Wednesday, February 6, 2013

and if the music is good, you dance.

I've been incredibly convicted with how I'm living my life. Where I'm going. What I'm doing to get there. What I'm filling my minutes and moments and days with. If the music is good, you dance. I love that. It's simple, straight to the point, and so poignant. You have one life to live, one beautiful and painful and precious life to live and give...what are you going to do with it?

Steadfastness is my heart and I have been anything but lately. Which makes me grateful that it's my word for this year, because I know that it's a good one to focus on, a good word to hold fast to these fast-moving months that make up 2013. I struggle and fail and forget that there is grace for my failings, that in my weakness, He is perfect strength. I struggle and put it all on my shoulders and feel frustrated that I am not enough.

But I am not enough and never will be. The beauty of grace is that when we have nothing to give, He gives all the more. I don't understand it. I can't even begin to explain it, everything I write to try to describe it is like the mere sheen of water on glass. But I see it. See it in people and their lives around me, I see it in the way hearts are changed, I see it in who Jesus is and who is people are. And I want to be like Him.

We know who we are because of who He is.

There are so many words I could tack onto my about page that would "define" me, so many labels I could plaster onto myself like a tag on a shirt. Photographer. Writer. Sister. Singer. Daughter. Friend. Artist. Thinker. Dreamer. Granddaughter. Cousin. Doer. Planner. Procrastinator. Creative. Niece. Journaler. Pianist. Reader. Dancer. And on and on and on.

I don't want people to look at me and think, she's a good photographer.
I don't want people to look at me and think, she's a good writer.
I don't want people to look at me and think, she's a good singer.

No. No. No. I want people to look at me and see Jesus. I want people to see Jesus in me, want to be a woman of faith, I want more than anything to be known for who I lived for rather than what I did. I want to pour into people's lives, I want to be genuine, I want to adventure and bless and live out this little, beautiful, wild, and wonderful life I've been given to the best of my ability. And in the end, I want to lay it all down and know that it wasn't about me, and it never was. That everything I did was for Christ.

But I can't do that if I keep living the way I'm living.

Wasting time. Pushing people aside. Living out of entitlement instead of thanks, pursuing more instead of what is here. Not investing in what's important. Trying to be someone I'm not and trying to fit myself into the culture's cookie cutter mold of who I "should" be and what I "should" do. Letting myself be stereotyped and losing sight of my heart in the midst. Not seeking Jesus daily.

Ouch. It's painful and embarrassing and hard to admit.

Because I am selfish. I snap at my family. I struggle daily with pride and have a sharp tongue. I can be lazy. I don't always like to clean and even though I have been given much and shown abundant grace...I complain. I struggle with contentedness, wrestle with letting go, and hold fast to my ideals of perfection. I waste time, I blur the line between honesty and flattery. I can be rude. I sleep in late. I don't always live in grace. I fear. I worry. I hurt others with my words and actions. I put aside what should be today for tomorrow. And I fall short of the mark every. single. day.

The world says to hide your brokenness and the messy, dirty, gritty parts. But Jesus says to bring it all to Him. To open up your hearts and show the ugly parts. I forget sometimes, that He knows me in and out, knows how I've failed, knows how I've succeeded, knows my heart, knows my dreams, knows me better than I know myself. And in bringing my brokenness to the cross, it can become something beautiful. A Joseph story. Beauty from ashes, streams in the desert. Making my wilderness like Eden.

All you need is 20 seconds of insane courage, right?

This is my 20 seconds of insane courage. It may be small. But it's something that's been pressing upon my heart more and more. My soul needs time to be quiet, away from the internet's constant noise, telling me I did or didn't make / do / wear / shoot / write / and on and on. I need some time to pray about my photography, about where His heart is for me and my life, what my ministry and my calling is.

But mostly. I need time to learn how to be present. Right here, right now. I want to fully grasp this wildly extravagant life gift. ("If death got the upper hand through one man’s wrongdoing, can you imagine the breathtaking recovery life makes, sovereign life, in those who grasp with both hands this wildly extravagant life-gift, this grand setting-everything-right, that the one man Jesus Christ provides?" - Romans 5:17 MSG)

I am called to live today. Not as so-and-so, but as Hannah. I have to take time to start to learn and understand what that means. Who I am in Christ and who I am called to be and what I am called to do. I want to be generous with my life and love. I want to be a woman of extravagant grace. And I want to be brimming with thankfulness, steadfast, seeking Jesus and living the life I have been given to the fullest measure.

And the truth is...I can't do it. It's not by my own strength, not by my own "goodness," not by my own gifts. It's not about me. It's not what I am doing, but what He is doing in me. And He who began a good work in me is faithful to bring it to completion. AHHH. What a comfort for my heart. He is FAITHFUL, even when I am not. His character does not change. He is who He is, always.

"Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God's action in them find that God's Spirit is in them - living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life." - Romans 8:5-6

"Answer this question: Does the God who lavishly provides you with his own presence, his Holy Spirit, working things in your lives you could never do for yourselves, does he do these things because of your strenuous moral striving or because you trust him to do them in you? Don’t these things happen among you just as they happened with Abraham? He believed God, and that act of belief was turned into a life that was right with God." - Galatians 3:5-6

So, beautiful friends. I'm taking an internet fast. I won't be online (blogger, twitter, or pinterest) for the next few weeks. I might pop in on my Facebook page to put up a photo of recent happenings, but other than that, I'm taking a break from the blogworld. I will still be doing work, and if you have a question, shoot, or would just like to chat, you can email me (hello[@]imhannahnicole[.]com).

Much much much love to all of you.


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