Guest Post with Lynn D. Morrissey

Hear my cry, O God;
    listen to my prayer. (Psalm 61:1 NIV)

Please welcome author and kindred spirit, Lynn D. Morrissey! You are in for a treat today. As always, with an authentic and apt turn of phrase, Lynn brings a lyrical reflection on the depths of her soul. Her words resonate with the reader (you and me) in ways inexplicable, yet in perfect harmony with the Spirit of God at work in each of us. Thank you, Lynn for sharing your words and heart felt cry to our heavenly Father.

Extravagant Vagabond

by Lynn D. Morrissey

I am scattered to the wind. Like a prodigal dandelion puff, seeds of my life are blown hither and yon—disheveled, disarrayed, disorganized—a plethora of piles … of files, books, magazines, and paper scraps scrawled with note fragments of things to do, places to go, ideas to pursue, dreams to realize—but no thought fully formed, no brainstorm finally completed.

And I, emotionally and spiritually? What’s my state?

Stoic. Frozen.

My laissez-faire laxity makes no sense if my outer world is a reflection of my inner one. (At least that’s the theory: Your surroundings reflect the state of your soul).

One would think I’d be upset. My outer world is fraying at the seams of seemliness, and my inner spirit just doesn’t care.

What’s with that?

Shouldn’t our inner and outer worlds harmonize if we are to be persons of wholeness and integrity?

I long for that.

I’ve always struggled with disorganization and distraction. The irony is that most people are surprised by that true confession. They think I’m just being humble, self-deprecating. They think I was born hyper-organized and super-focused.

I’m not sure why. I’ve never pretended to be. I hate hypocrisy. I tell them the truth—that I’m a mess, but they don’t believe me.

Perhaps people assume my perfectionism (to which I’ll readily admit in areas like writing) translates into domestic fastidiousness. Not! Not one iota, in fact.

I’m the wreck of the housekeeping Hesperus. No, my house is not a zoo. You could walk in and generally find it more or less passable (unless you’re Martha Stewart). But underneath my roll-top at various times, or in closets and file drawers and the music cabinet, and always on my kitchen table, disorder lurks. I straighten stuff, and then it undoes my best efforts. My books, papers, and music have a heyday proliferating, I tell you (especially when I’m not looking). They’re pesky like that.

desk_001
Photo by Sheridan Hentrich (Lynn’s daughter 🙂

Unfinished projects hide out too—like boxes of photos needing album homes, an address-book with names crossed out and scribbled over from nearly twenty-five years ago—stuff like that. It used to drive me nuts, but now I’m oblivious.

And my use of time has become a wayward thing . . . I’m a vacillating vagabond, wandering from purposeful writing pillar to frittering-Facebook post—distracted to the n-th degree—rudderless.

I could try to analyze this (and have). I can blame mentalpause, a proclivity towards ADD (undiagnosed), perfectionism and procrastination, the gift of creativity with its deliciously divergent tangents, fear over asking God to resurrect dreams that didn’t pan out the first time, and that feelingless “hour of lead” I experienced after my beloved father’s death, which has morphed itself into leaden years.

I’ll confess it here: I don’t know what the problem is—problems are.

But I do know Who knows.

And He isn’t telling.

I don’t even know that knowing the cause is immediately important. I simply need rescue. What’s critical is that I plead with the Savior to save me from myself—to submit to His intervention, to ask that He live His life through me to enable me go forth in His Spirit’s power.

After years of walking with Christ, I’ve lately become aware that often I’m walking alone. No, not alone as in abandoned, but alone as in going it alone moment by moment. I think, unwittingly, I’ve been living this Christian life all wrong. Yes, I read my Bible. Yes, I worship. Yes, I pray. But have I compartmentalized (fragmented) my relationship with Jesus into aforementioned spiritual “boxes.” If He is the vine, and I am a branch, why am I not consciously abiding in Him? More often than not, as I look back, I think I’ve been living in my own strength without even realizing it—operating in my flesh as it were. It’s not been purposeful, but it’s a surefire recipe for fragmentation; I’m crumbling under my own solitary wayward and wandering weight. I have not been living the “exchanged” life.

So rather than ramble on in my journal following these endless rabbit trails to search for possible causes of chaos, I make an impassioned, poetic plea to God. I pen an alpha (acrostic) poem, because I know it is a small container to hold my big cry. Its laser-like precision will hone in on what I long to say, but don’t know how. At this time, journaling, my go-to prayer-mode to converse with God, will be too open-ended.

Yes, yes … this poem is exactly what I want to pray, what I need to pray. Lord, I know you will not let this cry go unheard or unheeded. You are strengthening me, saving me, giving me your power, your control to live my life in You, through You, to You, for You. I need You right now, and You are right here.

I realize that You have always been …

Extricate me, Lord, from this vagabond life of
X-travagant dissipation.
Tame my time, and make me holily temperate.
Restrain my sin-filled, wandering waywardness. Make me
Attentive. I am
Vacillating in every direction, as scattered as
Ash on a windy day. Oh, God!
Gather me up; gather my thoughts and deeds and desires into Your
All-encompassing Person, purpose, and passion. Make me
Negligent of all that seeks to distract or allure.
Tether me to You. Give me Your
Vision for my life—Your singly focused eye.
Attune my ears to the perfect pitch of Your voice.
Galvanize my will to Yours.
Attract me to Your Word, your world, your way, so I’m no longer
Blown like a prodigal puff of dandelion seeds, scattered
Out in every conceivable direction. Draw me to sit lengthily at your feet. I
Need to know You in submission. I need You now, more than ever, to stop my
Downward spiral of destruction. Seize me! Rescue me, Lord!

FullSizeRender-003
Collage created by me (Kel) in response to Lynn’s poem, Extravagant Vagagbond

 


 

 

Lynn D. Morrissey is a Certified Journal Facilitator (CJF), founder of  Sacred Journaling, a ministry for reflective journal-writing, author of Love Letters to God: Deeper Intimacy through Written Prayer and other books, contributor to numerous bestsellers, an AWSA and CLASS speaker, and professional soloist. She and her beloved husband, Michael, have been married since 1975 and have a college-age daughter, Sheridan. They live in St. Louis, Missouri.

Poem and other text by Lynn D. Morrisey (Copyright 2016. All Rights Reserved.)

27 thoughts on “Guest Post with Lynn D. Morrissey

  1. Kel, Whew, that was a hard one to write . . . even to focus on what I was trying to say to make it bothtransparent and sensical, and then having the courage to post it was far more difficult. My personal purpose statement is “encouraging transparency,” but it is not an easy one to live. Frankly, I can think of many things I’d rather do than to bare my soul (or my desk!) for all the world to see. But I also know that women are expert at wearing masks. We create elaborate, colorful, and pretty ones, and don them with fashionista aplomb….like for Mardi Gras (or something)! And no one knows whose lurking behind them–even we! That’s the scary part. And as I say in my essay, initially all that matters is that Christ knows. We must cry out to Him for help and revelation. He will reveal what we need to know, but first we must go to Him. That’s where I am…again! Thank you for inviting my writing, my authenticity, my heart. You make your space on the blogosphere one of sheer honesty and hospitality. I’m so grateful for your generosity, your love, and your friendship!
    xxoo
    Lynni

    1. Kel, I forgot to thank you publicly for the fabulous collage! Your creativity amazes me, and you nailed my sentiments and heart’s cry! thank you so much for taking all the time and energy to do that!!!
      xxoo
      L

      1. I truly enjoyed using collage to respond to your poem! I love having you at the blog…your topics and writing are timely messages for all the souls who read here! Thanks for sharing your heart and gifts. Love-Kel

        1. Kel, I love our joint efforts, but they wouldn’t exist w/o your kind invitations. Thank you! And how fun that you were able to create such a colorful, meaningful collage. You really did this from your own heart, and yet I think it perfectly illustrates what I sought to convey. Thank you! you hve lovely friends, too.
          xxoo
          Lynni

  2. I can surely find myself in this post, and I would bet many, many others will, too. It’s enlightening to see Lynni’s recognition of where she is, where so many of us are – she has helped me to realize several things about my current state as well. Thanks Lynni – onward and upward, with Christ’s constant help, and with our sudden recognition and hope that transparency will guide us correctly.

    1. Glenda, I have been ever grateful for your support and encouragement since you did the best thing you could ever have done–donate your husband to the USO! 🙂 You and Kevin are life-changing experiences! Thank you for your influence and for accepting this post in the spirit it is intended….warts and all, and with my eyes on the Savior. He’s my–our–only help. Thank you for your own transparency and for this rally cry: Onward & Upward in Christ! Amen!
      Love
      Lynni

  3. I love the vulnerability of this. I sure can relate too. My whole house is a jumble of clutter and mess. How is it that it’s easier to clean the barn than the house. One of the problems for me is that the house doesn’t fit our stuff, something we should have watched for when we moved here. Our realtor said you can fix up the house but not the location, and our location is great. So we worked on fixing up the house. I’m not sure that maxim our surroundings reflect our soul is quite right, but maybe born of the “get organized” industry. I think there are books that say the opposite about how chaos in our surroundings may be good. I kept thinking as I read this about birds and how their nests are different according to species. Some are made of mud on top of a light bulb, others are woven horsehair and hay, others sticks. Maybe your surroundings are they way they’re supposed to be, your right and good nest.

    At any rate I loved your writing and your poem. In fact your sentences read like poems too. Well, thanks for your honesty. May you find calm and maybe even joy as you sort things out…

    1. Katie, I greatly appreciate *your* vulnerability, and anyone who even *has* a barn in the first place is one amazing woman! A farmer I would not possibly be. Don’t know how you do it! I do think there are many, many decisions that go into buying a house. We actually have a bigger house than we did, which has allowed us to do much more ministry (my LILIES luncheons…stands for Ladies In the Lord), home journaling classes, etc. But the storage here is great (or a detriment, depending on your perspective)! At any rate, yes, I think that each person will have different comfort levels and marching orders from the Lord. You are very kind to me, Katie. Thank you. But I know I must get a handle on papers and books (my downfall) or I will drown. Creativity can stop creativity if you know what I mean. Thank you so much for visiting and empathizing.
      Love
      Lynn
      and I love your creative nest analogies!

      1. Well, we’re not exactly farmers. We harvest hay, which is very hard, and have chickens as pets and enjoy the horses.

        Yeah I have felt that too, getting a handle on books and papers…Thank you for your vulnerability in this post. Have you heard about Passion Planners? I just read a post about them and was intrigued…and wondered if you’d come across them yourself.

        1. Katie, I had not seen this. Sorry. Yes, I did see the Passion Planner. It looks very good. I first used Franklin-Covey for years, (and actually Dayrunner first), then PLanner Pad, and now iBloom, b/c I love its Christian emphasis. I first read about “notebooks,” as she called them, in Anne Ortlund’s Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman. It was also Anne’s inspiration which encouraged me to journal. Now that is my passion.

          1. I’ll have to look into iBloom. I may download a Passion Planner page to see what it’s like. I just use one from Barnes and Noble that has the week on one side and a blank page on the other. It is a new system for me…I tend to set out tasks week by week…But need to work on getting stuff done…I’m so glad you were inspired to journal and that you are helping others with it.

    1. Cecelia, don’t you just love Kel’s generosity in sharing her friends? I’m now good friends with another of her good friends (Kelly, are you listening?!). I love sharing my friends too. thank you for visiting and identifying!
      Love,
      Lynn

  4. When I got your email about this post I was, literally, sitting down to write a blog post on how God is doing some relentless housecleaning in my soul, while at the same time, I’ve been relentlessly organizing my home and getting rid of even more things than we did on our recent move. Are these two things related? Probably. I, too, am a vagabond, a flighty creative that too often is tries to soothe inward pain with outward creativity,(and shopping!). In this, my year to LISTEN, He is speaking to me about how I cope in fleshly ways, how I fight with carnal weapons. So, my friend, you are not alone on this vagabond journey.

  5. Elizabeth, no, I don’t think it is coincidental that you read this, or that Kel asked me to write it. I had just shared the acrostic poem (can’t recall now how I did), and she asked to publish it. I felt it would mean more with an explanation, but frankly, I didn’t know I would say all that I did. What is there about pens and computer keys?! And, of course, I needed to read *your* comment and to take courage from your vulnerability and to know I am not alone. Thank you! And your comment here is utterly profound: ” I, too, am a vagabond, a flighty creative that too often is tries to soothe inward pain with outward creativity,(and shopping!).” I haven’t shopped, but I’ve drunk (are you listening, Seth Haines?!), and Seth says it’s all about the pain. That concept (and now your reinforcement of it) really has me thinking. I will journal or alpha to the Lord about that. That would be another topic for another post. I’m eager to read yours! Thank you so much, Elizabeth. I so appreciate you.
    Love
    Lynn
    PS We’ve gotten rid of stuff here (clothes, books), but on the latter, and definitely all the paper, I’m making another go-round. Maybe it’s a process.

  6. Thank you for the heart felt confession and compassion. Your words can speak perfectly for so many of us. Extravagant vagabond. It is in that understanding and humility that we are lifted up. Thanks for speaking to our Father on all our behalf.

    Our desks look like brother and sister…

    1. Oh floyd! You always make me smile. Thank you so much! You really do feel like a brother to me, and of course, you are in Christ. We’re in this thing called life together, kid! Thanks for looking out for me and always for your prayers and encouragement! Now, let’s hit those twin desks together!!!
      Love
      Lynn

  7. Lynni, this is so timely for me! I was just about to go into my paper-piled office when I popped open your email that led me here. If you saw my disastrous office with its deluge of papers, plus more in the closet, you’d be grateful to embrace what’s in your roll-top desk right now. 🙂
    Your first paragraph describes me perfectly. I’ve discovered that one of the roots of my malady of distractedness is that I find so much in life to be fascinating. I’m amazed by folks who can focus on just a few things and put blinders on to all else.
    The Lord has helped me in many realms of my life over the years, especially in spending time with him on a consistent basis. What a beautiful difference that duty-turned-to-joy discipline has made in my life! Now in the practical arena of paper overflow I’ve been praying for wisdom, and, yes, as you wrote, for God “to save me from myself.” I don’t want the piddly distractions of life to keep me from pursuing and enjoying his best for me, particularly in my ministry to others.
    Your prayer poem is beautiful and so speaks my heart, and I also love the collage Kel made. How I would love to see those two exquisite creations put together in such a way that I could hang it in my office.
    Thanks again for this insightful and inspiring post!

    1. Oh Judy. Little did I think that this soul-baring would help someone like you….my dear, organized, love-at-first-heartsight editor! 🙂 You were so kind to me at Mt Hermon, and how I thank God anew for how you championed Love Letters to God. You “got” me through and through and understood my passion for journaling. If this little post helps you, who have helped change my life and course of ministry so dramatically, I am so very, very grateful. Frankly, I had no idea I’d write all that. I had just shared that little poem w/ kel, who appreciated it and invited it on her blog (and do follow Kel! Glad you loved the collage and she is a very gifted writer). But I felt it needed an explanation. After I wrote it, I wondered how on earth I could post it. But more and more I am finding that when I stay true to my call in obedience, then the Lord blesses it. Oh my dear! That photo by artistic Sheridan who captured it in a mix of shadow and light, almost made chaos look artistic! 🙂 But….the papers are killing me…not just there, but in the file drawers (needing to be weeded out), and for heaven’s sake in my kitchen pantry! The books are better. Mike bought me proper bookshelves, and somewhere in my FB feed, one can see my having organized them. I made one more pass on them today, giving away yet more, and then filled in some more books that I had brought upstairs to read. I’m thinking I need to read ONE AT A TIME! Judy, you are a creative, talented soul, and naturally your mind can find so many fascinating pursuits. Let’s pray for each other….that yes, we can pursue just the best creativity that the Lord has for us and let the lesser pursuits fall away. (Christin Ditchfield talks about “lesser things” in her wonderful book on Letting Go). Do you know her? She’s yet another dear, creative soul.

      I love you dearest friend….isn’t’ that lovely when an editor becomes a friend? 🙂
      xxoo
      Lynni

  8. Omagoodness! A twin spirit! A kindred ADD! I’d be upset reading this description of myself, except…
    My One Word for 2016 is “Kind,” with a view to myself! First new year’s resolution I’ve made in decades (because I can’t stay organized long enough to follow through) = To be kind to myself! Meaning, especially, to quit kicking myself around the block for the same missteps and failings I don’t get all upset about in other people!
    Maybe all you need is the same resolution? We don’t perfect ourselves anyhow. Jesus is our perfecter, not only of our faith, but of everything else. And can you actually picture Him dealing you some harsh rebuke for… a messy desk? Hah. Kind of ludicrous, isn’t it? What I’m discovering is that He is much kinder to me than I am!
    Ah, that felt good! Thank you. I needed that reminder of my One Word and Resolution.
    Be kind to yourself, too. And maybe, just maybe, you’re a multipotentialite like I am. I’ve really gotta write a post about that soon now! Peace to you, sister!

    1. Ha, Sylvie! A multipotentialite. It sounds like an exotic career path. I love it. Thank you for *your* kind words of encouragement. I’m so grateful. Yeah, I kick myself in the posterior-potentialite a lot. I just hate being in a destructive cycle and feeling that sense of failure. But I know the One who can pull me out, and I realize, as I had said, I wasn’t going to Him to help (not in the way I need to). Scripture teaches that all things are possible with Christ and that we can’t do a thing without Him–like living this Christian life in our own strength. He doesn’t condemn, youre right. And He will live this life through me. See my comments to Judy above. I’ve made some progress today…in Him….always in him. Love you dear one and looking fwd to reading that post.
      Kindly
      Lynni

    1. Dawn, I suspect you the more organized half of our kindred-spirit set, but how I love you and the way you encourage us to plan and prepare. I’m so glad you stopped by. And how we love our Kel and her creativity. I love (as I said above I think) that she shares her friends. I’m grateful she shared you w/ me. Keep planning on and w/ purpose. And keep writing and journaling truth!
      love
      Lynn

  9. Lynn, as I read your open and heartfelt post, I am thinking of something God has been speaking into my heart lately – that He is in the midst of drawing His people closer to His heart than ever. It reminds me of the 1970’s, when there was a revival… I sense the Holy Spirit on the move! And all that you are feeling is His drawing you… It also reminds me of something else he has been putting on my heart a LOT lately. Something I plan to blog about too. And that is that He wants us to start speaking out his word in our daily life, over our lives and others, as His declarations of truth that we are co-declaring with Him. Did you know that there is a verse where God says to us “Put me in remembrance of my covenant promises…?” To me, this is telling us, He wants us to put His Word in our mouths in a very personal way and then speak them out as declarations of remembrance of what He says. The enemy is the one who makes us feel like we aren’t close enough… we are failing somehow… etc. But the Holy Spirit draws us, woos us… I have a list of such declarations I’ve been writing in my prayer journal and I am thinking that this would be something you would be blessed by deeply too, Lynn. A list to be added to daily as we read His word and speak it into our lives. Here is an example – from Phil 1:6 turning it to a declaration (like the Psalmist often did in the Psalms) – A daily statement to say aloud: “I am convinced and sure that He who began a good work in me will continue until the day of Jesus Christ, developing that good work and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in me!” So that changes it from us “begging God to make us something” to declaring what He has already said to you and to me… It is declaring that He is bringing this promise to pass in you! 🙂 “God is at work in me energizing and creating in me the power and the desire both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight! Praise, You O Lord!” Phil 2:13.” Make sense? I encourage you to start a declarations list too, Lynn, to pray every day, maybe even say them aloud several times of day, making His heart soak in deeper! 🙂

    1. Pam, I’m sorry I hadn’t resp;onsed to your lovely post, but I hadn’t seen it till just now. There is surely power in God’s Word, and I love that we can take His promises to heart and apply them personally (and one can do that also w/ psalms and other portions of Scripture). Thank you for such a thoughtful and encouraging response to my post. I know the Lord is my sure help when I am overwhelmed, and how I thank Him for His precious Word, which gives me strength. I so appreciate you, Pam!
      Love
      Lynn

    1. Christin, I had not read your response till just now, and so very much appreciate your constant encouragement and support. You are such a precious friend. We are in this Christian walk together, no? YES! Love you so much, dear one.
      Lynni

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