yet we still ask. Maybe it’s the stretching, the pulling, the fighting, the sacrifice it takes to actually allow God’s peace into our lives and maintain it. Maybe it’s the fact that we’re human and we constantly get distracted by our worries that simultaneously disable us from walking in faith and enable us to settle for a life of mediocrity and comfort. What is it that we want in this life? Because we were created for far more than “comfort” ,yet not created to be consumed by our issues. Our culture is one that conditions us to expect everything to be easy, as if everything should be handed to us, and wouldn’t that be great. But there’s a bigger picture here, one in which we are being challenged to be still in the midst of whatever is surrounding us. We are being challenged as children of God to go deeper, to not be so dependent on what it looks like but to actually discover the depths of who God is as He shows Himself to be greater than the adversity we face. And what a contradiction that is. It makes us realize that this whole walk with God thing isn’t just some hyped up bundle of emotions, but that sometimes those emotions won’t be there. Sometimes we won’t see what God sees. We realize that God goes deeper than our limited understanding and pulls out this genuine faith from within us that reveals the true commitment of our walk with Him. In turn meeting us in our weakness, as He is strong for us.
V. Puzzle Pieces:
It’s easy to paint a canvas of our own. Easy to articulate what it is and what we are painting it to be because the paintbrush is in our hand. But what about when we’re the canvas and we realize this life is not ours? When we realize we’re more than just a canvas but a puzzle piece to this massive picture that surpasses our deepest comprehension. The beauty of being a creation in the hands of a creator, pieced together for a specific purpose. Puzzle pieces that align perfectly together for a purpose greater than oneself. We weren’t designed to fit into some self-proclaimed mold or even society’s mold for us. We’re so much more than that. Created with the utmost intentionality of a divine God that absolutely wants the best for us. Designed to create real change, designed to shift atmospheres and expose people to God’s love through our own lives. Chosen to fulfill divine purposes, chosen to voice the burdens that He’s placed within our hearts, chosen to unapologetically walk in the authentic identity that He has configured for each and every one of us. Called to be a body of Christ and function in unity as we walk this life out together. Puzzle pieces all contributing to something greater.
VI. Dear, :
If you could tell your younger self the things you knew now, what would you say? Would you warn yourself to avoid some of the dumb mistakes you made that you regret? Would you tell yourself that everything’s going to be okay? Or are we still our younger selves, waiting for those 10 years to pass, waiting to “make it”? Dear younger self who actually might still be constrained to the present me right now, stop binding yourself to the expectations of others and focus on God’s. People pleasing will get you nowhere except keep you in bondage to the opinions and affirmation of others. Know who values you for you and don’t feel the need to prove your worth to those who can’t see your value. Let God be the focal point of your actions and motives. Dear aspiring self, comparison is the quickest way to fall, stay authentic and true to whom God made you to be. Don’t sell yourself short in trying to blend in, embrace the identity that God has graced you with and walk in it with confidence draped in humility. Know that you are the way you are for a reason. Dear developing self, stop trying to be understood and start trying to understand and love others the way they need to be loved. Look outside of yourself, don’t be so self-absorbed that you always feel the need to be heard and can’t see the needs of others. Allow God to remove you from the picture and welcome Him to use every part of you for His glory. Dear controlling self, stop trying to be the driver of your life when you were designed to trust in God, not take over. Lack of trust in God brings you to a complete dead zone, don’t settle for comfort when God has so many amazing plans for you that require you to lean in close to Him. Know your limits and that God functions outside of them. Dear discouraged self, take heart and know that God is with you, release all of your burdens to Him and allow Him to heal you. Stop trying to deal with your pain by yourself, distancing ourselves from God only makes the healing process that much longer. Accept the brokenness you’re feeling and take it one day at a time. God brings forth beautiful things out of our brokenness if we just stay connected to Him. Dear ambitious self, humbly appreciate the process God takes you through, never think you’re above it and never take it for granted. Pride is a dangerous thing, don’t be so consumed by your dreams that you put a timeline on God trying to micromanage Him. Stay relationally connected while trusting in God’s absolute perfect timing, focus on God not the dream. If it’s truly about God it won’t matter what the timing and situation looks like because you can rest in the certainty that He has complete control over it. Dear younger self who actually might still be constrained to the present me right now, breathe…because God has you in all things.