Thirsty Soul

A few years ago, I went through a particularly rough period where I feared my creative bones were beginning to atrophy. Something had trapped my artistic flow, leaving my soul unbearably parched. Dramatic… I know.. But that’s how I felt. I hadn’t written any songs in what had seemed like centuries.

It took most of my freshman year to realize that I wasn’t necessarily lacking inspiration, willingness, time, or diligence in my craft. The truth is, I couldn’t have written anything of substance even if I had ignored all other responsibilities and activities to focus on my music. It wouldn’t suffice to say I had fallen away from my passions or lost touch with my gifts. My thirst for those creative juices had gone unquenched because, ultimately, I had been distant from my Source.

Typically, when I struggle to find peace and joy or feel especially unfulfilled with my day-to-day routine–trapped in an unproductive cycle, taking up space without lending anything of real value to myself and those around me–it’s because I’ve neglected my soul care.

Let me explain the process… The Creator designs us and designates specific gifts/qualities/traits/talents that allow us to fulfill the purposes He desires for our lives. Still, we choose whether or not we employ those attributes to grow personally, physically, spiritually, financially, etc.; maximize our impact; empower others; and build a lasting legacy. The best way to know what we are to accomplish, how we should live, and whom we ought to reach, for instance, is to commune and converse with the Mastermind, himself–the One who graciously bestows the vision and the resources, in the first place. Without this connection, we’re lost.

I couldn’t write without direction, and I couldn’t receive instruction because I wasn’t listening. I had nothing to bear because I wasn’t replenishing my spirit with positivity, hope, love, healing…truth. God, my Source, is all of those things to me. I need to spend time reading the words He’s inspired, seeking His wisdom, asking Him questions, allowing stillness and letting Him break the silence. I need Him to remind me of all the ammo I’ve hidden in my heart for the mind battles that never cease. I need Him to expose my weaknesses, reveal His sovereignty, and restore my strength. My Source, alone, refills my once depleted cup to overflow with peace, joy, passion and purpose. Once this revelation sunk in, I was finally able to write Another Verse.

…and I can tell that I’ve been distant

and I’m yearning for your presence

sweet communion that we used to have

where I could tell you anything

and knew you wouldn’t laugh at me

you take me seriously

’cause I know my heart’s got issues

and you’re faithful enough to fix ’em

and in this dryness

I’m drinking everything but living water

please, fill me up

quench my thirst

give me another verse

and help me sing it right.

© Maya E. Hairston, 2013

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I’ll Be Alright

When I was a senior in high school, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. Fast forward…I’m about to graduate from college, and though I’ve sharpened my mind, strengthened my skills, and structured more ideas for how to use what I’ve learned to pursue my passions, I still don’t have all of the details worked out. The main difference between then and now is I’ve stopped believing I need to. I’m not panicking or housing the stress of not having my whole life’s plan visibly or tangibly laid out in front of me.

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Despite life’s pressures and all of the seemingly viable reasons for me to worry about tomorrow, I’ve decided to embrace the mystery in my unfolding journey as an exciting privilege. I’m learning its much healthier, and exponentially more fulfilling, to employ patience, pursue excellence (not perfection) little-by-little, and let the big, awe-inspiring  picture reveal itself and exceed my wildest dreams with time. Indeed, the less I stress, the more potential I have to lead a longer, happier and more productive existence.

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Now, that’s not to say that my stomach never contorts or that I never feel insecure when I contemplate my next steps. However, I acknowledge that my Creator has given me the power to choose whether I let anxiety defeat or motivate me. I choose wisely more often than I used to.

One day, back then, since I’d grown miserable enough, I determined I’d adopt a better perspective and practice, and I wrote Trust Song. I sang it as a prayer of submission, supplication, and  survival. Admittedly, it has taken a while to sink in, but here’s a portion that’s helped me command my destructive thoughts and misgivings about my future:

“…Give me the grace to walk in Your peace,

and to believe You’re always with me.

Open my heart to give You my trust.

Fear is blinding me, but I’m reaching for Your touch.

I’d forgotten how much you care for me.

You’ve got a plan in store,

and you’ll never harm me.

So wrap me in your arms, and hold me tight.

I hear you whispering,

“It’ll be alright.”

No, you’ll never let me go,

so I’ll be alright.”

© Maya E. Hairston, 2012

Continue…

Acknowledge your faults. Accept His divine, forgiving grace. And keep moving forward.

Part 2:

…I’m so imperfect

but your love is kind

patient and forgiving.

It makes me cry.

And when I fail myself

and I fall

Your love,

it never fails

to hear me when I call.

You’ve had a plan after all.

You break me down to make me strong…

© Maya E. Hairston, 2012

Not Again…

When I’ve got so much on my mind that I can’t sort out my emotions, it’s a sure sign I’m overdue for some serious respite and reflection. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve found music most effectively and naturally helps me unwind and process a tangled mess of thoughts. I usually spend time writing new material and/or rehearsing seasoned but applicable verses. I pay particular attention to the lyrics when I suddenly recall an old tune that I typically revisit less often than the others. These less likely songs always stun me with their pleasantly unpredictable timeliness. I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe these moments, everything I write, and the seemingly negative circumstances that often inspire my art have all been divinely orchestrated to facilitate my growth and shape my purpose.

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Last night, when I found myself contemplating how I might react to an old, familiar discomfort, This Time resurfaced, and it was exactly what I needed. I wrote this original sometime over the course of my last year in high school. It has accompanied long, steamy, therapeutic showers and has made itself my early-to-bed lullaby after an emotionally draining and disappointing day. It is God’s continual reminder to me to embrace His grace after I’ve made decisions that less than accurately depict the knowledge and discernment He’s granted me. As a healthy release, I shed a tear to acknowledge my hurt, but instead of wallowing in self-pity, I cede my worn and weary for His peace and rest. Here’s Part 1:

disappointed

this time

because I told myself

the last time

that it

it would be

the last time

last time

so I’m crying

out to you

because I know that You can

change

me for good

and yes

you’re the only

only one

so I

cling to You

I cling to Your Son

And I say

This time, this time, I’m not going down ’cause the victory’s mine.

I’ve gotta claim it like I know it’s right. Show my faith. It’s praying time.

And when temptation’s riding on my back, You give me the strength to run one more lap.

Seems like one step forward leaves me two behind,

but I’m moving forward

’cause your grace is divine…

© Maya E. Hairston, 2012

Let Go…It Won’t Drop

 

I struggle with anxiety. In my mind, everything matters, and every matter links to the next. Any hint of disorder disrupts my entire process. As a function of my detail-oriented, highly meticulous personality, I usually don’t act to pursue any main objective until I can envision a step-by-step plan for doing so. Consequently, it takes a lot of faith for me to
avoid panic when I’m not sure what comes next. In my fearfulness, I have to rememberIMG_1715.JPG I’ve entrusted my life to someone I believe knows more than I do, wants greater for me than I might imagine, and can order my steps better than I can. Truthfully, as much as everything matters to me, I matter even more to the One who made everything, including me. Even without all of the answers, I can act in confidence because the hands that formed the universe also cradle my destiny. My original song, Won’t Drop, continually reminds me to relinquish my burdens. Here is an excerpt:

…Don’t sit and worry that you don’t know where you’re going.

All you’ve gotta do is let me lead.

Ease your mind. Put your hand in mine, ’cause I take care of my

my own.

Whether or not you believe, I control everything

and you don’t have to feel defeated no more.

Because I’ve already promised,

and my Word has been proven.

So, dear, if I could be honest,

there’s no way that you could lose

if you’d just trust in me.

Have I not always been faithful?

Don’t I give you what you pray for?

Baby, let go.

It won’t drop.

‘Cause I’ve already got it.

©Maya E. Hairston, 2014

5 Things to Think About Before You Give Up

 

As I’ve encountered what seems another torturously strenuous week, I recall an old favorite original. Back when I attempted to learn keys, it was one of the first songs I wrote with my own accompaniment. All other inspiration to that point had been written and delivered a cappella…just my lyrics with the tune in my head…but I digress.

I’ll walk you through some of these lyrics. When I feel like giving up because I’ve lost sight of how these copious, short-term, day-to-day demands are feeding into my long-term overall purpose, My Child, as I call it, reminds me of the following truths:

I’ll always love you more than anything

Even when it doesn’t seem to be that way

I care for you as much as I do

but the way that I do

You don’t always know

that I’m doing what’s best for you…

1. Love disciplines…and discipline is good. Don’t think of every painful process as punishment. Rather, choose joy in the midst of preparation. The best is yet, right?

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2. You get better even before it gets better. Every struggle develops strength, endurance, character, and hope. Think, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.” Romans 5:3 NLT

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…Yes, I hear the desperation of your weary cry

But know that when I speak the wind & rain will subside…

3. Admitting you feel weak doesn’t make you a quitter. It makes you honest, and it reminds you that you can’t succeed all on your own. Call out for the help you need to persevere. It’s not like you could have gotten yourself to this point relying solely on yourself, anyway.

 

…Lean, lean on me. Cry, cry to me.

Call out my name, and I’ll be here, right by you…

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4. Pause. Pay attention to what you might discover in the midst of your discomfort. What are you learning about yourself? What obstacles that you’re overcoming did you think you’d never face? What can this season teach you? Where have your decisions brought you? Where can different decisions potentially take you? Now that you’ve maximized your present learning experience, what will you avoid in the future? Our Creator grants us the freedom to make choices. We decide how closely we’ll adhere to the life guidelines provided. His absolute best for our lives lies within His perfect plan for our purpose, but even after we’ve been distracted from pursuing our dreams diligently, it’s never too late to get back on course.

Rest in my Will. Cling to my help. Submit yourself.

I Am your Father…

5. Think about who you are. Think about whose you are. Think about who’s rooting for you. Everyone wants to make someone proud (parents, friends, The Creator, self, etc.). Hold tightly to sustaining faith–the ability to envision the invisible, the hope for what’s yet to come–and when (not if, right?), you finally finish/succeed/overcome, you’ll be pleased to have earned remarks like:

“…Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.” Mark 5:34 NLT

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I can take the broken and the lowest of the low,

mold and shape them into something beautiful.

Just give me your life and I will never let you go.

You are my child!

 

© Maya E. Hairston, 2016