A Chainsmokers Prayer (and the practice of paying attention)

Do you believe that God can speak to you through secular music? The other night as I drove to and from my life group, the song on the radio said to me over and over: We don’t talk anymore. Obviously Charlie Puth and Selena Gomez did not write this song about God and our communication with Him, if we listen to any of the other words. But that message stuck with me.

Yesterday morning I got in my car, and the radio spoke my fears loud and clear: Don’t let me, don’t let me, don’t let me down – I think I’m losing my mind now.

I know that I am worn out when I am totally absent from my own life. Moving through life detached – unaware of where I am going or what I am doing. Not hearing important things being said to me, whether from a person or from God. Ever feel that way?

I never thought The Chainsmokers would write the prayer of my life, but there it was, loud and clear:

Crashing, hit a wall, right now I need a miracle. Stranded, reaching out, I call your name but you’re not around.

I cut The Chainsmokers off, abruptly turning off the radio – I needed silence. I needed something in my life to be calm.

I know I am in an unhealthy place when I think thoughts like, “Well, I guess sleep just isn’t something I get to do as much right now – I’ll just start drinking a lot of coffee.” Or worse, when I look at my calendar and view people as a burden or interruption. Remember, Kallie? Remember back when you cared? When people were a gift and you delighted in their presence? 

When I don’t filter or watch my words and they come out a jumbled ugly mess that becomes something that someone else has to carry – that is when I am not with myself. When I am letting something else live or direct my life.

So I turned the radio off for long enough that I could start to hear the Lord speaking. He asked of me: What are you afraid of? What is it that scares you and makes you live this way?

When we create that silence for the Lord – He takes advantage of it. He doesn’t guilt us with we don’t talk anymore, but asks the heart questions that bring us back to ourselves.

In my busyness, in my striving, what am I afraid of? What do I learn when I reach the edge of myself?

I think I’ve been praying that Chainsmokers prayer to myself – to my striving, preaching, working self. The one that is presented to the world. My prayer to my self becomes: Don’t let me down. Darling I hope, that you’ll be here when I need you the most. Don’t let me, don’t let me, don’t let me down…Running out of time, I really thought you were on my side, but now there’s nobody by my side.

Busyness lies to us and says we are alone, hopeless, and useless. That we can never do enough, and therefore we never are enough.

A few months ago I was in this space, this place where I felt so overwhelmed by life and responsibilities and felt like I was dropping balls all over the place. My solution? Buy a bigger planner.

Are you kidding me, Kal? When we think that the solution to our overwhelmed-ness is just to organize it better, we’ve reached a bad space.

What are you afraid of? That question rang in my ears. Well, Lord, quite frankly, I am afraid that the lie that has been spoken over me my whole life might actually be true. I might be totally insignificant and worthless. What if I am defective?

I am afraid that if I don’t work enough and do good enough that You might miss me. Might overlook me. I’m waving my arms over here, screaming, “See me?!! Aren’t I good??? Tell me I’m good enough! Tell me I did it!!

So a few months ago my solution was a bigger planner. This time around I had a different thought: I need a new practice. I need a way to stay present, to stay with myself. To be present to God. The great thing about spiritual practices or disciplines is that it sounds like more work, but more often than not they just move us into God’s Presence more intentionally.

What I decided is that the necessary discipline is one I am naming “paying attention.” 

Paying attention to myself, my mood, my health, my spirit. Paying attention to what God is saying and where He is nudging me to act. When we are all practicing paying attention, we love each other in a supernatural way.

So my day continued, and I went to chapel and stood in the back. I kept having this feeling of needing to move. Needing to stand somewhere else than where I was. Finally, I heard God say: You need to be with your people. Some of my people, my co-workers, were on the other side of the gym. So finally I felt my feet moving and my body following and I was walking towards them. My boss’s boss’s boss gave me a smile and a pat on the arm, which told me that I was most likely wearing my impending breakdown on my face.

I saw several of my coworkers and walked up to one, the one who is creating life inside of her as we speak, and kind of fell into her arms for a hug.

A few minutes later, because she was practicing paying attention, she leaned over, put her arm around me and said, “I think I need to pray some things over you.” We both started crying and she held me while speaking TRUTH over me – putting me back together with her words. It is why we have breakdowns – because we need to be put back together. In our brokenness we have been piecing ourselves together all wrong and after a while God so gently says, “No – let’s start again.”

She said God was nudging her to pray for someone – someone who needed some truth – and then I walked over to her side of the gym.

We can’t make these things up. I mean, we could – but I don’t want to. I don’t want to fake God’s movement in my life, if anything I am squelching or hiding it all the time. I don’t need to fake it because it is right there, changing me when I need it the most. Changing me when I want to be able to take care of myself. His movement comes when we surrender ourselves, admitting that we are helpless to help ourselves. We both practiced paying attention, and it ended in the breakdown/putting back together that my soul had been longing for ever since I woke up this morning.

I saw a quote from Sarah Bessey that said, “Whatever you do, bring your whole self to us.” This is the discipline of paying attention. It is a living in our very own moment, every moment. It means stepping into ourselves and living fully. Even if it requires you to actually narrate your own life: “Right now I am turning on my lamp. I am sitting down. I can hear my heart beating. I am present to myself. I am here, I am present, I am whole.”

When I am overwhelmed by my schedule, I need to practice paying attention. I need to slow down enough for my soul to stay with me. Our souls are in no rush, they move at a very relaxed pace, and that is why we get off-kilter when we get too busy or overcommit ourselves.

I got in my car to drive home after this long and emotional day, and the radio was still off. I sat in silence for a few minutes and then turned it on. Guess what song was on the radio? I just had to laugh, and let my Chainsmokers prayer ring out to the Lord:

I need you, I need you, I need you right now. Don’t let me, don’t let me, don’t let me down. 

The beautiful thing is that He didn’t – He never has, and He never will. I want to pay attention to that.

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I write to process, and sometimes send those thoughts out into the void. Passionate about Jesus and people and bringing those two together. Living in and loving Denver. Working with college students, who are the coolest. Seeking Jesus and JOY in everything.

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