Reaching Back to Move Forward
There are no excuses. We live in an age with incredible technology that gives us instant access to almost anything. I love that this era has been deemed the "Age of Information" - just about anyone anywhere has the ability to learn something because access to information is essentially limitless. It's empowering, and maybe also overwhelming? But I also find myself thinking about old times and romanticizing what life back then was like. Both harder, but simpler, I think.
This was all brought on by a study called Hymns Of Hope that I went through with some friends this summer via the She Reads Truth app. A majority of the hymns were written in the 1700-1800's. Some of the articles provided background info on the authors and what they endured in life to produce the lyrics they penned. Some simply have a name and date.
But the truth in the lyrics still ring true, and it felt almost magical that someone from a different era living such a different lifestyle could write words that I, and many others, would still deeply connect with more than 200 years later.
Thou's, Thy's, and Tears
The truth is, this summer had been somewhat of a dry season for me. Regardless of your faith or beliefs, I'm sure you can relate to what it feels like to not be quite yourself, to not feel fully grounded, drifting in life a little? So when I started this study I wasn't expecting much. I think I signed up more out of duty than anything.
But wow did the tears flow on that first day - TEARS you guys! Talk about repressed emotions; I was feeling things I didn't even know were there. After several days of having these inexplicable emotional outbursts while reading old hymnals, I started to think about why.
I realized that the hymns were such simple explanations of the sweetest and deepest truths of the Gospel, and my heart really needed to be reminded of those truths.
I think sometimes when we feel off-center in life we try to make correctional moves by adding in a bunch of things. A new routine. Starting a journal. Waking up earlier. Drinking less coffee. Drinking more coffee. Finding a therapist. Working out harder. Meditating. Whatever.
We try to plan and shape and act our way back to our center. I know I do. And while none of those things are bad at all, I wonder if sometimes what I really need is just LESS. Just to clear away all the metaphorical stuff from my path and open up some space to breathe, think, pray, be. I know now that's what I really needed, and my soul was giving me emotional and physical signs to show me that.
Just One Beggar Telling Another Where to Find Bread
Through reading these hymns this summer, I was reminded of how powerful Jesus' love and faithfulness is in the lives of humans. That truth transcends time and was the same for Fanny Crosby in 1868 as it is for me today in 2019. I called it magic above, but I know it's really who Jesus is and the power of what He offers to literally everyone - strength, faithfulness, love, support, comfort, healing, peace - unconditionally and for all of eternity.
I heard an analogy once that I love: Christianity is just one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread. That felt true to me reading these old words from people whose lives ended hundreds of years ago and are now long gone. Just gentle reminders of where I can find bread again, and feel my soul is fed.
For fun, I created a few images with some of my favorite excerpts from the hymns.
Click here to download or save to your Pinterest if you'd like to keep these sweet words for the future!