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)

Illusions – A Poem

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Illusions – A Poem

The demon water you drink
Is devouring your soul.
Don’t you know this road has no happy ending
And your heart will turn cold?

Repeating lies does not change reality.
Sooner or later you’ll have to face life’s inevitable truth.
Don’t set yourself on foolish paths, don’t chase foolish pursuits,
And hang your happiness up by your own noose.

The lies we tell our hearts are more deadly…more potent
Than the poison spewed from your lips.
Silence the serpent, the viper, the piper
That sings you mirages of bliss.

Strength is weak;
Weak is strong.
Pride brews careless ways
And pushes you to places you don’t belong.

Independence is dependence;
Dependence is independence.
Try to sweep the truth under the rug if you like,
But in solitude you depend on a mind of madness.

The free is captive;
The captive, free.
For the one who relies on self alone
Is bound in lonely chains of slavery.

Call yourself what you wish,
But truth still stares back at you in the mirror.
Pretending to be confident and defiant,
Does not erase your heart of fear.

The proud are brought to their knees;
The meek stand on their own two feet,
For the first step of growth
Is admitting you’re in need and weak.

So bat your lying eyes and put on a show.
But through your smirk, you’ll find only tears.
The road to hell is seen as heaven
By eyes that are blind and ears that refuse to hear.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley

Growing Pains – A Poem

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Growing Pains – A Poem

Why are these dreams that stretch out across my heart’s field of desire,
That glisten Like droplets of drew sparkling on the morning grass,
So hard to obtain, so hard to take to take hold of,
And so hard to lasso and pull close to reality?
The burden is bearing the tragedy of it all,
Knowing what you want, what you need,
Lies just beyond the forest and through the trees,
But you seem unable to put those desires into action.
So often I’m fixated on distractions that pull me off-course,
And get me lost on side paths instead of trekking onward
Towards goals, aspirations, and destinations.
It drives a person mad, carrying around bags of frustrations,
Grueling through labor day after day,
Counting the minutes, knowing there has to be another way.
But the Way is left without footprints, often prepared for
But never ventured and what’s left of hope slowly fades away.
There’s a demon inside of me that seems unable to be controlled,
Scoffing at dreams, content to let life pass me by,
Trampling on schedules, and consistently cursing meaningful causes.
Claws strike out at my fingers each time
I reach out to grasp my true potential.
I now know the paved road to success doesn’t exist.
You must venture through the dense forest,
Fight through the clinging vines, and thrash through the sticks.
No, to journey with intention is no vacation,
And the mess inside me, always attempting to misguide me, is no easy fix.
But the trail to nowhere is covered by countless footprints
And paved with the trampled dreams others have left behind.
The alarm clock beckons.
Wisdom speaks.
My souls shrieks.
But for some reason I have yet to understand,
I hear, but refuse to listen.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley


photo credit: After the rainfall via photopin (license)

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

Upon This Rock – A Christian Poem of Grace

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Upon This Rock – A Christian Poem of Grace

Upon this rock I walk
Uncertain, yet composed.
Not crushed beneath the veil of darkness,
For with me always is a light that glows.
The demons of my weakness harass me.
Past failures breed doubts to future plans.
But upon this rock I’m free,
Caressed and cradled in loving hands.
Often I do not recognize my actions.
They are not in line with the man I know.
Ruthlessness is my natural reaction,
Yet somehow seeds of love are sown.
Anger still has moments of victory,
But the battles are swaying with tides of grace.
Love is beginning to reside within me,
Routing out my weeds of hate.
It is by no strong will of mine,
But because of this rock on which I stand.
It is only by the power of the Divine
That I am being transformed into a better man.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley

photo credit: IMG_2870.jpg via photopin (license)

Rapunzel – A Poem About Fighting For Love

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Rapunzel – A Poem About Fighting For Love

“Rapunzel, Rapunzel,
Let down thy hair.”
Neither sleet nor rain,
Darkness nor pain,
Cold nor ice
Will suffice to keep me away
From your tower of solitude.
You can ascend spiral stairs of stone
Into the sky’s recesses,
But I will follow your tresses,
Clinging and holding on despite your wrongs.
The song you sing is without equal,
And nowhere but by your side do I belong.
This love I have for you
Does not just cling to the beauty of the blossom,
But dwells in the depths of darkness, down to the root.
You can hack off at the stem, but it will quickly grow a new shoot.
Your veil of secrecy is coming unraveled, my dear.
Your fear and all that you believe can remain hidden is exposed;
You can hide beneath it no longer.
Because like thorns on a rose
It is apart of you,
Nestled within you,
And I’m here to tell you
The rose I gaze upon has never looked so lovely.
I long more than ever to bathe in your beauty,
Be swept away by the fragrance of your scent,
Rest my fingers upon your petals,
And block the wind and rain from bruising your stem.
This tower of solitude you seek to conceal your darkness in
Does not block, nor can it stop my love.
I will scale your walls if I have to,
And each time I fall will begin again.
For trapped within a chamber courting madness
Lies the woman I love and my dearest friend.
Without her I am not the same.
You are the sweet, spring rain
That falls on me and restores me after a harsh, cold winter
And alleviates my pain.
Hide no longer.
I am not scared of what you keep locked up inside.
Unleash it upon me and see that I am not moved,
That my love stands firm, and in me you can confide.
Your struggles, weaknesses, insecurities –
Set them free.
Look into my eyes and know
You can trust in me.
I am not here to rescue you.
I can’t battle your demons for you,
But I will walk with you on this journey
If you’ll only reach out and take my hand.
Know that no matter how hard this climb gets,
I’ll never let go.
I will wait patiently outside your tower
Until you’re ready to let me in,
Until you see that I’m not just your lover,
But also your soul mate and best friend.
I love all of you, including what lies locked in your tower.
You don’t have to be afraid that you feel scared and without power.
You can be exposed to me – naked, vulnerable, and bare.
“Rapunzel, Rapunzel,
Let down thy hair.”

– Poem Written by Justin Farley, quoted segment taken from the story “Rapunzel” by the Brothers Grimm

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/
photo credit: oh the shame, the shame via photopin (license)