Granted it’s a pretty depressing song, but it’s been the most relevant to me on this album the most times. There’s many more songs of hope, but this one in particular is powerful when
you are “in it.” What I love is that it doesn’t say to give up. I’m glad I didn’t. Not just on life, but on so much more. Right now it feels kinda like I’ve given up on a lot of friends, family, ministry and more, but as Sherry and I discussed this morning, it’s doing what’s necessary, it’s that tough love I’m experiencing in the gray I’m going through.

Been fighting things that I can’t see in
Like voices coming from the inside of me and
Like doing things I find hard to believe in
Am I myself or am I dreaming?

Wow, was this my reality in October when wondering if my struggle was just me or if it was God’s leading? I mean, it was IT. I know I was fighting something internally & the battle raged inside my head as to what to do. What to think. Who I was. I remember wondering if I was indeed dreaming. Those are actually called nightmares. It was so hard to discern between what was real and what were the “voices coming from inside of me.” My thoughts and even words I said were things I found hard to believe in myself. I think of Psalm 51 how David says he sinned against God alone and I must confess that I was there knowing and confessing my sin of wrong thinking but not knowing how to change. In fact, when you know you’re doing something wrong, that you feel the way you do (about someone, some thing or situation or even life itself, WHAT DO YOU DO?) The simple answer is to bring it to God in prayer. Have friends also do it. And while it’s trite and doesn’t seem to affect your feelings, it is what we are called to do. It’s what Jesus did. It’s what I do still, knowing that’s what I’m called to do as a simple Christ-follower. It’s amazing how when I do (and you, too), you end up releasing your fears, frustrations, worries and more – the weight so often gets lifted.

I’ve been awake for an hour or so
Checking for a pulse but I just don’t know

Have you ever felt like that? And I don’t mean when you had the flu. You wonder if you’re really alive. If who you are and how you can function is even a possibility. I think more than 95% of people have experienced this low.

Am I a man when I feel like a ghost?
The stranger in the mirror is wearing my clothes

I sang this line about the stranger in the mirror more often than I can remember. I thought about the truth in it and wondered who I was, as I continue to, only receiving more clarity time and again. But I don’t think you have to be depressed to sing this. I mean, when GREAT things happen, we can rejoice that we’ve become a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). These last four lines can be a great thing!

No I’m not alright
I know that I’m not right
A steering wheel don’t mean you can drive
A warm body don’t mean I’m alive
No I’m not alright
I know that I’m not right
Feels like I travel but I never arrive
I want to thrive not just survive

What an honest chorus. I realized I’m not alright. And just because I have a position or because I have a pulse or a job doesn’t mean that I’m driving or that I’m alive. It does feel like I’m working and trying and “doing” the right things, but I’m just not getting to where I know I need to be going. I was surviving & I continue to, but I want to thrive! In so many ways now, I am. What a blessing!

We all can say this, though. Again, it’s not about being stuck in the mire, but realizing that as sinners, humans born into this broken world, we are not alright. And the only way we can thrive is to allow Jesus the Christ to reign in and through us. We are nothing without Him (John 15:5), yet we are everything with Him (John 15:7). I’d rather be “not alright” abiding in Christ than “alright” on my own.

I come alive when I hear you singing
But lately I haven’t been hearing a thing and
I get the feeling that I’m in between
A machine and a man who only looks like me

Oh how the Psalms are my favorite book in the Bible. Deep emotions and honesty sing throughout them and I not only relate, but they give me words to pray and say to our creator that clearly are okay for me to say because they’re in His Word! Listening to worship music and Christian songs was all I did in the fall, yet it was hard to hear – I felt like a machine just walking through life. Preaching my last time on ugliness I felt like a machine.

I try and hide it and not let it show
But deep down inside me I just don’t know
Am I a man when I feel like a hoax?
The stranger in the mirror is wearing my clothes

While I believed my last message, I knew it was my last but no one else did. I knew I was a man, but I felt like a hoax the last two months everywhere I was except at home. Again, the stranger was wearing my clothes (and he really needed some new threads).

The chorus repeats a few more times as well as the first verse, but the bridge is fantastic.

I’m always close but I’m never enough

I’m a perfectionist. The hard part is that in my perfectionism I’m not only a perfectionist for me but everyone around me. This makes it hard to be a good co-worker, father and friend. I always see ways to improve. At times I share them, but more often than not the how I share the improvements needs work. I think it’s because I hold things in (so many thoughts) that when they come out they’re not just the idea, but a bunch of other baggage that comes with it. As a result my idea is not only tainted but I’ve basically made a fool out of myself. I’ve got the idea. God’s blessed me with wisdom, but it’s the extra-curricular junk that ruins it. I’m close, but I’m not enough. I know it’s how we all feel, but it was especially true for me not only in the fall, but the last 9 out of 12 years.

I’m always in like but I’m never in love

Commitment is tough. I think of so many stories of heroes over time who recruited people and it was either “if you’re not for us, you’re against us,” or “go home if you don’t want to be here because we don’t want extremely willing people.” For me, it’s more like I’m always intense but never balanced. I’m always more than in love instead of healthy devotion. My counselor rumored it to be all or nothing & I think he’s right. I really struggle(d) with this & hope that the healing I am experiencing and not just boundary, but removal will help.

I get so down but I won’t give up
I get so down but I won’t give up

Amen. This is what it’s all about. It’s okay to get down, but don’t give up! This I’m determined in. Why? Because there’s hope. There’s always hope even if we can’t see it. That’s what hope is, by definition. We can’t see it, but we believe it with expectancy. It’s because of hope in Jesus the Christ that I can, will and do thrive.

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