The Tortured Artist – A Poem

The Tortured Artist by Justin Farley

Utterly bound by the need for discovery,
yet plagued by the awareness that finding
leaves me no farther along my journey
in the eyes of the world.

The most tortured artist is the realist
who’s aware he’s playing the fool,
but must play his role regardless,
knowing it’s the only powerful card in his hand.

For if alternative aspirations
are not trumped by other’s Bowers,
in the end he’ll be defeated
by the chaos that rises out of self-neglect.

The artist must find pleasure in playing
a game few have the wits to play,
acknowledging he’s likely destined to lose
before he even sits at the table.

The artist must learn to embrace
this necessary madness;
his fulfillment and sanity
depend upon it.

The creative life must never be lived
with the goal of winning.
One must simply find joy and gratitude
in the ability to bring order out of chaos.

-Poem and post written by Justin Farley

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God Will Provide Poem

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
When you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”
-Isaiah 43:2-3

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God Will Provide

When you feel strangled by your mistakes
and crushed beneath the weight of guilt’s landslide,
trust that your shame will give way to redemption,
for God will provide.

When your crops fail you
and your harvest withers at your side,
believe that your table will soon be filled –
for God will provide.

When you’ve come to the end of the causeway
and trouble surrounds you on all sides,
see the way beyond what the eyes can see –
for God will provide.

When your dark night feels eternal,
and it seems the sun refuses to rise,
know there’s already a dawn waiting for you –
for God will provide.

When hope seems all but lost
and tears feel permanent in your eyes,
wait patiently for your redeemer –
for God will provide

When the wind of the world extinguishes your lantern,
and you feel you’ve lost your only guide,
a fire will be lit within you –
for God will provide.

God will provide when it’s hopeless,
when failures engulf your successes,
and when all other paths lead you astray.

God will provide strength to the weary,
a lending hand to the burdened,
and a way where there is no way.

God will provide a key to unlock addictions,
he’s the hero that rises up to slays your dragons,
and he’s the breaker of destructive pride.

God will provide food for your soul,
he gives the restless heart a home,
and is a friend to those the world casts aside.

Yes, in all trials that greet you,
when no road rises up to meet you,
God will provide.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley

 

You can find some of my other Christian poems by clicking here

Poem About Destiny and Fate

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A Haunting Fate

What is this voice that comes
howling in my heart…
this restless ghost that suddenly
comes flooding out of the fog of night…
this ghoul that haunts despite my pleas,
desperately pulling me towards a distant light?

I consistently pull away from its advances,
swatting away its hands like pesky gnats
swarming in the summer sun.
But its fingers remain pointed to a path beside me,
seemingly unable to be free
until my journey has begun.

This phantom follows me despite my begging,
gone one day and back the next.
Mad as a hatter, without reason no matter my argument;
I’m convinced that my speech is wasted breath.
For surely unless its desire is fulfilled,
it will plague me until my death.

Try as I might to silence it,
this whispering voice makes contentment impossible
on this easy path I’ve chosen for me.
Finally, I wail into the wind,
“WHEN DOES THIS MADNESS END?”
And it replies, “when you reach your destiny”.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley

The Cost of Freedom – Recovery Addiction Poem

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The Cost of Freedom

Confining walls, prison cell;
there’s no shame in wearing a straight jacket
if it makes you well.

Dirty dishes, soiled clothes;
it’s a heavy burden to keep
your house clean on your own.

Hidden secrets, concealed lies;
they are the extent of your sickness –
the enemy of recovery is pride.

Foolish illusions, blind in the dark;
the most harmful delusion is believing
you can trust your heart.

Death’s agent, the loser’s bane;
sometimes winning means folding now
to remain in the game.

The humble lives, the prideful dies;
better to trust in another’s truths
than to keep living by your lies.

Safety in numbers, self-reliance self-destructs;
an unchecked mind quickly becomes
unreliable and corrupt.

Freedom is sometimes choosing not to be free;
better to serve a great master,
than sit on the throne of insanity.

-Poem and Content Written by Justin Farley

As a recovering alcoholic who’s been sober for almost 11 years and someone who can become addicted to about anything that makes you feel good, one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in my recovery is the need to let go of my freedom sometimes. The hardest times in recovery are often the ones where we’ve still got one foot in and one foot out, believing that we can be both fully free and fully accountable living by our will power.

For me, I’ve learned that when I’m free I’m a slave, and when I’m a slave I’m free. Quite paradoxical, but I’ve learned that I can’t trust myself to do what I want myself to do. If I sit with temptation long enough, it will eventually over power me no matter how much will power I have.

We don’t want to accept defeat. We don’t want to admit that we’re weak. We want to continue to live by the lie that we’re able to conquer our demons on our own, despite file cabinets full of evidence to the contrary. Sometimes giving up some of your freedom is the only way to protect yourself from yourself. For addicts, I believe the cost of freedom is often freedom itself.

You want to be sober? Well, you’re going to have to give up the freedom of  being able to go to bars. You want to be free from addiction? You’re going to have to give up the freedom of hanging out with people that are still using. You want to be free from your shopping addiction? You’ve got to give up the freedom of carrying cash and credit cards.

Is it possible to keep all your freedoms and remain free from your addictions? Maybe. At least for a period of time, but it’s like playing Russian roulette, never knowing when your addiction is loaded in the chamber. Play long enough, and I believe you’ll eventually self-destruct.

For me, I’ve realized the cost of unchecked freedom is misery and death. And today, I choose to live.

You may also like my other addiction and recovery posts.

Poem About Birds Singing In Spring

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Birdsong

The birds of morning take their places
upon the stage of life’s amphitheater
where their voices have remained mute for months.
But today, they rise in joyful chorus,
belting out melodious tunes.

Isn’t it funny how such a small animal
can make a giant footprint upon the soul
and lift a heavy heart higher
than pharmaceutical cocktails and cognitive endeavors –
a voice that sweeps the soot from the chimney of the soul
with only chirps in rhythmic time and playful ruffles of feathers?

Somewhere subconsciously we believe
they are the gatekeepers of spring
and have enough magic in their beaks
to end this bleak, cursed winter.
Their songs are beautiful incantations,
awakening nature from its deep slumber
and inviting all who hear their music
back to life.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley

Internal Fire – A Poem

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Smoke fills the lungs.
Warning signals run in desperation to alert the mind
in a race that’s become all too familiar.
Flames engulf my entrails
like dry twigs thrown on a campfire on an August night.
In frantic panic, eyes search for aid,
but people pass by as if nothing were amiss.
Surely someone must feel the heat…
Can’t anyone see the fire that burns bright in these eyes?
Doesn’t anyone know the smell of the human spirit
cooking in the oven of fear or hear it’s cry,
wailing when touched by the torch
like a colonial witch burned at the stake?

My mind is already alight,
pulsing in agony,
raging like a wounded animal hobbling through the forest,
flapping my wings like a madman trying to put out invisible flames.
I wait out the blaze until every drop of fuel
has been burnt up within me.
My mind is now only simmering instead of boiling.
My brain’s fire has had it’s excess oxygen removed and dwindles.
But the coals of Hell have taken their toll.
I have been branded,
internally marked as different from society –
part man, part beast,
forced to carry these hideous scars,
these burns that have been seared upon my soul,
feeling like a traveling circus on display for all to see.

The internal fire is felt,
but remains unseen.
Daily situations necessary for living in modern society
are tiny sparks that land upon the mind’s kindling,
never knowing when flames will roar up
and engulf my essence once again,
always burning with too much heat,
and I never have enough water.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley

Short Poem About Self Esteem and Your Self-Image

A Short Poem About Your Self-Image, Self Esteem, and Positive Thinking

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“The Mirror”

The mirror stands tall and peers with endless eyes,
full of the power to change your course in life.
It’s skilled in planting and sowing your demise,
yet is always willing to inspire and energize.
It’s the instigator of failure’s reprise,
or makes goals and dreams actualized.
The mirror grants the viewer a new image with each sunrise,
but only reflects back what the mind supplies.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley

Religious Christmas Poem About Jesus Birth

A Christian Christmas Poem About the Birth of Christ

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“ILLUMINATION”

Seeds of fire grow with smoky breath.
Tongues of flame lick the darkness
and eat away the barriers to sight.
Slowly shadows melt off of objects
once obscured beneath black blankets of night.

As the heat rises, images of revelation meet the eyes.
Secrets are revealed.
Knowledge comes crashing like water through a flood gate
beaten by a power it can no longer contain.
The Light illuminates life
like a candle in a pitch-black room.
Wisdom finds a new master
as it discovers it was a fool.

The Light flashes before the eyes
in waves of soothing warmth
and unravels the threads of night’s curtain.
Fear loses meaning in the face of safety.
The proud humble themselves before Him,
in light of life’s true meaning.
Glory dances in joyful sway.
Tongues of fire rise from the black sea
to reign over a new day,
licking eyes and crying, “Holy, holy, holy”,
illuminating a world once covered in utter darkness.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley

You may also these Christian poems and posts about Advent and Christmas –
Be Aware, Be Alert, Be Ready – A Commentary For Advent
When Love Stepped Off His Throne
Emmanuel – God With Us.

You can find all of my Christian poetry HERE

Christian Poem About Having An Inflated Ego and Being Selfish

A Christian Poem About the Dangers of Being Selfish and Prideful

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“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” – Proverbs 16:18 (KJV)

“Me, My, Mine” 

Ignorance is expressed as “me, my, mine”,
ignoring in every facet of life the presence of the Divine.
Covering your eyes doesn’t make the sun not shine.
but pride is sure to make you stumble and walk around blind –

blind to the truth that we were made
in God’s image and goodness finds the keeper of His ways;
blind to the harsh reality that we are weak and must be saved
by the One death could not hold, who walked out of the grave.

In these times, it’s easy to get lost
in delusional thinking and high, proud thoughts,
in believing that joy can be found in the things we’ve got,
and in turning blessings into things we’ve “earned” and bought.

When I elevate myself higher than you,
I eliminate the need for compassion and to walk in your shoes.
When I look at the world through my selfish view,
everything is made for me, and there’s nothing forbidden for me to do.

A self-centered nature will never leave you complete.
Attitude is determined by the thoughts you eat.
A fat ego bumps into everyone you meet.
“Me, my, mine” are words of arrogance and deceit.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley

Beyond the Poetry

Pride and an inflated ego is the quickest way to destroy a relationship with God and anyone you come into contact with. Pride is the worst possible sin there is. Why? Because all other sins give you the chance for redemption. You know you’ve done something wrong and must ask for forgiveness. A prideful person, however, doesn’t see the need. Being prideful places you above anyone else and puts you in the place of God.

Selfishness is a byproduct of pride. When you believe you are more important than others, you deserve more than everyone else and should always be the first in line and get the best things. When you have a selfish mind, it’s impossible to appreciate the blessings that God has given you and be thankful. Nothing is ever going to be enough to keep you satisfied and someone is always going to have something you want.

I am guilty of pride and likely you are too. We all feel the need for more.  The only real solution is turning to the cross to see that God sees us all the same as sinners in need of His mercy. Jesus didn’t come to help us out, but to save us and pay the debt that we owed. Because of Jesus, we can look at every single person and see the image of God, knowing that we are no better than them.

Humility is the beginning of wisdom because a prideful person is unable to learn from another. If you are not humble, it is unlikely you are going to listen to God’s Word either. You will make excuses and create your own rules. Using “me, my, or mine” is usually a good indicator that you are being self-centered. Following Jesus requires us to start using “he, she, and them” much more often than pronouns about ourselves.

You may also enjoy my other Christian Poetry

Deep Poem About Depression and Feeling Emptiness

Deep Poem About Depression and Feeling Empty, Nothing, and Alone

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“The Nothing”

Desire eludes me like an admirable foe
in a game of hide-and-seek.
I know it’s somewhere close,
but always feels out of reach.

I call out and question this vast nothingness
that often settles in my soul,
but its mute tongue remains silent and never speaks.

I wander through the trees,
searching the ground for the inspirational feelings
that I lost somewhere along the way.
I track their footprints across past progress,
but lately find nothing to push me through the day.

Depression’s misunderstood bane is not sadness,
on display for all with sobs and sudden tears,
but the emptiness that keeps your heart hidden from yourself –
the absence of feeling when excitement speaks in your ears.

To stare at beauty and recognize it with the mind alone
breaks the gates between life and death.
The numbness tugs you towards the boundary
until you feel like a ghost, with no part of yourself left.

Desire, motivation, and inspiration –
they all snub me and leave me slumped in this chair
feeling half-dead and without the energy to get up into life.
Depression begins as a teardrop,
but ends as a restless phantom sucking at what’s left of your soul
in a seemingly endless cold, dark night.

– Poem Written by Justin Farley

Beyond the Poetry

For a great deal of my life I never thought I was depressed because I didn’t feel sad, I didn’t cry, wasn’t suicidal, or have suicidal thoughts. But I failed to see that I often didn’t feel happy, motivated, inspired, ambitious, or love either. Depression has become more accepted and recognized by people, but I believe that the general public accepts or only recognizes one side of depression – the side they can relate to.

Everyone has felt sad, lonely, “depressed”, or grief at some point. They can relate to depression in that way. Few people have felt emptiness or nothing at all for an extended period of time. At least when you feel sorrow, you feel something. A bad something is often better than nothing. Nothing feels not human. Nothing claws at the thing that makes you “you”, until you can’t find it anymore.

When someone is visibly crying and obviously distressed, it’s easy to get sympathy or at least provide real evidence why you can’t do something. Emptiness, however, can’t be seen. You still look the same. It doesn’t appear anything is wrong with you, but inside of you there is something cripplingly wrong.

How do you explain depression when you don’t really even know how to describe it? You may be labeled lazy by people who can’t understand, but you can feel lazy. Nothing is nothing. No desire. No motivation. No ambition. No feeling to do anything. Because feelings and emotions are one of the key elements that define us as humans, it’s too abstract for people that have never been clinically depressed to understand. It’s hard enough for us that deal with it to understand…

Sometimes you must act regardless of how you feel. I understand that. But behind acting for something you don’t want to do is feeling for something you do what. You may not want to clean the kitchen, but you do it anyways not because you have to, but because you desire a clean house. You may hate the temporary job you have, but you do it because you desire to work your way up in the company or because you desire money. And that’s why depression is hard to explain and hard to comprehend by others.

When you’re depressed, often there is NO desire. You don’t want to clean the kitchen and you don’t desire a clean house, even when you want to desire a clean house. You hate the temporary job and have no desire to show up, to make money, or the ambition to move up in a company, even though you want those desires. Humans do just about everything because of some desire, whether it’s directly or indirectly connected. The mundane work gets done because you have a greater desire for something else that requires it to be completed. People that are depressed often have no desire to do anything.

Being depressed is like trying to be in a relationship with someone that you don’t like, love, and find very unattractive. You try to will yourself to love them. You try over and over, but no matter what you do, you can’t force yourself to suddenly be attracted them them and love them. Sooner or later you hit a brick wall and give up because it’s draining you inside and nothing is changing despite all your attempts. Depression is like that, except life is your relationship and you want nothing to do with it, despite how much you want it to change. It makes you feel something other than being human and utterly alone.

I didn’t write this poem on depression to produce feelings of hopelessness or sadness. I think it’s important for those who suffer from mental illness to see other people’s struggles, so that they know that they are not alone. Mental illness isn’t fun and sometimes “trying to stay positive” is exhausting and self-defeating. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t a core part of getting better. But some days you just need to know that there is someone out there that is like you. That you’re not the only of your kind and can still relate to someone of the human race.

You may not ever be able to express what depression feels like or get others to understand. That’s not your fault or theirs. It’s just not possible because unless you’ve felt it, you can’t comprehend it. But you’re not alone, and there are thousands of people feeling just like you. That doesn’t change the fact that you’re depressed, but it does give you comfort knowing that you’re not the only one dealing with it. Hope only ceases when we decide we’re going to quit looking for it. Keep looking. Keep searching for a way out of your cold, dark night and back into the warmth of life.