Contemplating and Discerning God’s Will

On my daily walk this morning, I was struck by the stirring of the Spirit as I was meditating on God’s will. I guess I’ve always imagined my contribution to society would be grand. Whether that has been my inflated ego or God speaking all these years, I don’t know.

We can never know with absolute certainty what God’s will is; we can only do our best to keep an open place in our mind and heart for the Spirit to speak to us, constantly revising where we’re headed based upon His promptings.

But regardless, I often find myself irritated by the mundane aspects of life- changing diapers, cleaning the house, helping with homework, watching kids, etc. because it feels like it is keeping me from realizing greatness. How am I going to be able to create a grand piece of art that changes the world if I rarely ever have time to write?

But what if the grand is keeping me from realizing the great? What if God’s will is simply for me to be a great husband, a great father, a great teacher and preacher to my children? Maybe the grand artist is my will and not God’s.

We can never know with absolute certainty what God’s will is; we can only do our best to keep an open place in our mind and heart for the Spirit to speak to us, constantly revising where we’re headed based upon His promptings.

Better to live by the Word of God hidden from the world than to be elevated by the world without it.

My job is not to elevate myself. The world will one day forget that I existed regardless if I become “famous” or not. But hopefully the work that I do contributes to preserving the name of Jesus Christ so that thousands of years from now people will still know His name. There is no shame living a life that the world never notices if it is well lived, measured not by the world’s standards but by God’s. Better to live by the Word of God hidden from the world than to be elevated by the world without it. Teresa of Avila provides a lovely mantra to live by: “whoever has God lacks nothing; God alone suffices.”

A life that brings even a single soul closer to God is a life of greatness.

This philosophy allows us to enjoy life and live fully, content in the present moment. It is folly to strive to make something out of YOUR life. Rather, live in a way that makes something out of His life. A life that brings even a single soul closer to God is a life of greatness. Don’t be blinded by the grand. Excel in the everyday, ordinary tasks, and the grand will occur if God wills it.

The more seriously you take yourself, the less seriously you take God. For when you become master, you bind yourself in chains of action, always striving harder and harder, less and less sure you’ve done enough to create a lasting legacy.

…the only time our souls are full and content is when we live in the Spirit and join in the centripetal, ever-revolving, relational love of God

But the more seriously you take God, the less pressure you have upon yourself. Laugh at yourself and the ridiculous, pompous thoughts of the human ego. God didn’t create you to glorify yourself; God created you to glorify Himself.

So love life and the people in it. Love the fact that God is going to help come to fruition His will whether you’re completely on board and do everything right or not. God doesn’t need us to glorify Him but knows the only time our souls are full and content is when we live in the Spirit and join in the centripetal, ever-revolving, relational love of God.

We are infinitely cherished and special beings while simultaneously being utterly unnecessary in the grand plan of God. This allows us to live with purpose yet pile all the weight of the world onto the Cross, onto the only one this world truly needs.

Justin Farley



My first chapbook of collected poems is available now! I hope you find encouragement in the poems but also a validation that the spiritual life is not all sunshine and rainbows. We all struggle. We all have periods of questions and/or doubt. But it is the yearning that keeps us coming back for more and allows us to experience joy.


You can purchase either on Amazon or on my own bookstore (it is cheaper and has free shipping on my store) and is available on the Kindle and in paperback.
Amazon: Kindle Paperback
Inkspiration Books (my bookstore): Paperback

Thank you for your support!

They Say…

They Say...

They say follow your heart,
but I'm thoroughly convinced
mine doesn't know where
the hell it's going.

They say the heart wants
what the heart wants.
Mine wants to pull down the shades
and get rip-roaring drunk.

They say love yourself.
I think if I love myself any more
I'm going to join Narcissus
at the bottom of that damn pool.

They say put yourself first,
but I'm so far in the lead
that there's no one left
for me to pass.

But He says 
I'm broken beyond belief,
that my heart is deceptive,
and can't be trusted.

He says that only fools
follow the desires of the heart
because they lead to
bottomless pits, never satisfied.

He says quit staring
at yourself in that mirror,
that my hope isn't found in self love,
it's in the depth of His love.

He says the first shall be last
and to love my neighbor as myself,
to help pick up the wounded runners
rather than worry about what place I finish in.

I love my heart,
which is why it's so painful to admit
that His Word sounds like truth,
and culture sounds like childish chatter.

Justin Farley

Sandcastles Poem About Hardships in Life

Sandcastles
Poem About Hardships in Life

The weariness of life is enough
to make even the watchman tired.
His heavy eyelids close with each
complexity of life that breaches the palace gates.
There he waits until all he aspired
for crumbles beneath the harsh realities of life
like the sandcastles he built as a boy,
cold, green, frothy ocean 
dashing all his work in one motion
jeering as the tide drags
even what was repairable back out to sea.

Who puts out the fire
when the ivory tower erupts in flames?
Who mops up the childhood pain
that we slip on time and time again?
The oldest wounds never seeming to mend
because, like a cut on a joint, each time we bend
beneath life's weight that weeping wound
cracks back open, raw once more.

There's no way to bar every door.
There's no way to lock tight every window.
Misfortune's finding a way in even though
we believe we've created an impenetrable castle.
Life will always have its burdens;
they're still tough to bear
even with solid walls around you.
But we choose whether to build
our castles on the sand
or fortify them on the rocks.

Justin Farley

Conversion Poem About the Love and Grace of God

Conversion
A Poem About the Love and Grace of God

I began divided.
Quite selfish with a heart hungry for evil
yet filled with a deep longing brewing
below the surface that never seemed fulfilled
by anything other than you.
So what was I to do - 
in love with myself and my selfish desires
but realizing more each day my need for you?

I opened my ears to your voice
but kept my heart safely distant.
You told me to follow you.
And I obeyed...
at a snail's pace,
slowly inching my way towards your grace.

The closer I came the louder my name
reverberated from your lips.
Though the louder too were my selfish longings.
Lust ran high in the dry, dusty desert of restraint
and tried to pull me back
into the slavery of gratification.
 
I gave in time and time again
but refused to allow my sin
to convince me to hide in shame from you.
For at the core of my being,
I knew you held something true - 
an answer to a question about the essence of life itself
that couldn't be answered along any other path but yours.

So I continued hauling my heavy shell behind me
and sluggishly crawled onward,
but the way forward didn't get any easier.
I only found myself more divided,
fragmented into forces fighting within myself.

My head became a bed for commotion,
tossing me to and fro like the waves of the ocean.
The inner struggle only made me more aware
of the seriousness of my situation:
I had a head full of God
and a heart unwavering it its insistence
upon serving itself.

It was daunting,
haunting me in its clutches
and causing me to lose sleep
like a nightmare stuck on repeat,
waking me up in the night
to the harsh realities of life.

How was I to serve two masters
and attend to both of their matters?
My ego wasn't lulled to sleep
nor cowered to the call for its destruction.
But raged and rattled the cage
your spirit had created for it.

I trusted that your grace
was vaster than all the stars
shinning forth forgiveness in the dark
to the farthest corners of the universe;
surely my sin was no match for your goodness.

I resolved to stop worrying
so much about "do nots"
that I never seemed capable of obeying
and to focus on following through on the "dos"
I was perfectly capable of undertaking.

And there your spirit freed
a seemingly unsavable prisoner
from the bondage of self
and turned me towards the Divine.
For you kept me so busy doing your will
that I forgot about mine.

Justin Farley

Letting Go Poem About Trusting in God

Letting Go
Poem about Trusting in God

Troubles slip through my fingers like sand
as long as I cling to your commands,
letting your Word direct my way - 
floodgates to block and keep me at bay.

But it's never easy to deny yourself entry,
shackling your will under lock and key of the sentry.
Not more grit, more letting go.
Not what I can birth, what you can bestow.

There's no carrying crosses with only my will;
my volition is far too volatile.
I can get swayed by the winds of the world,
unable to predict my will after they've whirled.  

But you're unchanging, stable, and steadfast.
You provide strength and aid when we ask.
Bury pride and leave it dead in the dust.
Victory is praying through trials and learning to trust.

Justin Farley

Hello, everyone! I have recently published my first chapbook of Christian poems titled “A Voice in the Wilderness – A Chapbook of Poems about God”. This has been developed and polished over the past six months or so. I am happy with the final product and hope you find encouragement in the poems but also a validation that the spiritual life is not all sunshine and rainbows. We all struggle. We all have periods of questions and/or doubt. But it is the yearning that keeps us coming back for more and allows us to experience joy.
You can purchase either on Amazon or on my own bookstore (it is cheaper and has free shipping on my store) and is available on the Kindle and in paperback.
Amazon: Kindle Paperback
Inkspiration Books (my bookstore): Paperback

Thank you for your support!

Satan’s Speech Christian Religious Narrative Poem

Satan's Speech
A Narrative Poem with Religious Themes

Satan stepped up to the podium,
cleared his throat, and tapped the microphone
to address his legions of demons gathered
with each new, human generation
to discuss matters of military penetration.
"It is no longer necessary
to corrupt good for evil," he said.
"It's quite satisfactory to distract
the mind and heart from mission to resignation,
carried away by the slews of sedition,
soul-numbed in leisurely pursuits.
Preferable, in fact.
For who questions convenience?
Which one of your clients challenges comfort
or inspects the tools built by good intention?"

"If there's one thing we know,
dear friends, is how given the choice,
the allure of sin is stronger
than righteousness in even the nicest fellow.
But sin disguised as harmless, helpful, fun,
beguiled by necessity for modern life...
well, that's the Trojan Horse 
that turns the tides of war - 
the break we've waited eons for."

A light echo of laughter
broke out across the room.
Abaddon leaned in close to the mic,
"If you don't understand the chuckle of your neighbor,
you're far too young to understand our plight
across the ages and the countless battles
we've fought for control of the human heart.
For even the wisest sages
are penetrable in a world of distraction.
We no longer need to trade truth for lies.
Just simply plant alibis 
to embrace the easy and immediate
in favor of the important and inconvenient
until it becomes buried
beneath a pile of endless
beeps, dings, and buzzes,
and they'll forget Truth was ever there to begin with."

He grabbed the mic from the stand
and began pacing across the stage,
his powerful, intoxicating shadows
dancing across the walls,
magnified by the candlelight.
Lucifer continued,
"Could it get any easier, my friends?
Remember the centuries when
we'd have to convince them
to pluck the fruit
fully aware of their sin
and our whispers slithering out of the bush?"

"We now simply need to convince them
that the world has grown far too large
for them to make a difference,
that their lives are too busy for prayer,
and that reading is antiquated...
far easier to keep that vile book
we all abhor out of their hands
than convince them it belongs in the trash."

"Don't you know 'faith without works is dead'?"
Belial said with a smirk.
"And modern technology
keeps their restless hearts so busy,
they don't even realize they're dying inside."
A deep, wicked, bellowed laugh
amplified from the stage
and an applause rang throughout the crowd.

Justin Farley

Opus Dei – A Poem About the Work of God In Your Life

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Opus Dei – A Poem About the Work of God In Your Life

Your hot breath has blown on me
and provided the oxygen for glowing embers of love
where there was once nothing but cold, hard coals.

You’ve cultivated my soul
and provided the rich, black soil for roots of patience
where there was once rash temperament without restraint.

Your loving hands have lifted my head hung low in shame,
while your fierce winds have blown like a cyclone across a barren desert,
beginning to level this wall of pride.

You’ve provided for me a solid fortress
deep in the heart of your city
with ramparts tall and wide, impenetrable by the sufferings of this world.

You’ve blessed me with the gift of wisdom, to pause for breath.
I once dove headfirst into life’s battles like a torpedo of chaos without thought,
only to be whipped into retreat, scrambling for cover alone in the dark.

Your tongue has embraced my closed eyelids;
your passionate kiss has restored my sight.
You’ve given me a new pair of eyes able to see farther than myself.

Your loving discipline has provided the humility capable of producing laughter
when I take myself too seriously,
caught up in grandiose schemes and dreams of personal glory.

You’ve implanted in me fragments of courage.
Each day I’m getting more comfortable stripping off clothes of delusion
and encouraging the world to look at my naked frame; imperfect, bound in anxious chains.

You’ve taught me how to sow, where I once only reaped.
The seeds of contemplation have grown into hope,
setting my heart on distant destinations, where not long ago I accepted defeat.

The Spirit moves in incalculable paces like a dancer swayed by rhythmic beats.
You’ve given me a new appreciation for the wind, smirking at how it blows wherever it wishes; I was once engulfed by anxiety embracing unpredictable forces.

Faith has given me footsteps where my feet were once immobile, heavy as iron.
Fear remains, but it doesn’t incapacitate me.
I can walk on water as long as my vision is focused on you.

I’m no longer terrified of your wrath; you’ve given me the green light
to doubt, to challenge, to investigate, to verify, but you’ve also allowed
my heart to accept that sometimes our walk requires steps of blind faith.

It’s becoming easier to call you Captain and turn over the keys to my fate,
finally able to humbly accept that I am incapable of steering this ship,
understanding your hands are the only ones qualified to take the helm.

You’re consistent affirmations are beginning to ease my mind over finite time.
I once restlessly rattled the cage, unceasingly beat and banged
upon the heavy door of immorality, feeling owed admittance.

But you make peace of mind a possible reality; detached from the bondage of self, starved from the selfish desires of the flesh. You give me food filled with substance where I once only chewed and swallowed emptiness.

I am far from at peace.
I am not absent of fear.
I am still riddled by questions without answers.
I am not unmoved by my sufferings.
I come unhinged by my own madness.
I am inhibited by narcissistic obsessions.
I am wavered by trials.
I can be found in moments of doubt.
I still unsheathe my tongue as a weapon.
I am sometimes caught without showing patience.
I am occasionally guarded and scoff at love.
I still sometimes rage against offering others my hand or my time.
I am not always victorious over my passions.
I fall prey to temptations.

Yes, I admit that I am far from perfect.
But your perfection is slowly, but surely
working to change me into a better man.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley

Opus Dei – Latin for the work of God


 

photo credit: 2750 Hot colors for a cold days via photopin (license)

Grace – A Poem

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Grace – A Poem

I am awed by the way you move me
like freshly fallen snowflakes dusting across the frozen ground.
Some days I forget the barren tundra from which I came
and how you whispered by name, echoing across that vacant landscape
so that a lost soul could be found.

Some days time passes by me without a single thought
that each waking moment is a treasure –
a gift granted, light years away from being deserved.
But despite all my wrongs and all the foolish footpaths
I chose to walk, in my time of desperation I called
and without hesitation you answered.

Each single second is abounding opportunity,
a renewed possibility for new life.
My destination was one I was unable to arrive at
by the work of my own hands, but while I lingered,
withering away in the darkness, you nestled me
within your loving embrace and brought me back into the light.

The fact that I breathe and my heart beats
is a living testament to your endless love and grace.
May I never forget from where I came and that each day is a gift
that I should unceasingly praise and never waste.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley


 

photo credit: Morning mist via photopin (license)

Like Me – A Poem About Loving Yourself

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 12:9-10

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God doesn’t make mistakes. It’s easy to compare your weaknesses to other peoples’ strengths and become discouraged; it’s easy to let it tear down your self-esteem and think you have no value or self-worth. But often times, it is our weaknesses that have the greatest potential to transform other people. Our weaknesses are what make us human and give God the greatest opportunity to reveal his glory and redemption. As hard as it is sometimes, by learning to like our weaknesses and accept them instead of hiding them in the dark, we can allow others to see God’s light and give others the confidence to open themselves as well. That doesn’t mean we don’t try to improve them or allow them to run our life because “that’s the way God made me”; it means we have the courage to admit we’re weak, have issues, and allow God to transform us instead of pretending like they don’t exist or trying to do all the work ourselves.

Like Me – A Poem About Loving Yourself

I like me.
I’m learning to love the flaws
I see staring back at me in the mirror…
They keep me humble.
Each time I stumble humility grows
And flows through my eyes. allowing me to accept others’ shortcomings.

I like me.
Just as crazy as I come,
Never refusing to silence the feelings that drip
Like sweet drops of honey from the tip of my tongue…
They keep me honest and open, vulnerable and true.
They give others the confidence to let down their guard
And feel comfortable walking in their own shoes.

I like me
With a belly full of fear
And a heart filled with angst…
It keeps my pride in check
And my will at bay,
Knowing that left to my own devices
I’d likely be lying in a grave.

I love me
Even when I don’t like me,
For after all, this is the way God made me.
Who am I to critique his work?
What can the clay say to the Potter,
Except to appreciate and accept
The art sculpted by His hands.
I like me because in the chaos created by my flaws
I know He brings order from anarchy and has a plan.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley


 

photo credit: via photopin (license)

The Black Veil – A Poem

5150943940_b94fffd722_bThe Black Veil – A Poem

I wear this black veil of despair
Like the wrappings of a mummy,
Covering my self-inflicted wounds.

My face frozen in cold, blank stare
Trapped within my tomb,
Alone in my room.

Why do you continue to test me?
Why do you hold out savory meat
Only to snatch it from my hands?

It is wrong for me to question your authority,
To question the good of your plans,
To hold you in contempt, unable to understand?

I wear this lonely shroud of betrayal.
Spend my days wondering
Why is it I who should be denied?

Haven’t I sought to be faithful?
Why are the wicked given an easy ride,
Never facing near the trials you’ve thrown in my life?

Is it too much to ask
For an outlet to this love,
Just to have a companion by my side?

Each time the die is cast
Comes another lashing to my pride,
Another time where I’d discarded and thrown aside.

Why is it that romantic lovers
Are often the ones alone,
While cheaters, liars, thieves, and betrayers come home to open arms?

But though anger stirs, I’ll patiently wait to discover
Why you seem set on placing me in the midst of harm,
Why alone is always where you think I belong.

I wear this black veil of despair,
But I trust that you know more
Than what sits before my somber scene.

I guess that life is not always fair,
So be my rock upon which I lean
As I wait in solitude until you send to me my queen.

-Poem by Justin Farley


 

photo credit: Dream is Just A Dream via photopin (license)