I took the kids to see Sing 2 at the cinema and was reminded that Scarlett Johansson doesn’t just kick ass but also has a fine set of lungs on her… Trading her Black Widow leather cat suit for a porcupine-tailored rocker’s leather jacket, for me she steals the show!
As a result I jumped on Spotify and looked up what she’s done outside of films, and I stumbled across “Iguana Bird.” Further Google rabbit-hole wanderings confirmed magnificent creature pictured above doesn’t actually exist, and I have absolutely no idea what the title is in reference to. That said, the simplicity of the whole song, tune, rhythm and lyrics drew me in to hearing God’s voice speaking to me.
It’s clearly a song about what we go through post-heartbreak, that way that you might scroll through their TwInstaBook feed to check out what they’re doing, who they’re with, how happy they are without you, and then wanting to ask those questions:
“Do you like how you're spending your time?
Do you like how you're living your life away from me?”
If we’re talking about a break-up then there’s an inherent judging in those questions. “Look what you’ve got now… Is it really as good as it was when you were with me? Is that new partner, that new life, are those new friends REALLY as good as what we had?”
But when that voice was God speaking to me this morning that wasn’t the case. I didn’t get the sense of judgement, of guilting or shaming. Once upon a time I would have done… Once upon a time I’d have felt like I was letting God down, that I was an awful person living an awful life and that I needed to change everything.
That’s not to say I’m perfect now, but it is to say that my perspective has changed.
God isn’t saying “Your life looks rubbish without me in it.” I get the sense that he’s saying to me as a Christian as much as he is to the rest of the human population regardless of religion or not
“What do you see when you look at your life? I want you to have life in all its fullness. Is that what you’ve got?”
The God I know at the moment prefers to invite me into conversation and relationship that way, and to explore more of life. The God I know at the moment wants to remind me of his heart for me and for the world, and calls me into a fuller existence alongside him.
With ALL of the “L’s” I hear God saying to me, and you, and all of us:
Woah, oh oh oh”
But as with any invitation there is an opportunity to RSVP “no”, and that should be OK!
There should always be that ability to close the door, to say “You know what, I’m doing alright just now, thanks.”
I think there are genuinely people who would look at what they have and be content with their lot in life, happy enough with how they’re spending their time and living their life without the interruption of a deity, or at least the white western God that we’ve created and could be accused of trying to impose on people.
I think there are people who once knew that God, rather than the one I know now, and quite rightly shut the door on a relationship perceived to be abusive, and manipulative, and conditional, on a system based on performance and living to a standard, rather than one based on accepting love and living fully as a response from the depth of our hearts.
“He came to see her, never did meet her
Close the door in his face again
Time overwhelms you, let it get away
The life you had imagined just slipped away.”
And yet there’s something about “Life in abundance” that is worth exploring.
It’s something that we should try not to let slip away.
I think we should try and find safe spaces for people to re-visit God and re-frame him from the less helpful images we've previously had.
It’s one of those things we shouldn’t put off, or store away with the bottle of whisky that’s only for special occasions, or the best china, or the pants we save for “date night”, that might never end up being used…
I wonder, do you like how you’re spending your time?
Whether you’re currently doing life with or without God, do you like how you’re living your life?
Is there a way it could be fuller?
If you'd rather listen and come to your own conclusions about the eclectic mix of songs I worked through in Lent 2023, here's the Spotify Playlist!