Grace, face, this place, faith, grace, repeat.

I’ve never listened to a Christian worship song and felt inspired. Never. I’ve felt sad, I’ve cried, I’ve let the Bible words churn my soul around a little. But I’ve never been inspired because of quality. Ever.

Now, I have been inspired by the song Like a Rolling Stone by Bob Dylan. And lets just be clear that this was because of the quality of his music. I was driving passenger seat in the car and listening to the joy that is that song with Nate, and I broke down and just wept. Purely because of beauty. Purely because there is beautiful music to help people like me survive existing on this planet.

There are people I run to to reignite my desire to be creative. I’ve been inspired by a man called Levi the Poet and by a woman named Emily Joy. They’re making art, grinding. I’ve been compelled to write because of these people. When I’m feeling like there isn’t a creative bone in my body I run to them. To Propaganda. To Kimya Dawson. To Hopsin. And I regain strength. The way I’d listen to DMX before a Track Meet and then go kill it. But never has Christian Worship song helped my artistic drive come above water. Ever.

Worship music is the opposite of this kind of inspiring music. Worship music lulls you into a false reality, tricking you into believing that real art – real art – REAL. ART. Looks like worship music. I’ve never been inspired by a Christian Worship song. I’ve been anti-inspired. I’ve been, for lack of a better phrase – and this is blunt – artistically dumbed down. And I think a lot of us have.

It’s sad because if we really do know the God of the Universe, who created everything – like, everything, shouldn’t our music be just a little bit more impressive? Why do we suck so much, at like, everything? Why are we so embarrassing? Our movies, our music, everything. Christian culture feels like thick dark slime. It’s gross.

And the thing is, we’re not authentic. David was so radically throwing it all out there in the Psalms, lets take a hint from him, shall we? He’s constantly like, “oh my gosh, my life sucks, everything sucks, just kill me.” We’re all David. We’ve all got our shit. Unlike David, we hide it under false identities and catchy phrases and “it’s okay” and “God is good.” But I thought it might be fun to write out some of the lyrics to the most popular worship songs on praisecharts. (ugh)

“Who breaks the power of sin and darkness
Whose love is mighty and so much stronger
The King of Glory, the King above all kings

Who shakes the whole earth with holy thunder
And leaves us breathless in awe and wonder
The King of Glory, the King above all kings.”

“Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are, Lord, I am free
Holiness is Christ in me

Teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
And when I cannot stand I’ll fall on You
Jesus, You’re my hope and stay.”

You are good, You are good
When there’s nothing good in me
You are love, You are love
On display for all to see
You are light, You are light
When the darkness closes in
You are hope, You are hope
You have covered all my sin.

The rhymes are as follows – “thunder, wonder – more, are – free, me – you, you – way, stay – me, see – in, sin.” Ugh. This isn’t deep or poetic. This is… elementary at best.

I have not loved Jesus for most of my life. The Christian music station did not help. Because it was just, well, bad as a fact of life. When I became a Christian I remember telling my friend that I was super excited about God and stuff, but that I could not do the whole Christian music thing. And that I was sorry. But I just couldn’t do it.

I’m sad that there are so many Christian artists out there – writers, painters, musicians – who don’t get a platform for their art because the platform is filled with bullshit. They’ll probably have to create a whole new, separate platform and do combat. This is not a very appealing pull towards God. And we do not value art as Christians. Although art for God should be the most beautiful of all.

He is good, He is good, when there’s nothing good in me. Then let’s be honest about it. If there’s nothing good in you, just be honest about it. Don’t think lack of authenticity is noble. When you enter a Christian circle and don’t know what to expect, and look around and that’s a lot of what everyone’s doing – spitting lyrics and cliches, you can’t help but follow suit and put away your hurts. You’re just going to burden everyone’s happy mood if you bring them down with your negativity. Send the depressed people to the front of the stage to get healed. And push the doubter’s doubts to the bottom of their stomach, silently lurching and churning for the rest of their owner’s life.

I feel like Hopsin (who made this… “Man everything is “what if,” why is it always “what if?” Planet Earth, “what if?” The universe “what if?” My sacrifice “what if?” My afterlife, “what if?” Every fucking thing that deals with you is fucking suspect!), doubting God, more than I feel like Chris Tomlin. I doubt a LOT. And I wish I could make it all go away, but I honestly can’t. So I’m gonna try to confront those fears and listen to Hopsin to get inspired and talk about it as much as I can. Because hopefully someone feels me and feels a little comfort in knowing that I feel them, too. And hopefully that means more than a Bible verse being spoken out of season.

Word.

 

 

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The D Word

Depression.

How the hell does anyone function with this? I was laying outside yesterday with my husband in lovely sunny downtown Jackson on a big baptist church’s steps. Sounds romantic, but it wasn’t. I had to stop walking after I couldn’t get myself to go any father because a feeling beyond feeling was making it hard to do anything, including move or hold a conversation.

“What do you want to do?” he asks.

“Nothing,” my answer.

Which people say all the time but I meant, Nate, I literally don’t want to sleep or eat, or watch TV, or drink beer or walk around or have sex in a hot air balloon or fly to the moon. I don’t want to draw, play, write or read. I could possibly eat pizza, but that’s it, and I’d probably be worse afterwards anyway.

The moments that most devastatingly clarify my depression are ones like these.

Let me explain – when I was in my Senior year of high school I started feeling this feeling that I had never felt before – the familiar frienemy I now label “depression.” And of course, anyone who has struggled with depression knows that this thing – this monster – goes far beyond feeling. It’s heinous in it’s inability to be explained. It sneaks around at first and bugs your mind with little emotional traps – not enough for you to get a clue, but enough to break you down slowly. And by the time you’re broken down, you’re on Prozac and it’s all over.

Pictures and comparisons are almost always necessary to explain my depression, and even then most people don’t “get” it. So when I began to be sucked into the enduring silent vortex that is the deadlock of a word with no synonyms; the black gruesome monster who was simultaneously consuming more and more of my friends and family as he silently did  me; affecting my mind, body and soul, I questioned everything. I questioned what this was because it wasn’t sadness – Sadness is sadness. Depression is collapsing headfirst into a rabbit hole you never saw coming, looking around and realizing that you have landed in a different dimension that is the same as your own, except it has lost it’s flavor. It’s color. It is more distant than before, more gray, and less exciting. People act the same but are more exhausting and more terrifying. You grasp the fact that there is something off and wrong, but you’re never able to fully grab hold of the entirety of it. That’s depression.

That’s what I felt for the very first time sitting in Finance class, and realizing that I felt worse than I had in my entire life, but not knowing how to fix myself. Not knowing anything anymore. That was my depression.

Naturally, I got a therapist, and the therapist put me on Prozac. Great choice, therapist. After months of cutting, smoking myself silly, and absolutely draining the life out of everyone around me, the Prozac kicked in, yay! Does Prozac actually work for anyone? UGH.

So Prozac made me want to kill myself. I made this discovery when I went to go for a run. Running was the one thing I had that would without fail calm my mind and get some of my tired endorphins to move. That is, if I could get myself to actually go. I started, taking the usual path that I always took, and dead stopped after less than 400 meters.

Shit. I don’t want to run, I realized. I don’t want to run, and I should want to run. Running makes me happy, and it’s not.

And then for the first time ever I wanted to die. Because why live at that point, really.

So when I was laying next to Nate yesterday, feeling the sun on my face – the sun that I had begged God for for months, that I said I would be so much happier when I could feel – the sun that promised Summer and adventure and road-trips, the sun that warmed me all over, my favorite feeling in the world, I tried to choose to feel happy. I tried to convince myself that this was a great moment and I should just choose to feel happy about it.

But I couldn’t. Because I’m depressed. It’s like eating a donut, expecting to taste a donut, and instead tasting sand. But everyone around you tries it and is confused because it tastes like a donut, why don’t you just taste the donut, Sam? No matter how fabulous that moment was, it wasn’t going to break through the jail cell that is this icy cold prison where I, and so many others, live all the time.

I hated my life yesterday. I questioned God extensively yesterday. And I remembered that familiar feeling of not being able to run yesterday. I wished I didn’t have to exist anymore yesterday. And I had no resolution yesterday. It only got worse and bled into today.

I love how the Psalms are so honest, and always end with a bit of hope about God. Even if the whole thing is a cry of total despair, the writer always chooses to end with hope.

As much as I like that, I don’t have a whole lot of hope or faith right now. So maybe, hopefully, this isn’t the end of the story. But right now I’m in a prison and God has the key. And for some reason He won’t hand it over, which really pisses me off.