How Anxiety Distracts Us From God

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 The Noticer

Let me be a noticer of things in your world
instead of a dweller of my inner thoughts,
worries, and selfish longings
that only keep me distracted from you.

For when I uproot myself out of the present moment
and plant my focus on myself,
I rob myself of the joy
of witnessing your glory and beauty
all around me.

I have always been a highly observant person, picking out minor details that others often miss. On my morning walk in the woods today I noticed an old, wooden beam with rusted barbwire wrapped around the edges that had clearly once been a fence post. The problem was that I’d walked this path dozens of times before. Worse, it only stood a few inches off the trail.

What may seem an unimportant observation worried me. I should have noticed this a long time ago. But then again, maybe I’m not quite as observant as I once was…not since anxiety and worry have become a constant companion.

I sat there looking at that fence post, noticing for the first time the rotting wood and the crumbling decay of age. In my perifocal view I then noticed a bee hovering around a flower and insects crawling along the earth. I was struck with the realization that I have formed a habit of being so stuck inside my head observing my anxieties and worries that I have lost an awareness of the world around me.

I’ve decided I’m still a highly observant person; I’ve just been preoccupied with the wrong details. Anxiety and worry cause us to retreat inward, focusing on only our thoughts and feelings, preparing for the “what ifs” of the future. In the process they rob us of the joy and experience of life in the present moment.

God dwells in the here and now. God speaks in the present. God walks with us in this moment. When we try to place ourselves in the future, we make no room for God. For the future is determined by His will, not ours. And that is what anxiety and fear inspire us to do, don’t they? To just sprint past God and try to prepare, plan, and control what happens next. We lack faith in God’s providence, so we seek out our own providence. We are finite creatures who are not built to withstand that kind of responsibility. When we put ourselves in control of managing our future, we collapse under the weight of worry.

Even more importantly, when we are constantly distracted by our worries and removed from the here and now, we miss out on the wonderful experience of witnessing God’s glory and beauty all around us.  The beauty of a sunset, the feeling of the wind against your skin, the magic of the leaves changing colors, the love in another’s eyes, the wisdom God passes on in seemingly unimportant things.

It’s a hard fight to pull yourself out of your own head and leave all the worrying behind. It’s maybe an even harder fight to trust in God. But there are opportunities for redemption all around us, yet we have to be attentive to the present moment to recognize them. If we remain focused on the incessant cycle of self-centered thoughts, we deny ourselves the gift of seeing God’s divine presence right here, right now.

-Post and Poem Written by Justin Farley

Trusting in God Instead of Your Understanding Poem

Be My Vision

 

Be the eyes through
which I see –
so that I may not gaze
into the past with regret
or worry about what’s before me.

In past, present, and future
let me only see you and your will.

May I not be obsessed with
the weather in my life –
so that I trust in your love
whether the sun is shinning
or I’m alone in the dark of night.

In joy, pain, and in the plain
you remain utterly in control.

Let it be your will
that I’m planning –
so that I’m not tossed
off-course by human vision
and lean on my own understanding.

I’m powerless to understand your thoughts and ways.
Let me just rest, assured in your love.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley

Narcissus and God – A Poem

painting of Narcissus by Italian painter Caravaggio

My feelings for you swing like a pendulum,
driven by the forces of gravity;
pulled back down by life’s realities
and the weather during these ever-changing seasons of my life.
I have hated you.
I have loved you.
I have sought you and found nothing but empty space.
I have sought you and found the beauty of your face.
I’ve lacked even the desire to seek, scared at what I’d find.
I’ve hoped you never existed,
so I was free to play with the pleasures of my mind.
But now, oh Lord, I have you, and you are mine.

Though between us still sits a boulder
on this road that you lead me down
that blocks my vision of you and drives me off-course of your level ground.
It is a heart surging, bleeding
with self-righteousness, selfishness, and self-seeking.
Dismiss it to the gallows!
String it up by a noose, and may your grip
let the iniquity drip away.
For though I love you, my deepest desire is still not your heart
but my own.
Do not drive me mad by Echo’s song,
singing of my guilt and my wrongs;
mute my ears and turn my eyes to you.

I desire you, but am unsure of how to still these narcissistic tendencies –
they’re all I’ve ever know since birth.
I’ll never be able to kill
this desire to lie down beside the pool of pride
and bask in the beauty of my own reflection.
But surely you have the power to make the waters change their shape.
May the ripples subside, divide, and instead of mine,
may I see your face.

Poem Written by Justin Farley


Image a painting by Italian painter Caravaggio 1597-1599

Wandering – A Christian Poem About Guilt

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Your commandments loom over me,
Blinding my eyes like a bright light in the midst of darkness.
It hurts my eyes and causes me to turn away
From the angelic presence of your glory.
Isn’t this the essence of the human story,
Locked in a constant battle with our foolish hearts
Year after year choosing to remain chained,
Restrained in the bonds of slavery?

But what is this desire that I should
Choose slavery, to remain under the cloud of your judgement
And continue serving the weak idols of my passions
Instead of an infinite God of unfathomable majesty and might?
Why do I consistently chose to fight against you,
Knowing I will lose?
Why do I fail to chose you even when I desire to do so?
How do I approach the Judge’s bench,
Knowing beyond all doubt that I am guilty?

But your mercy is as endless as beautiful fields of clover,
Covering my rebellious ways beneath blankets of green pastures.
For who among us is without the stain of guilt
That has been branded and tattooed upon our feeble hearts?
If there is no Law, if your ways are simply the creation of the human mind,
Why do I find that I am condemned and guilty
Beyond all reasonable doubt?
It is not simply the shame of hurting my fellow man
That stirs my restless heart to reason.
No. It is a primal instinct woven into the fabric of my being
To alert me when I walk paths away from you,
Allowing me to acknowledge that I am lost without your truth.

But you are a hound dog that never grows tired,
Steadfast, seeking me throughout the ever-changing seasons of my soul,
Loving me when I’m near you,
And loving me just the same when I’ve lost control
Of my sinful desires.
Your fire burns like a raging sun and is just as hot
Among the snows of winter as it is in the summer heat.
My love is your ultimate desire,
Not because you need me, but because you know without you
I will always be incomplete.

We mute our ears to your voice,
Eager to continue along our paths to destruction,
But even the proudest hearts fall to humility
In the presence of your might.
Lord, may your light shine ever bright
And lead us from the darkness of this night,
Which we have created by blocking out
The warming rays of your precious Son.

-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/

photo credit: Nice Sunset (HDR) via photopin (license)

The Problem of Man – A Christian Poem

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The Problem of Man – A Christian Poem

You whisper to me in shades of sadness,
Silently stammering like a broken record
Skipping over the same ol’ speech.
What do I do with this madness –
This sinful desire that corrupts my heart with each new beat?

I welcome you with open arms
The moment pain wraps itself
Like a boa constrictor around my mind.
Plead for you to rescue me from harm,
But leave you in the shadows the second I’m doing fine.

Who but you could contain the mercy
To welcome me back time and time again through your door?
What is this unscrubbable stain marred in the depths of me
That shatters my affection for you whom I adore?

You offer me a freedom incomparable,
But my selfish heart only sees it
As a prison sentence locked in chains.
The tendency of man to wander from you is undeniable –
It’s observably obvious we’re all playing a losing game.

So how do we step up on the scale of justice,
Knowing that we carry a burden
Too heavy to counter on our own.
Left alone there is no hope for us –
The payment is much too costly for us to atone.

But in your infinite love
You sent a shepherd to track down your lost sheep.
The sacrifice we were unable to make stepped down from above
To keep the promises we are unable to keep.

Sin’s deep and dark sea you swallowed –
Vengeance poured out on the only one
Worthy to refrain from its sting.
You willingly walked to the gallows
To right the wrong and to repair our broken wings.

But yet still I am unable to turn from darkness,
My heart unable to renounce its ways.
Each time I make promises of righteousness
Your heart is time and time again betrayed.

I have the perfect lover
Standing, waiting with open arms.
Yet, still I seek another.
Still I delight in doing what I know is wrong.

Take this black piece of coal
That beats softly in my chest,
Restore it whole.
Give it the strength to pass the tests.

I once thought I was a lovely servant –
A shinning example of proper Godliness.
But I too have given ear to the serpent.
I too am weak like all the rest.

Master, keep us in your unending mercy.
Stir our hearts to seek your ways.
Give your blind children the eyes to see,
And let us incessantly sing your praise.

-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/


photo credit: Even in Darkness~ via photopin (license)

My Conceited Heart – A Christian Poem About Turning Away From God

Is it your will that we should become strangers
The moment I become a stranger to pain?
The wind howls your lonely lullaby
As I drift on forgetting your name.

Your deliverance is a selfless act
Wrapped up and gifted as incomparable love –
Your omniscient knowledge knowing we will turn away
The second you stop the tears of our flood.

You have called my name
Across the darkness of countless restless nights,
But strangely my ears become mute
The second I step into the light.

Without anything needed,
My wicked heart is content to drift away.
For my love is conceited –
An expert of prayer, a novice of praise.

But your endless beauty transcends all,
Extending further into love than we can ever comprehend.
For we do not only call you Lord and Master,
But also lover and friend.

We are a lost flock,
Going our own way until the wolves close in.
But even in our weakness the Good Shepherd saves,
Dying for us while we were still under sin.

Master, may I count my blessings.
May I always remember from who they come.
May it not take the pangs of sorrow
For me to seek the glory of your son.

-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/

The Lamb Who Sanctifies – A Christian Poem

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The Lamb Who Sanctifies – A Christian Poem 

What peace, what hope
What incomparable growth
That sprouts from the True Vine.

What love, what joy
To be employed –
To do the work of the Divine.

Oh, the rapture brought forth from your pain.
Wrath appeased, the Lamb is slain.
Hyssop branches sprinkle your blood over our hearts.

Guilty the charge, but sentenced grace.
Slate wiped clean, our sins erased.
By your stripes we were ransomed and bought.

Heavenly Father, LORD of hosts.
You sanctify by smearing your blood on our doorposts.
Surely you are the Most High…the Great I AM.

Lord of all, yet our high priest.
The trumpet beckons to prepare the feast.
Until then we anxiously await the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

-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/


photo credit: Lamb of God 50 via photopin (license)