Burst At The Seams
I catch a thread at the corner of my eye, panic at the state of my dress. I pull out the thread, hoping to contain, but I am opening stitch by stitch, until it is undone. I feel down other lines, trace my fingers along the grooves, touching the smallest of stitches, the finest of threads that hold together the fabric of this garment. It is the seams that create a neat finish, the seams that hide the glory of human flesh tidily beneath the fabric. Because we all, with every inch of flesh and bone in us, want to live the neat and tidy life. Needle to thread, we stitch a seam of maturity, of how-to and how-not-to live, following closely the patterns we observe in the world around us.
And there’s a seam in my heart, one I trace back to spending hours pouring my soul over, needle to thread, weaving through all the truths I believed I must live, and all the expectations that would keep my life neat, keep it tidy. Because who longs to live a messy life displaying only rugged edges and pulled out threads all over? Yet with every stitch, it feels like I closed the hollow in my ears, unable to hear, sealed the passion burrowing in me, unable to live. For to be fully alive, is to be wholly attentive to the Voice that calls you into being, and to allow the flame inside you to burn as fierce and as loud as the Voice.
There is a song bottled in the heart, a beautiful symphony that awakens the soul to live out audaciously. We stifle the lyrics through finance-focused careers, pleasing those around us and masking who we are that we may be accepted. Yet every Word calls for embracing the unknown, to live day by day, uncalculated, unplanned, radically obedient. And in that radical obedience, a radical defiance to all the suppose-to-do and the should-do’s, shaking off every expectation we claimed as our own.
In our desperation to stitch our frayed seams to picture perfection we neglect the tell tale signs of the thread as it pierces our fabric. So when there comes a day when the thread snaps and the material wears thin from carrying a weight it was never meant to bear, what will the mark the needle left tell? There is the thread I stitch with, the thread of performance, perfectionism, scarcity and of comparison. The thread of lies, insecurities and of living for the applause that never seems to arrive. The thread that tightens and holds the fabric is the very thread that tangles us into an insolvable knot.
There is an otherworldly thread. This thread like the ECG on a monitor is the thread that does not tie but flows, as a steady thrum of a heartbeat bursting from our chest, chasing the truth planted in our hearts and bursting the seams of what is ordinary or expected. This thread is the thread of no seams, no limits, no bounds, no man made edges. This thread does not try to tuck in the chaos inside our world of sadness neatly away. Chaos is with the fabric, every fabric you’ll find it embedded in the fibres; otherworldly fibres that connect our spirit to the Spirit of God. For it is His Kingdom that lies within. It is His Kingdom that fills.
Sometimes my heart aches; am I really free? Do I live free or do I live confined to social and cultural expectations? Perhaps even my very own expectations. Often the well beaten path seems like the only option, when your feet are unsteady and choices seem heavy. But maybe all it takes is to open up your eyes and look beyond these sheltered gardens to see there is a whole forest out there beckoning you to explore its acres.
I’m beginning to understand that God has given us our passions for a reason. They are chosen and they are precious. We are not meant to be smoldered. Smoldered, by the piles of to do lists and meaningless business, obligations and “should dos”. Because what if there really is no “should” in life? Could the words of Esther, “Perhaps this is the moment for which I have been created” (Esther 4:14) hold true in each and every moment?
I believe we are made for adventure; we are made for more.
May we live zealously with purpose, realizing that every choice is a stroke of paint in the picture He is painting of our lives.
May we stop living as prisoners of all the should-do’s.
May we choose to stop calculating our every step.
May we allow the melody to rise, that we may unashamedly burst at the seams.
Co-written with Monica
(Photo courtesy of Mykola Lunov)