Fighting with an image, part 2

I’m not generally a sentimental person, but from time to time I go through a box I’ve kept over the years that contains a written collection my thoughts from when I was younger. This box is a reminder to me of my life before God and it is also a reminder to me that I didn’t get where I am today without deep scars.

Here are a couple of the last passages in a series of short exhortations I wrote to myself (I was 19 at the time, and these thoughts could have been written weeks apart):

 

If there is one thing I have learned in my short existence, it is that the little things never mattered. They didn’t change me or define who I was. I’ve spent my entire life searching for meaning behind life and I have finally concluded that it was never meant for us to know. If God had made it obvious, we wouldn’t have appreciated the struggle to figure it out. I have also decided that it is easier to forgive than it is to forget; though perhaps we should not want to.

A friend once asked me, “Is there anything you don’t do?” My answer? Life. It amazes me that that people can spend their whole lives wishing they were someone else ~that they’d had someone else’s family, because if they had, life would have been so much different. When we were little, were wore our mom or dad’s shoes so we could pretend we were grown ups but I guess as “grown ups” we’ve exchanged dress-up for something else, but only because we know that no matter how hard we try, that foot just isn’t going to fit in a size 5 child’s sneaker. Instead we pretend that if we were this person or had this much money then we would be happy. The thing no one considers is that if you had been someone different, you still would have had hurts; you still would have sleepless nights wondering what went wrong. No one’s life is perfect. Everyone has their own demons they are fighting. They just aren’t your demons.

I used to think if I tried hard enough not to cry, I would forget how. I think it’s worked and now I think I’m broken. All I know now is that is that it is only a matter of time before, well, before I die. And it scares me that I have never truly learned to live and I don’t feel anything anymore.

 

Oddly enough, given the rest of what was written in the pages of this document, that is one of the more optimistic tid-bits. Optimistic in that, I had finally come to a resolve about my situation in life. I was ready to forgive and I was ready to stop being bound by the hurt in my life… ready to stop letting it dictate how I would live.

But it was also really sad. There were a lot of things I also had resolved myself to. I had resolved myself to pain being the normal human experience. I had resolved myself to becoming numb, which meant being numb to both the good and the bad. Because of that, I don’t think I ever really learned how to develop healthy feelings.

My husband and I have stolen the joke from Harry Potter, and we often say that I have the emotional range of a teaspoon. It’s probably not funny, but I’d rather laugh about it. Now that I am older, more mature, and have had a few years living with my husband, I’ve been allowed a safe place in my life to explore some of the things that do come up. And fortunately, he doesn’t find it exhausting.

With all that said, I have to say that I find it strange how many people tell me on a regular basis will say to me, “I wish I could [do that][not care what others thought][dress like that][etc., etc.]…”

I’ve been told by a good many people, both men and women, that I am a strong, stubborn pain in the rear… and sometimes, even that I am intimidating. Being admired for my sense of self is a bit new for me though and it warrants some reflection. I certainly don’t mean to be intimidating… and I certainly am not looking for admiration. I simply am who I am and the road I’ve taken to get here was made of pretty sharp glass. If people would only look closer, they wouldn’t see a noble woman who was born into self-confidence. They’d see a woman whom from head to toe was covered in battle scars.

I wasn’t born with thick skin and I certainly didn’t grow it over night. It was years of hurt bestowed to me by the very people I thought were supposed to love and support me. It was years of being told I was never “enough” of anything: not pretty enough, smart enough or wealthy enough. Years of being told I would never amount to anything and my personal favorite, being told “[I] walk funny, [I] talk funny, [I’m] just kind of weird… [he] caught [me] and now [he was] throwing [me] back into the ocean…” by my first boyfriend.

Yeah, about that… I haven’t changed and for the record, I’m still pretty weird. I have no intention about changing that or anything else about me that God put there. And someone did find and love me for everything that God made me.

But for a long while, I really struggled with my identity. I struggled with a lot of hurt and rejection. I struggled with feeling like I would never measure up. At more than one point, I considered calling it quits and taking myself out of this world.

It took a while to stop dragging that bag of rocks behind me. It took a while to stop letting people add more to the bag and to stop being angry. It took me a long time to finally just own my “weirdness” and be comfortable in this skin. Because let’s face it, how many people dream about having rainbow colored highlights all over their head and wears their ren-faire skirts year round at the age of 30? (Although, who knows…maybe there’s a lot of us weirdos and I’m just the 1% to actually do it…)

Ultimately, it took me a long time to learn to forgive everyone in my life who made me feel like I was less than human.  I learned that I had a choice to make. I could choose to believe the lies of the world, or I could choose to believe my father in heaven about who He said I was.

I wasn’t born with thick skin and I didn’t grow it over night. It took scars… deep, angry, ugly scars that I wouldn’t erase anything. Because even though I have suffered, I have also overcome. I found my salvation on the road to destruction. I know I am a broken vessel. I know I don’t function quite the way I should, but I also know that God’s grace is sufficient for me. If he is for me, who can stand against me? If he cares enough to know the hairs on my head, then what do I care if someone else doesn’t like the color or style of the strands? If he has called me worthy and beloved, who is anyone else to say I am not…

This skin came at a price. I won’t talk about how those scars came to be, or about the battles I won them in; not here anyway. And I won’t compare scars. As the young version of myself said, no one’s life is perfect. Everyone has their own demons they are fighting. They just aren’t your demons.

And it’s true. Every day each and every one of us is facing a new spiritual battle. I’ve figured out how to put my thumbs in my ears for some things… and you’ve figured out how to put your thumbs in your ears for others.

Maybe if we could remember that, people would lose themselves in kindness for one another. We’d stop judging books by covers because we really have no idea what the contents are like inside.

Maybe if we could just remember that, we would finally figure out that we are all looking to be accepted and loved. That no one has the perfect life. And no one knows the internal struggle of another person. Each and every one of us desires meaningful relationships. We desire to feel loved, accepted and received.

I decided a long time ago, life is too short to keep stumbling over other people’s opinions of me. We are all human. We all fall short. My failures are no better or worse than anyone else. And I want to encourage people to think outside their box; outside their context for how they view and see the world. To not judge the book by its cover. You might be happily surprised and I guarantee you, the most meaningful thing you will do in a stranger’s life, who looks entirely outside of your context, is to give them a friendly smile and a polite hello that seems to be completely out of the blue.

…Or you could do what I do and fiercely overwhelm them with your own weirdness and hope they’ll love you back.

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Fearing Failure

“Fear is a control freak… and it will run rampant if you let it.” ~Said somebody somewhere, I’m sure.

Fear is no stranger to failure. But fear doesn’t have to accompany it.

I’ll never forget my first real on stage, live performance failure. The song was “Great is Thy Faithfulness”, a beautiful old hymn that I love. I’d done it a practice and at sound check nearly flawlessly. And then the time came to sing it before the congregation and all the fear and doubt that had been building inside of me took its toll.

I realize, ever more increasingly, that fear is a liar and a thief. It steals moments, hopes, and dreams. It’s puts a wedge between your heart and your mind, your soul and God. It dictates which relationships you will pursue and the type of life you will lead. The spirit of fear may even keep you glued to the couch, keeping you from putting one step outside of that door . . . because the prince of this world knows that if you do, anything is possible.

And in that moment… I believed a lie. I believed I would fail. And I did.

My own fears have tried to lock me up for as long as I can remember. It was a voice here or there telling me I couldn’t, or shouldn’t. At first, they were gentle whispers I confused for concern. Much later, the voices grew loud and were mocking and scorning, telling me I would fail. I know now that where ever I am afraid, that there was someone I trusted very profoundly who imposed one of those voices on me. Over time, I have fought bitterly with each one. And a great many of times, I have lost the battle.

When I started singing, my worship leader and pastor joked about giving me a shower curtain to hide behind. I was the quietest singer I think he had literally ever worked with. They had to do everything to turn me up – set the mic to -10dB, turn the gain up… crank the volume – and still… I was so quiet, I’m sure I appeared more like a mime than a singer. I was so afraid to make a mistake and be ridiculed.

I’m so grateful for the patience and understanding I was given, especially by our band members. When I started to notice that other’s made mistakes and that either people didn’t notice them or they just didn’t dwell on them, I started to venture out a little more and I started to deepen my journey into what it meant to worship before God. I learned that I could trust God to get me through and to fight my battles for me. I learned I could also trust my band mates to not fault me for making mistakes. Eventually, I settled into a very comfortable rhythm of harmonizing, much more confidently and loudly, with the people I was growing to love very deeply and trust very profoundly.

Then, one day, all the fear came back when the worship leader asked me to take a lead song. I said I would try… because really, that seemed much more dignified than getting on my hands and knees pleading “please don’t make me, I’m terrified”. What I really wanted to do was hide in a hole and hope no one would notice.

However, Travis seems impervious to the term ’fear’, at least where public failure is concerned. I can’t speak for all areas of his life. And so I was stuck between a rock and a hard place and the only way to move was up and overcome. I guess I could have stayed crouched down between the two… but then I wouldn’t be where I am today and my journey with God and overcoming my fears would have stopped right there.

Ultimately, I have prayed before every song I lead, asking God to please not let me fail. And so, it was that God, in his infinite wisdom, decided to ask me, “Do you trust me?” And he let me fail. And at the back of my mind I’m asking God… “Why did you let me fail?”

I was answered rather profoundly that morning, especially by Mitch’s message (you can listen @ http://summitview.com/teachings/media/m/2536/t/vision-2016-feast) God can and does use our failures for His glory.

More people seemed to identify with me that morning in my failure than ever before. I suddenly became approachable (I hadn’t known I was before then). I had many people that morning come up to me and give me a pat on the back for both my failures and my successes. And tell you what… I have felt more accepted and encouraged in my semi-epic failure than I have felt doing almost anything else.

To err is to be human. Our failures are what make us human. Ultimately, those failures continue to grow us into a greater understanding of what it means to be humble, forgiving and kind. Our own failures give peace and courage to others.

It’s okay to be human. It’s okay to fail.

And in that moment, after starting the song in the wrong key and Travis stopping everything to start the song over… I had to choose: I could choose to see my failure as an opportunity or I could lie under the weight of its curse, forever shamed and humiliated.

Had I been new to the band and there had been no trust built between me and the band or even my church, I probably would have folded. Let’s be honest with myself here. But God knew me and He knew my heart and He knew the moment He would help me to overcome. And I chose to see this as an opportunity.

Ultimately, I learned what failure could do to me: NOTHING.

Failure was a journey I had to take on the way to learning to trust myself and others and more importantly God.

In the end, I had the loving support of my congregation. The loving support of the band I serve with and the love of a Savior who gave me to me the gift of grace.

In the end, failing lost me nothing but gained me everything.

 

Don’t be afraid to try. Don’t pass up amazing opportunities for fear of failing.

chainsaw

Fighting With An Image

Fighting With an Image

I remember having this conversation with God a few weeks back.

I was in the shower after having a long conversation with my husband about God and how we wanted to know Him better; to understand Him better. One of my biggest questions to God has been what does it look like to live within the world, yet distinct and set apart for his sake.

I was washing my hair and praying –Because, really, there is no better time to ponder life’s great questions than when accomplishing a menial task– when 1 Peter 3:3-4 sort of popped into my head; albeit, it didn’t come to me like this:

1 Pet 3:3-4 “Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— 4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”

It was more like “if you want to understand me, give up make-up for a week” (It wasn’t until a bit later that I made the connection between this passage and what God was trying to say to me).

I was a bit taken off guard. And if I’m honest with myself, I felt rather silly for having even had the thought in the first place. Why in the world would God ask me to do that? What could that possibly have to do with a greater understanding of who He is?

When I got out of the shower and looked in the mirror, I decided, “Okay then… this is crazy, but whatever. If that’s what you want me to do, then sure. And even if I’ve gone off the deep end and this is something my subconscious is doing to me, and not you Lord… okay. I’ll go with it anyway and test you.”

So I started to make sure all traces of make-up where gone from my eyes and when I was done, I looked into the mirror and thought once again, “Well this is stupid.”

And then a lot of other random thoughts started to go through my head:“So glad no one will be in the office this week… being Christmas and all” & “Oh, you can’t be serious. I have to band practice tomorrow and then I’ll be on stage in front of the whole congregation and Lord you know how many potential new comers there will be and you want me to look like this? Oh -Come on!”

And then, it came:

No. I’m not doing this.

 

The Unfurling of Hidden Self-Doubt

I’ve gone without make-up. Not often, but I do it on occasion when I just don’t care what anyone else is going to think or I don’t think anyone will see me. I even go to bed wearing make-up… and I’ve been doing that since I was in my teens.

Having watched lots of movies where women wake up looking fabulous and having heard lots of jokes from men about how they went to bed with one woman and woke up with another one, I always had this war raging in the back of my mind of what is versus what is expected.

I didn’t grow up in a Christian home, I grew up in a secular one where the standards for beauty were very different. I grew up in sunny California, home of the movie stars. I’d never seen a hippy until I came to Colorado. Women where I grew up never went outside of the house without looking their best. Going out in PJ’s was taboo until it was made cool by Victoria Secret, and still… we know you really didn’t sleep in that. I didn’t go to church or a bible-school, I went to traditional public school where people exalted external beauty and while I had no desire to be a part of the cruel antics of school royalty, I didn’t want to be seen as the ugly duckling either.

When I was in just seventh grade, the most popular girl  and the most popular boy in school, who both happened to sit directly behind me, were having an intense conversation. At some point in this argument, the boy, whose name was Jeff, decided to use me for an example to make his point.

They were debating over girls and make-up and we were what… twelve? And out of all the students in the class, the two most popular kids in school chose to use me as a debating point for beauty standards. I wanted to be swallowed up into a black hole at that moment. I was super shy and poor and I really didn’t want to be involved, but here I was… now involved.

To the boy’s credit, he was arguing that there were girls who didn’t need to wear make-up; to make his case he pointed me out and said I was pretty. But did I focus on the fact that he’d just said he thought I was a good-looking girl? The most popular boy in school?

Nope. I focused on the fact that the most popular girl in school, Tiffany, just argued against him and said I absolutely needed to wear it.

Whether it was out of spite (which sadly, I found happened a lot at that age) or a genuine belief, I will never know. But I chose to believe something that day, and frankly, I don’t know that I ever let that go. Her words have quite literally changed the way I’ve seen myself every day since.

And it’s not just her words. I can even remember one time back when I was working at a particular restaurant where for the first time in years, I decided to be lazy one day and I wore zero make-up. I came in to work and one of the Latina cooks, looking deeply concerned for me, asked if I was sick. When I told her no, ‘I just looked different without all the eye make-up’ (because I was punk Goth then and my make-up was very elaborate on a daily basis), she kindly notified me that I did not look good without it. To give her credit, her English was not very good and so she was probably trying to inform me that I looked very ill without it. It was California… and really, who doesn’t have a tan in good old California? I was pale as a ghost. But I chose to believe she meant something else. That I just wasn’t attractive without make-up, confirming what Tiffany had said years earlier.

And the world has not stopped seeming to confirm or conform to her view. Every time I see a Photoshop image of a man or woman, or every time I see little 8 and 10 year old girls running around looking like Bratz dolls, I think those poor girls, like me, have swallowed the blue pill.

They’ll probably never even know about the red one.

Just this morning, a video of a four year old girl applying make-up and taking curlers out of her hair and looking like this:

Came across my feed.

136,000 people, including me, have now watched a four year old child show us how to apply professional make-up to look like an adult stripper… and people think THIS is cute!

It’s not cute. There is something intrinsically wrong with this.

The Lies of Babylon

So, I went into work and I knew that no one would be there but I still felt self-conscious. I felt naked in a way. I was even dreading going to band practice. Not too long ago, one of the youth band kids had even asked me if I was tired on a morning I had chosen to wear only a little liner and some mascara. Needless to say, I was preparing myself. I fully expected questions concerning my health and how much sleep I’d gotten –because that is the perceived inoffensive way of expressing that someone looks out of sorts and maybe a little under the weather.

Fortunately, I’d made it through practice without anyone saying a peep.

On my way home from practice though, I had a heart to heart with myself out loud with my husband sitting there listening to me spout off about how I felt about my appearance. I even told him, “I’m really glad you find me attractive… but I don’t find me attractive right now. I never thought I’d be one of those girls to have to struggle with these kinds of issues but I am. I totally am and I really don’t like it.”

I’ve worked really hard over the years to avoid having to confront reality, – or question it. But now I am confronted by it. I’m confronted by who I am and how that person was made in God’s image; and the other girl. The girl I’ve created and put up for the whole world to see.

I wish I could say that tearing her down would alleviate all of my struggles but it won’t. I’ve spent too many years letting the world tell me who I should be. I don’t know how to love, much less like, my own reflection. At least, not without God’s help.

And I have to wonder… how many other’s struggle with this? How many other’s feel like prisoners to their image? How many others see the face in the mirror and wonder… is that really who I am?

Removing the Scales

I wouldn’t call myself a graceful person. I stumble through life like the good majority. I’d like to say that by the grace of God, I woke up and decided I was being dumb and really? -who wants to spend all that time, energy and money anyway trying to create a look… But I didn’t. It took me a grand total of four days before I told God one of us was crazy, decided it was me and recanted my decision. Still, I think I learned a pretty valuable lesson about who I am and how God sees me. I think I will be reconciling these two ideas probably for a long time.

I’ve also decided since then that one must be careful when asking for blessings. The most blessed people in the bible truly had the hardest lives and sometimes the worst sorts of ends.

Luke 12:48 “…Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required,  and  from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.”

Now don’t take that to say I don’t want God’s blessings, but take that as a warning. When God removes the scales be ready because when he removes them, he does it fully and it’s often not very pleasant. It can be very painful, in fact.

We all see what we wish to see but God sees all of us. He sees everything and not just the things we want Him to see. He sees beyond the mask we wear and straight into the heart. Sometimes He slaps us with the truth and sometimes he gently leads us into it, but we still have to choose to see it in the first place despite how we may feel about it.

The world sees the outside of the cup. God sees the inside. Where the world tells us our value is extrinsic (the clothes we wear, the cars we drive or the houses we live in… or the masks we choose), God tells us that our true beauty will always be within. True beauty is in the strength and unfading beauty of character: the quiet and gentle nature of the eternal soul which meditates the things of heaven instead of the diminishing things of this world. I don’t think anyone ever gets to the end of their life and when the Eulogy is given, all everyone who knew them talks about was how beautiful they were; except for maybe Helen of Troy and that’s because she started a war with her looks. Her beauty was her prison.

Accepting the Truth

Curiously, it still happens that people tend to compliment me the most when I am messy and not trying very hard. So why is it that I focus on the negative things people say?

I bought a lie. That’s why. The world fed it to us and a good majority of us swallowed. If we were to Google search celebs without make-up, we’d figure out pretty quick that what we’ve put up as the standard is really quite silly. And if every woman ran around not wearing make-up, the bar for outward beauty would be more on par with reality.

There certainly isn’t any room for pride when measuring myself against the world’s standard for beauty. I can’t compete with Photoshop. But that’s what the world wants us to aspire to. That’s probably why plastic surgery is such a big thing.

Jesus himself “had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him” (Is. 53:2). Simply stated, God’s standard is different. God is always telling us to not do what the world does to be accepted because they are perishing as are the ones who accept them by their standards.

So what am I going to do with this truth? Honestly. I don’t know. All I know is that the scales have been removed and I can’t ignore it anymore. The rest is up to God.

 

 

 

 

Perspective is Everything

There aren’t many things in life that render me speechless.

I went home for lunch today, just like every other day. I take the dog outside to potty and we’ll play fetch for a little while. Then I’ll go inside and feed the kitten and give it a little loving before I go back to work for the rest of the day.

But today was different. Today, I politely waited outside for my neighbor, who happened to be having a conversation on the phone, to let her dog have it’s time in the potty zone of the courtyard because her dog is still a puppy and happens to have zero ability to contain its excitement when it sees Chewie. It’s understandable; my dog is arguably one of the cutest dogs in the whole world and also has one of the best and well-behaved personalities you can hope for. When my neighbor began to walk over toward my yard, I could tell this was my queue to go ahead and come out.

I let Chewie go out into the courtyard and my neighbor ended her phone call to talk to me. This isn’t unusual. This is one of our more talkative neighbors and we talk to them whenever they are out; her name is Debbie, her husband’s name is Greg. I first met them when they were getting ready to move in and they were visiting the gentleman’s father-in-law, Marlin, who happens to live right next door to us. They had purchased one of the townhome units to be close to him, one identical to ours, and they asked if I knew the dimensions of the master bedroom because they were selecting furniture and wanted to make sure it would all fit. So, naturally, I invited them up to measure our room… because in the world of Shyloh, everything is eye-balled and I had no idea how big the room actually was. This began the essence of our neighborly friendship and I’ve now spent several summer afternoon/evenings sitting on Marlin’s porch, shooting the breeze with them. They are very sweet and inviting folks.

Today was turning out to be a relatively normal day… and then she dropped a millstone right on top of me. She’d gone to the doctors for the first time in a long while to have a checkup. She hadn’t gone because she hadn’t been able to afford health insurance but now that she was married, her husband had placed her on his insurance and she was able to go. They found a tumor in her colon and the doctor says it’s likely cancerous. They are doing testing now to find out.

Her voice is shaky and I can tell she’s scared. I can tell she’s thinking about the future and how long she may have to live and I don’t have a single word to give her.

I could tell her it’s going to be okay, except what if it’s not?

I have hope and I don’t know how to share it. What good am I?

So I stand there silent as this woman pours her worries out upon me and I absorb it and I let nothing out. I don’t hold her. I don’t weep with her. I don’t tell her it’s going to be okay. I don’t tell her how beautiful heaven is going to be or ask her if she knows the Lord.

I’m silent and the minutes are ticking by. This precious woman looks and seems normal on the surface but God only knows what is going on beneath. Only God knows the number of her days.

I remember the song that Jon Foreman opened last night called Terminal, at the show Jared and I went to last night in Denver and it hits me like a brick:

The doctor says I’m dying
I die a little every day
He’s got no prescription
That could take my death away
The doctor says, It don’t look so good
It’s terminal

Some folks die in offices
One day at a time
They could live a hundred years
But their soul’s already died
Don’t let your spirit die before your body does
We’re terminal
We’re terminal

– Chorus –

We are the living souls
With terminal hearts, terminal parts
Flickering like candles
Fatally flawed, Fatally flawed

The moment I start cursing
At the traffic or the phone
I remind myself that we have all got
Cancer in our bones
Don’t yell at the dead
Show a little respect
It’s terminal

“Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust
For our days here are like grass
We flourish like a flower of the field
The wind blows and it is gone
And its place remembers it no more
Naked we came from our mother’s womb
And naked we will depart
For we bring nothing into the world
And we can take nothing away”

We’re fatally flawed in the image of God.

Today was a sober reminder that perspective is everything. It can make mountains into molehills and molehills into mountains.

Praise God for His goodness and understanding and pray for God’s hand of healing in this woman’s life.

What’s in a name?

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My birth name is not Shyloh; it’s Amy.

I’ve gone by the nickname for a number of years now, mostly in a low key kind of way. My email, naming my phone, etc., etc. And for as long as I can remember, people have wondered, why Shyloh?

I’ve never really identified well with my birth name. Something about being an strong NTJ (intuitive-thinking-judging), who borderlines E & I (extrovert/introvert), I think my mother maybe missed the boat in naming me “beloved”. If you look up ENTJ or INTJ personality types, a good general summary of my personality is probably “destroyer of worlds” (the onion did a pretty great article on this actually). Perhaps you may understand or appreciate my amusement when considering why I choose the name Shyloh knowing that even my own name is at war with my nature.

Shiloh is mentioned in Genesis 49:10 as an ancient city within Samaria and is perhaps later mentioned in Judges. Its name may be translated as Tranquility Town and is often thought of as a place where God dwells; a place of rest and tranquility; He Whose it is.

The name Shiloh is also given to the historic Civil War battle at Pittsburgh Landing where Union commander Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and Confederate commander Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston fought a two day onslaught. The total death toll for this two-day Battle of Shiloh was 24,000 men; over 100,000 men had engaged. One of the important strategic and major defense areas held by the confederate army during this particular battle was nicknamed the Hornets Nest for the sounds of bullets whizzing past the soldier ears as they fought.

Biblically, Shiloh is a place of rest; Historically, it is a place of war.

For this sake, I have chosen to identify with a new name. It is a name that appropriately describes the internal conflict that arises within me everyday between my flesh and my spirit. In the spirit, I am at rest in God but in the flesh, I am at war with God. Paul speaks about this battle between his spirit and his flesh in Romans 7:14-25:

For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good that I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

And again in Galatians 5:16-17, it speaks of the flesh and spirit waging war against one another:

But I say, walk by the spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the spirit, and the desires of the spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.

As for Campbell, well I married into that surname and I doubt it could have been any more appropriate.

Upon the clan crest are the words “Ne Obliviscaris” which is Gaelic for “Forget Not” and is also be translated to ‘be mindful’, ‘be vigilant’ and ‘be watchful’.

In this life, the battle is always at hand. We must remember that we are constantly at war with spirits and principalities and we, as saints, are called to “be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

So what’s in a name? Quite a lot actually; which might be why the Hebrews were so careful in picking names for their decedents.