“Don’t be flattered by the look”
I had the wonderful opportunity to spend last Friday night engulfed in a room of twenty somethings singing at the top of their lungs to God in praise, repentance and probably 50 shades of doubt. That’s what leads us to making so many of our decisions isn’t it? Doubt is an unbalanced mixture of keeping you on your toes and willingly discarding the self-worth that leads to healthy decision making.
During my 20 minutes on stage I used a familiar thought to convey my belief of how much Jesus actually cares about you as an individual. I asked the attenders of RENEW to think about their last failed relationship and to remember the way that person looked at them during the first date and to compare that with the way they were looked at during the break-up… The first look is flattering and screams of desire, while the final look is often dripping with relief. Because even if it wasn’t a bad break-up or an unhealthy relationship, there is at least one party that is relieved to be free from the other.
What happens between those two looks?
Well, without trying to flair up your insecurities, they just simply got to know you.
Personally, I have had far too many periods of “get to know you” and have wasted so much time entertaining “the look”. Last November I got married to a woman who I wanted to know for a very long time before she let me in. But now that I have Jenna, I truly know what it means to be loved because I am known by someone! And as sure as you’re reading these words, flattery runs out, sex is no longer what it was the first few times, they look slightly different without make-up. What I’m trying to say is this: love is not wrapped up in attraction or the idea of someone, it comes from getting to know them and letting them be themselves all of the time. “The Look” isn’t just about relationships or sexuality, “The Look” is believing that your happiness and worth is measured by likes on Instagram or Facebook, when really it just feeds the doubt. “The Look” is thinking that drugs or alcohol are really en escape from whatever situation you may be in. “The Look” is hiding behind your pains and existing in defense mode, because you doubt that life can actually be enjoyable. “The Look” is many things, and even now you are able to identify it.
Let me encourage you with this, “the look” doesn’t know you and is incapable of having your best interest in mind because it is greedy by nature. But, “THE WORD” does know you and it is because He knows you that He loves you [reference John 1]!
…it is because He knows you that He loves you.
I opened this talk with a poem that I had written called ‘She is Us’ – The premise of the poem is a bride is standing in front of a mirror on her wedding day reflecting on her past and the way she was flattered by “the look”… I hope you find yourself in her story
SHE IS US
positioned in vulnerability
as she begins to silently converse with
the mirror mirror on the wall
her eyes examining every detail in the vanity
why am I the one he chose to meet at the alter?
her inner voice shouts in desperation
why would he choose me?
a tear drips into the well with exclamation
holding them back from falling because it’s too late
for her make up to run away
the argument grows as she begs another question,
through all of my infidelity, why did he fight for me to stay?
not even her blush can hide the rose in her cheeks from blooming
she’s swooning just thinking about the risk he took on her
so that she may experience a life that ends with
“happily ever after”
the hand that will later carry a symbol of his commitment
reaches up to twirl one of the few strands the stylist left free
just in case there is enough of a breeze to help remind her of this moment forever
and with every gentle touch of her hair
a new recollection of an old memory surfaces
I don’t deserve you!
I mean… I… I have nothing pure to offer you, my king
not even today
in years past
my sexuality was given in exchange for a chance
to have some boys arm hold me up
after a night of drowning myself in fake smiles,
with drinks that I didn’t even enjoy,
in the company of people who would never care about me the way you do.
My friends used to call me a whore behind my back
this moment in time she whispers ever so softly
as if maybe she was trying to make herself believe
that those moments really happened
crossing her arms in front of her chest
both hands slowly comforting the opposite shoulder
she trembles internally
wondering why he didn’t just want her body
the way that they did.
positioned in vulnerability
with sunshine starting to peek through scarlet lips
she begins reading the letter that is written on them
but the journal entries are fading away
slowly into the climax of his embrace
fully clothed yet fully exposed
he loves me
as endless as the pacific horizon
drift slowly down her reflection
scarlet lips are now yards of silk that have been precisely
cut and sewn to fit every curve of her body
as if she is wrapped in clouds
her mind drifts away
awe struck that he begged her to wear white
he loves me
she says while exhaling a breath of confidence
her eyes slowly close
as she imagines his voice reminding her
that she is pure in his sight
she is everything to him
every dream come true
not a single detail left behind
he wants me to be his bride
to walk beside him all the days of our life
he longs to fight for me
to protect me from the lies that tell me
I am all of the disgusting things I’ve done
he yearns to provide for me
in the same lifetime
where so many heartlessly left me bankrupt
corrupt used to be the color
of the dress I thought I would wear
when this day came along
but not today
i remind myself that i’m worth
far more than being settled for
the first note to her song is playing
and as she turns away from her reflection
she briefly reflects on all of the nights spent praying
“i’ve been praying that you’d save me’
she speaks as if someone is there to hear her words.
He was in love with me before I ever let him in
she shakes her head mildly and thinks
“he was in love with me
before I ever let him in”