Recently I was encouraged to hear a message from a friend. She and a friend were speaking to women about the unfortunate natural tendency many of us have to tear one another down rather than build one another up. They were speaking about jealousy and skewed perspective - two things I know much more about than I have ever cared to admit. They talked about a blooming friendship, just now becoming fruitful - these two girls who'd grown up together, but were kept apart by feelings so many of us can understand and perhaps still deal with. My friend spoke about how she felt during her teens, looking at this other girl from a distance. It was compelling and vivid to me because my own life has been filled with many such relationships . . . many misconceptions. If you want to hear this message for yourself, visit the Honor Fit (click right back there <----) FB page!
We look at each other and can only see the outside. If we look at each other on Facebook, we still see the outside, and furthermore, we see only the outside of the very best moments - the ones worthy of shiny pictures. We're blinded by all of it. We look into somebody else's living room, seeing the sun in the window and the lens flare, and we are left with no idea about the messy living room and messy relationships piled up behind the camera. We see one another's faces and bodies . . . we see one another's work and vocation, assuming perfection, having no idea about unique struggles and circumstances.
Worse than our incomplete understanding, however, is our most natural reaction to it - to tear the other person down as we flail around in our jealousy. Jealousy is a wounded animal, running around, lashing out randomly. It should stop to assess the damage. It should seek medical attention. But it doesn't know how to. So it just continues to run. And it will run us all into the ground if we're not careful . . . bringing a rain of broken relationships down on our heads as we fall.
Musicians know a thing or two about jealousy.
Last Easter I wrote a song. It was requested for an Easter Sunday service - the last Easter Sunday I spent with the church I've loved and have been loved by for the past 6 years. I wrote it knowing very deeply that I was broken, full of jealousy and misunderstanding. I wrote it, praying to God that I would be given new eyes to see the world with, and that I would be made to honestly forgive someone . . . and made to humble myself and to honestly ask for forgiveness, too. The song was called "Third Day."
I performed "Third Day" in church on Easter Sunday and soon after that found myself called away. It's a tug I've felt several times before . . . the whisper of the Divine - "Sarah, lay it down. It's taken care of. Your job is done. I have other plans for you." It was all true. I was reluctant to listen, but it was made abundantly clear.
God gave me a beautiful gift, which I've written about before. God gave me an opportunity and plenty of encouragement so that I was able to recognize the doorway to forgiveness, and so that I had the courage to walk through it - to both offer forgiveness and ask for it myself.
After that I felt that the "Third Day" song ought to be recorded and offered along with other songs that spoke to the messiness of human relationship and the hope God offers us - Resurrection! Second chances. Life beyond anything that looks like death.
The "Third Day Life" EP has 5 songs - songs about relationships, the passing of time, and the need for more resurrection in our human experience. We have an opportunity to embrace the life giving light of God in so many situations: our marriages, our relationships with our children, our work, our friendships . . . resurrection transforms decay - halts it and turns it back.
Now, Reader, I don't want you to feel like I'm telling you that God's life giving power will send you back into any sort of unhealthy situation because that's not true. In fact, many of my greatest forgivenesses have taken place at a safe distance, and I suspect many of yours have, too. But God's life giving power will offer that wild animal named Jealousy a door out of your heart . . . and God's life giving power will offer worthy relationships the oxygen they need to survive. God's Third Day existence will offer you opportunities to see other human beings as children from the same family as yourself, and it will compel you to treat them with love and respect.
God's still working with me on all of that. I don't expect this work to end anytime soon. It gives me such hope.
So, please allow me to share that hope with you in the form of 5 beautiful songs. Without further delay, here it is (<---- click there).
And, again, just for fun! My favorite track from the album, freely shared via SoundCloud. If you like it, click above and get the whole EP!