Beauty’s Battle – A Poem About Endurance and Fighting Fear

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Beauty’s Battle – A Poem About Endurance and Fighting Fear

She sits engaged in a battle
Beneath the shadow of her own face,
Slowly conceding to her own demons
Brought back by their blows, crushed beneath their weight.

She wonders what’s the use in trying
When defeat has already been secured?
For what’s left of the light is dying
And her heels dangle on the verge

Of Darkness’s valley where fear stands ready
With open jaws, salivating for an easy feast.
But quick, girl, stand firm, armed, and steady.
Don’t give them the satisfaction of seeing you kneel at their feet.

Remember where your heart lies.
Remember your true desires not corrupted by fear.
Remember the beauty that resides beneath your blue eyes.
Remember why it is I’m still here.

There’s a flame that still flickers.
Feed it with love, faith, courage, and hope.
Know that of all the muses that have flowed from my fingers,
You’re the finest that’s ever wrote.

She pauses for reflection
And slows her breath to a stable inhale.
Suddenly, it comes to her attention
That this shadow of darkness is nothing but a paper-thin veil.

She rises boldly like an Amazon warrioress to her feet
And quickly takes aim with her bow.
Defiantly refusing to retreat,
Deciding she’s had enough of fear’s pain and woe.

The battle is not over.
She remains engaged beneath her beautiful skin.
But she’s set on never allowing herself to roll over,
And allowing the shadow of fear to win.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley

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The Inner Man – A Poem About Being Afraid To Show Emotion

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The Inner Man – A Poem About Being Afraid To Show Emotion

Can eyes hide the rivers
Of pain that flow inside?
Can ears mute the quaking, shaking
Of a heart that booms
With thunders of broken dreams?
There’s a storm raging inside the man
He doesn’t wish the world to see,
So he puts on his business attire each morning
And paints a bright, thin smile upon his face
With delicate precision and attempts to erase
The evidence bulging out of his interior corridors –
Pain piled up like dirty laundry
Waiting to be washed clean.
He desperately tries to tuck away his past
And puff out his chest in efforts of pride,
But he’s bursting at the seams.
His melancholic madness can only hide
For so long from his daily routine
Until the tear drops and whiskey shots
Reach the top and spill over
Into his public persona.
There’s no shame in admitting defeat.
Hope begins when pride takes a seat,
The paint brush gets put away,
And the heart is allowed to show
Through to the face.
Solitude must be replaced by solidarity.
It is easy to convince ourselves
That no one will understand,
But fellowship in struggles and pain
is shared by each and every man.
It is far time we stop pretending
To be stoic clowns
And have the courage to wear the face in public
We wear when no one else is around.
True masculinity is not being emotionless,
But being tough enough to reveal
The emotions of our soul,
To embrace the inner man
And stop allowing culture to control
Our voice.

-Poem Written By Justin Farley

If you enjoyed this post, I would greatly appreciate it if you like, share, or comment on it. Follow my blog to receive notifications when new posts are published. You can find my other Christian poems, Lent poems, love poems or inspirational poems at https://alongthebarrenroad.com/category/poetry/


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Accepting and Being Comfortable With Our Weaknesses

“So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)

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Survival of the Fittest

The world’s conception of weakness is based off of Darwinian concepts of “survival of the fittest”. Weakness is just that…weak. It is not something to share with others. It is not something to boast about. It is a secret that should remain locked up in the deepest recesses of our heart, guarded with the utmost security in protection of being found out by others and becoming a target for the strong like a wounded animal among the herd that limps and drifts behind, easy to pick off and devour.

It is the strong that survive, that thrive in society, or at least that’s what the world wishes us to believe. Sure, the world may pretend to have sympathy when a co-worker finds out that their spouse has been cheating on them, finds out that they have a crippling disease, or their children have gotten into trouble at school. But the world is quick to throw judgments on people. They may have a glimpse of sympathy, but that sympathy often comes from determining that they are stronger than the sufferer, that weakness is caused on some level by their own actions.

The co-worker whose spouse cheated on them was obviously not taking care of their spouse sexually, obviously deficient in some way, or else their spouse would never have felt the need to look elsewhere for satisfaction. There is some implicit judgement that says, “yes, I’m sorry that happened to you, but it hasn’t happened to me because I am stronger, better than you. My spouse would have been satisfied with me if I was in your place.” The co-worker who is diagnosed with a crippling disease is seen as partly to blame. “Well, it’s no wonder. Have you seen the way she eats? Maybe this will teach her to take care of herself.” And the co-worker that has a problem child is obviously doing something wrong. “My children would never think about doing anything like that. I don’t know where they learned it. I pity her for having to deal with such a rotten child.” If we’re truly honest, the world’s sympathy most of the time does not come because it actually relates to weakness, but because it pities the weakness; the world likes the drama because other peoples’ weaknesses makes them feel stronger.

The Great Secret

And in some unspoken way, we all know this. We know that others are judging us for our weaknesses. So we paint a smile on our faces and pretend that all is well because it’s better to play the part of someone who’s strong than play ourselves, who we know to be weak. We are ashamed of that person, embarrassed, and go through our days praying that we never get found out. But the reality is that we are all weak at the core. We all have strengths and weaknesses. There is no such thing as the strong and the weak, but the broken and more broken.

The Day Darwin Died

The Darwinian concept of strength is shattered in the light of the cross, radiating and piercing nature’s laws. For Christ did not conquer with strength. He did not conquer with sword and shield, but with truth and love. On the cross we see the greatest warrior the world has ever known. On the cross we find the greatest activist of change the world will ever know. But in the world’s eyes, he is weak, for he humbled himself and allowed himself to become nothing, he surrendered without guns blazing and offered the “strong” a free sacrifice without fighting.

And if the story ended there, it would appear that Darwin’s theory rings true. But three days later a stone was rolled back and the Son of man reemerged stronger and more powerful than ever before. His submission is our hope and the spark that changed the world.

Healing Through Weakness

This is why Paul claims he can “boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses”. He knows that what Christ achieved on the cross is sufficient and no weakness of his flesh will keep him from the love of God. Not only that, but by being open with our weaknesses it invites others to be open with theirs. A healing and acceptance begins to take place that would never be achieved in “strength”.

It is also important to note Paul’s use of the word “thorn”. One of the hardest things to accept about weaknesses, especially when they are painful, is why a loving God allows them to happen. If God loves me, why does he allow me to suffer? This is a question that I have pondered over many hours, and I believe the answer is in the text.

A Pain That Keeps Us Humble

“So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.”

Here Paul touches on the idea that God uses weakness to keep us humbled. We don’t like to admit it, but humans rarely ever come to God with simply an honest desire to serve and love him. It is almost always, at least initially, because we are hurting or need something. If everything in our lives were 100% perfect and there was nothing that we needed outside ourselves, would we honestly seek out God? I don’t think so. I know I at least wouldn’t. Weakness is a “thorn” that ensures that we rely on God like a infant relies on a mother. It is the foundation on which we know we do not have all the answers and must submit to one who is stronger than us.

Grace Abounds in Our Weaknesses

The most beautiful thing about how God deals with our weaknesses is through grace. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”. When we submit our weaknesses to the Lord, they no longer become weaknesses, but strengths. God’s love abounds in the weakest areas of our lives. When we open our hearts to God and admit that we are in need of a savior, his love takes our weaknesses and transcends them. It does not mean that he will remove them, but no longer are they a weakness in the same sense of the word. These weaknesses allow us to relate and understand the human condition all the more and boast in God’s mercy and love. We become resurrected with Christ. We may still show the imprints of the nails on our hands and the wound in our side, but they are no longer injuries, but scars that have healed. We no longer have to hide in shame, but can shout from the mountaintops, “Our God saves”.

What secrets in the deep recesses of your heart are you holding back in shame from the world? Are you going through your days worried of being “found out”? Bring your weaknesses to the cross. Crucify them and allow God to resurrect you with his grace and allow your story to become a example of God’s love and mercy.

If you enjoyed this post, I would greatly appreciate it if you like, share, or comment on it. Follow my blog to receive notifications when new posts are published. You can find my other Christian poems, Lent poems, or inspirational poems at https://alongthebarrenroad.com/category/poetry/
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Finding Myself – A Poem About the Journey of Self Discovery

lotus flowerBeing and finding yourself is hard. Each one of us is a unique individual, blessed with unique talents and gifts. But each of us also longs for acceptance – to feel wanted, needed, and understood by people. Having the courage to be true to ourselves and discover the individual God created us to be usually separates us from the crowd. I believe it separates us because each person feels this gravitational pole to become greater than the person they are right now, that there is something that is missing in their life, but fear is holding them back. When you dare to become the you that your heart tells you to be, it threatens all those around you and challenges them to also break away from the crowd. And they don’t like that. The world tells you you’re weird, crazy, foolish. The world tells you you’re a dreamer and that you should take the easy road. But the easy road is only paved with failed attempts at numbing yourself to the truth – that until you have the courage to venture on a journey of self discovery, your heart will never be satisfied. Life’s journey is a hard road, but if you stay true to yourself and true to the journey that God intended for you, contentment awaits you.

Finding Myself – A Poem About the Journey of Self Discovery

The search for truth keeps me
Trekking across uncharted lands
And diving under unventured seas
Where I find myself alone,
Without the comfort of familiarity.

I have walked out onto the plank too far
To not take the plunge –
Bound myself in the shackles of curiosity
And distanced myself from past experiences
And previous peers.
I was once a jolly pirate,
But am now the prisoner
They push overboard and feed to the sharks.

But I must listen to the call of my heart –
The call that won’t let me live content
Following worn paths walked by countless others,
Taking the road society says leads to success.
I wish it wasn’t so…
It would be much easier
If I could distract myself from meaning,
From searching for the answers to this string of thoughts
Unraveling in my mind, but I cannot.

I can’t look upon the forest
In the midst of spring,
Watch the birds rest atop
The branches at the break of dawn,
Or feel the wind breathe across my face
Without the taste of some eternal truth
Lingering on the tip of my tongue,
Reminding me of a magic I felt
During days when I was young,
Some glorious mystery that awakens
My taste buds and makes them yearn for more.

I am a seeker,
Seeking beauty, seeking truth.
And to deny myself the journey of self discovery
For the sake of comfort
Is a travesty of my heart
And of the one who created it.

It’s never easy to abandon the crowds,
Leave the pack,
And become a lone wolf,
But by keeping the status quo
You’ll never find the piece of yourself
You’ve been missing all your life –
The piece of you that you’ve been afraid to acknowledge,
The piece of you that connects you to your destiny,
The piece of your puzzle that fits perfectly into place
Forming a beautiful portrait,
And the piece of you that makes you come alive.

It’s time.
You’re ready.
Share the real you
With the world.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley

If you enjoyed this post, I would greatly appreciate it if you like, share, or comment on it. Follow my blog to receive notifications when new posts are published. You can find my other Christian poems or inspirational poems at https://alongthebarrenroad.com/category/poetry/

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The Neglected Lover – A Love Poem About Self Love and Loving Yourself

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Sometimes it is easy to love your neighbor, but much more difficult to have self love. Self loathing and self-hatred are real problems for some people. You would never treat others or hold them to the same standards as you do yourself, so why do you keep doing it? You’re just as deserving of love as they are! Here’s a love poem that you can read to yourself. I hope you enjoy it.

 

The Neglected Lover – A Poem About Self Love and Loving Yourself

When will you ever let yourself be enough?
When will you stop second guessing yourself,
Examining your entire life under a microscope
And highlighting every flaw?

When will you accept that you’re worthy
This very moment – not after the future accomplishment,
Not after this mess is cleaned up,
But right now?

When will you stop scrubbing your skin until it bleeds,
Trying to remove a stain that’s been there
Since you were born?
When will you stop loathing your weaknesses
And start accepting them as opportunities
For God to work directly through you?

When will you stop dragging your head along the floor
And be confident enough to look the world in the face?
When will you stop wishing you were someone else,
Living someone else’s story, and write your own?

When will you let your past failures rest
And no longer haunt you?
When will you finally take off the chains
Your mind has bound you in
And walk as a free child of God?

Don’t do it for wives and husbands,
Sons and daughters.
Don’t do it for bosses and co-workers,
Fathers and mothers.
Don’t do it for friends or foes,
Even for success or for the sake of happiness.
Do it for the person that walks around
With you everyday, goes to bed with you every night,
And stares back at you in the mirror every morning.
Do it for you.
The time for feeling useless and unlovable is over.
It’s time for you to love yourself.


 

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Introspection – A Poem

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Stop chasing trouble.
It doesn’t follow you without an invitation
to walk through your door.
So why do you seem so surprised
when it uses your heart to mop the floor?

Can you simply not see the signals?
Can you really not recognize the signs?
Or are you just unable to face yourself in the mirror
without another reflection by your side?

It is just as we are, without a filter
to catch our deepest longings and failures,
that we fear most of all.
So we rush to fill our lives with negative people
rather than sit alone in our heart’s empty hall.

The mind is not partial –
it digests whatever you put in.
But outputs by the same standards,
so be mindful of what you’re putting in.

Society’s grown so deaf to silence
that solitude is no longer welcoming.
We’d rather spend time with anyone
than have to spend time with “me”.

If you don’t know the person inside your breast,
you’d better start investigating.
Because you can discover all the world’s wealth,
but if you haven’t found yourself, you haven’t found a thing.

Stop chasing trouble.
You won’t find your answer in her or him.
Your answer does not lie out there,
but waits for you within.

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Fortified

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These castle walls have been built
by the tears and pain of my own heart.
Each stone carefully constructed
and sealed in layers of mortar
to make sure there are no breaches,
that no enemy reaches my inner domain,
no intruder is able to sneak and slip between the cracks.
I’ve built these walls strong enough
to withstand any firepower that’s thrown at it,
thick enough to keep out sun, rain, sleet, or snow,
thick enough to protect me from cold or heat.
Yes, nestled behind my walls,
I’m as safe as any man can be.
But what began as a savior years ago,
has become my sentence,
shackled like a prisoner in my own cell.
I may have successfully cut the world
off from me, but in doing so
I also cut me off from the world.
I’ve fortified these walls every day for years,
making them stronger and stronger.
And each year I find myself unmoved
by the world’s attack on me.
But there’s a loneliness growing inside,
knowing that the things I built this castle
to keep out are the things I most desperately need.
You can protect yourself from heartache.
You can close yourself to the possibility of pain.
But as long you’re still breathing, you can never
build walls high enough to keep yourself from being human.
There isn’t a cave dark enough or an ocean deep enough
to hide yourself from the thing that follows you
wherever you go – your heart.


 

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Living Happy Now

3383537943_64d0a11b15It’s no secret that more people are unhappy than ever before.  Unhappy with their lives, unhappy with their careers, unhappy with their spouse, and most of all unhappy with themselves.  Happiness has become some intangible emotion that we are always reaching for, yet never able to firmly grasp.  As soon as you think you have it, it seems to slip from your hands.  As Americans, we live in the richest and most privileged country on earth, yet we have some of the least happy people.  Why?

The False Persona 

Too many of us judge our interior lives through the lens of other people’s outward appearances.  She’s got so much nicer things than me.  God, it must be nice to have a husband that makes that kind of money.  Why did I get stuck with him?  He’s so much more successful than I am.  If I had that position or worked for that company, I could be happy too.  If only I was thin…If only I was younger…more attractive.  We put the blame of happiness on something we’re missing that’s “out there”.  Those people have what we think will make us happy, so they must be right?  But the reality is that they are just as empty inside as you are.  They may be able to hide it better beneath their fortune and fame, but it’s still there.

The Great Lie

The great lie is that we’re unhappy now because we’re missing something.  We believe that once we get what we’re missing, things will all make sense, and we’ll live happily ever after, but we won’t.  In fact, we may be unhappier than ever because we’ve run out of hope. I always find it mind-blowing to see videos or images of people living in third world countries where they seem so happy.  They have nothing, yet they wear more smiles than the rest of us.  I believe the reason for this is gratitude.  Few Americans are ever satisfied with what they have.  The constant stream of images on the internet and t.v. remind us that there’s something bigger and better than what we’ve got, hints the reason we’re never satisfied.  People in third-world countries have nothing, so anything they get they feel blessed to have.  Embrace life with gratitude instead of demands, and you’ll probably find yourself much more content.

Live Your Story

Above all, too many of us try to live other people’s lives.  Each and every one of us has our own story to tell, yet we insist that our story is no good, and we need someone else’s.  No one’s story is perfect.  Everyone has problems, and we tend to forget that.  You are the main character of your own story.  No one in the world can play that role better than you.  Happiness begins by accepting your story and thriving in it rather than continually looking for a new role to play.


 
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Being Authentically You

15549576261_3f595b5c94Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”  Not only do I think he’s right, I would argue that it’s even harder now than it was during his lifetime.  No matter where we turn there are influences everywhere trying to get us to conform to a particular way of thinking or people to reject us for acting or being a certain way.  For me, the biggest challenge is not necessarily completely changing what I have become, but better portraying the person I am on the inside to the world.  We may not think that we’re conformers or followers, but standing on the sidelines just trying to blend in and not get criticized is still not being true to yourself.

As a Christian, this is somewhat of a hard topic to tackle.  Throughout the Gospels, Jesus repeatedly tells us multiple times that in order to find him we must lose ourselves.  “And he said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.'” (Luke 9:23)  “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)  I believe there is a misconception that following Christ means to lose all concept of who “you” are.  When I use the term “you”, that does not mean being true to everything about you.  It is about being true to the person that God made you to be.  It  does not mean that you have the freedom to give into your sins because they’re part of “you”.

Many Christians will say that being true to yourself is exactly what Christ is trying to get you away from.  You are to be more like him.  In many ways I agree, but I also think that sometimes people take it to the extreme.  Your talents, gifts, and individual characteristics are things that God has blessed you with.  It seems that sometimes Christians have a tendency to view the whole person as bad and not stop at the person’s sin.  They destroy the whole person and are left with no identity and no passion in life.  Christianity is one of the only religions that believes we each have an individual self and we retain that self after we die.  If we were suppose to be “just Christ”, wouldn’t we have a Eastern concept of an afterlife where we become a part of God and believe everything about our earthly life is an illusion?

So what’s the risk?  The risk is producing pride, arrogance, and selfishness within us.  By being true to yourself, it is easy to think that you achieved everything by your own work, can do things alone, and feel superior over others.  When we turn our lives over to Christ, we are ultimately just handing him the reins to our life.  Following Christ doesn’t mean leaving everything he has blessed us with behind.  It means handing him control over those blessings.  We still have the talents we did before, just a much better leader who will decide where to put those talents to use.

I think it’s safe to say that all of us are holding back in some area of our life due to fear.  There’s some people whose character is completely fake, but the majority of us reside somewhere in the middle.  We like ourselves in the comfort of our own homes, but not enough to share “us” with other people.  I know for me it’s a feeling of hesitation…like I know I am not being 100% the person that I am being called to be, but it’s safer to just be comfortable.  I’m afraid if I show everyone exactly who I am I’ll be rejected or isolated from the crowd.  The majority of people show just enough of themselves to be unique, but as little of themselves to make sure they still fit in.

We are obsessed with being politically correct and not offending anyone in today’s society.  Obviously, I am not advocating hurting other people’s feelings.  But the only way to not offend anyone is to not say anything at all, and I think that’s what a lot of us are doing.  We’re so scared we’re going to offend someone that we just stuff everything we feel.  On moral issues, the longer you sit back and don’t take a side on sin, the more and more you start questioning whether it’s that bad in the first place.  We do not need to take a side with pride, arrogance, or condemnation.  But we do need to take a side.

The most influential people seem to always know themselves well.  They know who they are, and they are comfortable being that person wherever they are.  Too many people stay lukewarm or cold because they are the paths of the least resistance.  For whatever reason, Jesus has called us to remain in this world.  Too many of us seem to be just waiting around to die.  God has a purpose for each and every one of us, and it is our responsibility to carry that out.  We should be truer to ourselves than the rest of the world because we should be honoring the individuality that God’s given to us.  Led by Jesus and the Holy Spirit, we can be the most influential and inspirational people in the workplace.  But first we need to leave behind fear and be led, instead of trying to lead.


 

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