"I just love the song, Say, Won't You Say by Jennifer Knapp. Do you love it too? Think about it... I would love to hear your thoughts about it on your blog."
Dear Friend (who shall remain nameless),
I was happy to filter your question and bump the other post that I had planned in order to bring you this response on my blog right away. I hadn't heard that song in ages and I was eager to hear it again and share my thoughts about it. You know I love to tell people what I think! And, you also know, I listened to Jennifer Knapp... umm, like, constantly in college. However, I was none to surprised, believe you me, that when I listened to the song again tonight, now years after I played it to death while riding around in my car, the song no longer resonated with me like it used to, not even in the slightest. I was pretty disappointed. And, I didn't want to disappoint you.
But, after some thought, I believe I know why I feel this way now. And, this may sound arrogant, but hear me out. At this point in my life, I don't live with regret. It, literally, does not have a place in my life. And, it has been so long since I have been used to it's presence, by now, I can't even abide it!
What I mean to say is that when I get up in the morning, by God's grace, I usually live the life I want to live everyday. And, when I put my head down at night or in the early hours of the morning, as the case may be, nine out of ten times I have accomplished what I wanted to accomplish with my day and I've done it all in the way that I wanted to do it. Or, I guess you could say, I feel like I have accomplished the things that God wanted me to accomplish and I usually feel that I've done them in the ways that are pleasing to Him. So, lyrics of the song like, "Every afternoon I find I have only wasted time in light of your awe..." don't speak to me anymore. I just haven't felt that way in a really long time.
But, this song did resonate with me at a time when I had pretty constant regret over several minor and a few very major issues in my life. In general, at that point in time, I wasn't doing what I felt like I was supposed to do with my days and there was a near constant pull or even wrestle with the Holy Spirit over those things that He had shown me I needed to straighten out and that I still hadn't straightened out.
Like I said before, I listened to this music in college and I'm pretty sure that in college, for example, I was in a relationship (or two) that I knew wasn't right for me. And on top of knowing that, I wasn't throwing myself into my work (my studies) the way I knew God wanted me to. In short, I wasn't proud of myself. I didn't feel like I was living a life "worthy of the calling I had received."
But, I don't think my love for God was the problem at the time, nor was it ever. I think it was always more a lack of faith. I had strong feelings for the guy I was dating and I wasn't sure that if I gave him up, God would do better for me. And, I always felt eager to just get on with my life, never content to just settle down and take the time God had given me there in college to do the work I needed to do to prepare for the rest of the live He would bring my way eventually. So, lyrics like "On the edge of all I need, still I cling to what I see and what have I there?" really described where I was spiritually at the time.
So, in saying all that, if I could go back and give myself any advice in that place it would be, "Do not merely listen to the word (or merely listen to what you feel God's Spirit is telling you to do), and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word (or hears what the Spirit says to do) but does not do it, is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom (who listens intently for direction), and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but then doing it—he will be blessed in what he does."
That's a portion of Scripture from the book of James. Forgive the words I added. I believe God forgives them. But, like I said, if I could go back and say anything to myself, that'd be it, every word exact. And, I think I would need those extra words because I actually knew this Scripture in college at the time I was struggling so much, but at the time, I also thought, "I do what God's word says... I just don't know what God's word says about _."
Well, in truth, I sought God in His word and from that wisdom His Spirit lead me in the way I should go. I had strong feelings about what I needed to do, but I lacked confidence in those feelings because I also had feelings to the contrary. And, since, "Lo, Dump the jerk you're with and spend more time doing your school work" was never written in any of the Gospels, I didn't dump him and dedicate myself to my work even long after I felt that is what God's spirit wanted me to do.
So, my friend, to you specifically I say: God has over and over again confirmed His love for you. And, He will continue to do this as often as you need Him to. He will remind you as often as you ask that He loves you with a "love everlasting." But, now, let "all your devotion" be "put into motion" and take the next step, do the next thing, whatever it is, that you know God wants you to do. You will be blessed for it. And, in this way, you'll be "finally free."
All my love,