Ashton Ray2 Comments

I Cannot Love Thee The Way I Want To

Ashton Ray2 Comments
I Cannot Love Thee The Way I Want To

The core reason that i'm writing this is because i promised myself that i would publish words this week. It's been ages. i've found that i am becoming more and more intimidated by the idea of people reading my words that are published under nothing other than my own name. It's come to a point where sitting down and signing into this blog is something i stray from. There is a weight that comes with writing words that are not masked by a company or my school. i've become intimidated by my own name, my own thoughts, that familiar tug to allow vulnerability to show and passion to drive my words. 

As i'm sitting in my favorite chair in my favorite spot of my favorite coffee shop, i am both comforted by and afraid of how ideal my surroundings are. Jesus is so good. i have no excuse not to write.

i am not going to try to romance you today, friends. Tonight is a night where thoughts are going to be poured out and i am going to try not to be too concerned with the outcome. It's the season where everyone around me will assume that i am writing some very important paper for a very important class, when in reality i am simply allowing my fingers to glide across the keyboard in their old familiar way. i am doing nothing of significant importance aside from allowing myself to do what i love, which in the long run maybe holds more importance than i think.

i got a text from a friend today encouraging me to listen to a newly released album. It's the same album i've already listened to twice today and that i'm listening to as i write. It is not a spectacular collection of songs that you can listen to forever, but seven songs, thirty two minutes of pure, genuine worship. There is a beauty that comes when authenticity is laced within praise music. i know you're probably thinking that authenticity should be the foundation to all worship music, and i would agree, but i will also boldly say that i think it is a hard thing to find sometimes. However, today it has been found and it is filling my heart with gratitude towards my Creator. We were made to sing songs like these. 

Upon suggesting this album to me, my friend expressed that these songs drove him to cry because Jesus is beautiful. 

We should live like that.

Flannery O'Connor once prayed saying, "Dear God, I cannot love Thee the way I want to. You are the slim crescent of a moon that I see and my self is the earth's shadow that keeps me from seeing all the moon."

i have such a big shadow. 

It is no secret that the last few months have been hard for me. Doing life was no longer an action that started with my feet hitting the ground in the mornings, but something that took a desire that i couldn't find and encouragement that i hated. The Holy Spirit fueled me; He gave me a concrete confidence that life is/was possible and that i didn't have to carry myself. Sometimes, i think that our shadows are so big because of our own actions, but i also think that tragically, sometimes the shadow is forced there despite our own wishes. i am not acting as though i am innocent in my shadow covering The Moon, because my shadow is pushed there by every breath i take as a sinner. i did not choose for depression to push the shadow along, but so it goes. i am stronger now and after many months, i think i am able to see more of the moon than ever before. 

People have been such an essential part of my healing. We were all made in the image of God and i rarely doubt that about my friends. Yes, they are far from perfect. Some of us curse more than we should and we aren't always encouraging or uplifting, but Jesus shines through all of that. We are broken, but we are a beautiful collection of flawed people. They help me to see more of my Creator. Whether they are challenging me, praying for me, or simply mutually existing with me, they are wonderful creatures. i am thankful that i was not created to be alone.

In this chaotic journey that is growing up, i am becoming so aware of how much i need Jesus. Some days it hurts, but other days i am so beautifully aware of His presence that all i can say is His name. Life is meant to be full of good and bad days. We were made to live with our name tags reading nothing before "God's beloved" because before we had our names, He had already claimed us. We try so hard to cover Him with our shadows, but He so gently pushes us back. He delights in us so. 

i have such a big shadow, but i have an even greater God.

i may not be able to love Him the way i want to, but that doesn't mean that i will not try.

He is my God, my Abba Father, my Creator, my Beloved. He is who fuels my words and who joyfully watches as my fingers stumble across the keyboard. May we live lives that scream love and that are laced with authenticity. May we embrace grace and dance because we are free. We are His created. He loves us. Let's live in that.

soundtrack to my writing:
Daniel Bashta // For every Curse


If you love words & Jesus, purchase 
Flannery o'Connor's Prayer journal