I love my Bible; I really do. It is filled with love and hope and everything I need to understand God’s will and His plan for me. That plan is not always clear but His heart and His love come through the pages to comfort me. (Side note, if you’re up early, hop on Periscope to catch Jenny from The LIttlest Way who does a great live Bible study in the mornings!) Sometimes though, I need something else.
When I feel overwhelmed by the world or the darkness in my mind that creeps in and seems to stain even the good things in my life, I need something different. And for me that is By Your Side by Tenth Avenue North. This song came out in 2008 but it still remains one of my favorite songs and one the of the greatest comforts to me when I’m feeling lonely, lost and hopeless.
Here are just some of the lyrics:
Why are you striving these days
Why are you trying to earn grace
Why are you crying Let me lift up your face
Just don’t turn away
Why are you looking for love
Why are you still searching As if I’m not enough
To where will you go child
Tell me where will you run
To where will you run
‘Cause I’ll be by your side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you
This song has so many powerful messages in it. It immediately helps me to realize how small my problems are, even the really big ones. It helps me to stop being so self-focused and to turn to God.
“Please don’t fight these hands that are holding you.” It helps me realize that God is already with me. He’s already giving me the best bear hug of all time. His arms are already around me and I can cry into his shoulder. And sometimes I have to grab a pillow to make that seem more real but it is real and His love is there for me and unending. Can you imagine? There is no end to His patience and how long He will sit there and hold me.
“Why are you still searching as if I’m not enough?” I am guilty of this all the time. And what’s worse, is that I often do it in noble ways. I try to quiet my restlessness by finding projects that help other people. Writing for catholicmom.com is one of those projects. And projects aren’t bad but using them to distract ourselves is not what they are for. Sometimes I think I can find enough projects to fill the hole inside of me. But the truth is that hole will never be filled because we are not made for this world. We will always have a longing inside of us.
We long to be with God in Heaven. And we should spend our whole lives trying to more like Christ and trying to grow but we must know that this feeling we have, this feeling of being out of place and restless, that will never go away.
“Let me lift up your face, don’t turn away.” I feel so broken sometimes, especially when I’m weak and I’ve let the world win. We all have moments like these where we’re not at our best and we’ve chosen the world instead of Jesus. We do that every day in some way; sometimes big, sometimes small. And like a child, I want to hide and pretend like I didn’t mess up so my dad won’t be disappointed in me. But how silly is that? He already knows.
He already knows all the disappointing things I’m ever going to do. And you know what? He loves me anyway. He doesn’t want me to cry. He wants me to look at Him and ask for His help. He wants to pull me into a hug and tell me it’ll be okay and lend me the strength to try again and to be stronger next time. It is my pride that keeps me from wanting to do this and to submit to Him in such a personal and vulnerable way. But when I do, I immediately feel better. I feel His love.
Recently I was chatting with a priest and talking about envy and getting caught up in keeping up with the Joneses both in material things and accomplishments. And I said, “I know that I shouldn’t need any of these things. I know Jesus is enough and that I should be able to turn to prayer to find healing.” And while I was waiting for the priest to tell me to do more Hail Marys or read the Gospel more, I was surprised when he said, “Find some time in the afternoon because that is often when we are feeling weak and put on some of your favorite Christian music. Don’t do anything else. Just sit and let it wash over you. See if that helps make you feel better.”
I immediately thought of this song and the many times it’s touched me and turned my mood around. If you’re feeling like your prayer life or even your bible time is not quite reaching your heart and speaking to the challenges you’re facing, I would encourage you to listen to some Christian music. God uses these amazing artists to share His love and His truth in a different way and it’s sometimes precisely what we need.
Here is a good video for that song. The official video is, I think, a bit distracting so I liked this one much more!
What are some of your favorite songs that lift you up out of a dark place?
Copyright 2016 Sterling Jaquith
Photo Credit: Jamille Queiroz, Unsplash, CC, 2016