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Learn to Live Without

In a little known Broadway show called If/Then, the inimitable Idina Menzel sings a sweet, sad song. While not a show stopper like Defying Gravity or Let it Go, the song makes me cry. (Of course, what doesn’t these days?) “You learn to live without,” Idina sings and I cry as the inimitable Holy Spirit uses a Broadway song no one has ever heard of to minister to me.

I am not wealthy. I am a Walmart kind of girl. I understand the need to “learn to live without.” It is the HOW of learning to live without that the Holy Spirit has been addressing in my life. The austerity measures of the soul, the sublimating and suppressing, the painting on the smile and just getting on with it have left me a bit dry. Actually, the well-spring of hopes and dreams and tenderness is frankly FROZEN.

It seems poetic and ironic and wonderful that the Holy Spirit leads me to that most ancient of song books to help me “let it go” and perhaps even to defy gravity. Living into the Psalms, meditating and studying these hymns in which David pours out his pain and his passion along with his praise and prayers has been the beginning of a much needed thaw.

Of late I have been blessed by these words from Psalm 16, “The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup.” What does that even mean? I am glad you asked. Etymologically the Hebrew word translated portion is related to the word manna. I can walk in the freedom of His provision because He is my portion.

One commentator posits that the Hebrew poetry here really means that “every longing, every desperate desire of our souls” is meant to be satisfied in Him. I really thought that was how I was living, by the way, but I wasn’t satisfied. I realize this choosing of Jesus as my portion is taking me to a new place, a place of letting go and defying gravity (I am learning not to take myself so seriouslyJ). I am learning that He is not the consolation prize because I am unmarried. HE is the consolation of my soul. HE is my fullness. It is okay to long and to dream and to cry because in some very real way my Jesus is with me. He is my portion!

I am learning NOT to live without but to live within His grace and love. The words of a contemporary psalmist come to mind, all the more precious because I sang over the song’s composer at his baptism. So a big shout out today to Pat Barrett (His version is better than Chris Tomlin’s by the way) sings,

“ peace so unexplainable I can hardly speak as You call me deeper still into love. You’re a good, good Father.”

So grateful for those who help me to respond to that call.



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