Megan Lebo

"Just be. Its what the world denies you" – Brandon Heath

Category: Uncategorized

Transparency…

I often find it difficult to write transparently about myself. I think that could be true of most but I can only speak for myself and my own circumstances. Facebook, I believe, has created an era of people who only show others what they want them to see. With a single serving status and a couple of cool or cute pictures you can fool the world into thinking pretty much what ever you want them to think about your life. An endearing shot of you and your kid smiling together for a selfie is sweet and tells the world how much you love your child and how much fun that child has with mommy or daddy. What the world doesn’t see is the fit that child threw in the grocery store because they were not handed the cookie that they so desperately wanted or the bruise on your arm where the little tyrant bit you out of anger.   The pictures of that brand new baby, so tiny, sleeping in your arms and you smiling so gently paints a picture of such perfection in a way that stirs in others a longing for the great blessings that God has bestowed upon you and your family with this new addition. Yet what the world doesn’t see is the struggle that you as a new mother are experiencing with post-partum depression or the lack of bond between you and your newborn. Or perhaps it’s an update about an exciting new show that you were cast in. With a couple of lines you express how excited you are to be part of a show that can boast of such a stellar cast. Yet what you don’t convey is that once again you have auditioned for a particular role and have lost out to the same, yes, the VERY same girl you’ve been losing roles and solos to since high school.

It is so rare nowadays to be honest, completely honest, with each other. I can honestly say that nobody really knows who I am, completely, as a person. (Or the fact that I frequently overuse commas without fully knowing whether they are appropriate or not. And now you can say you do, in fact, know that about me. But I digress…) A lot of people know some of who I am. I am a writer. A lot of people know that. I have strong views on life, faith, and politics, and I love music and theatre. A lot of people know that.

What a lot of people don’t know or realize about me is that I have some serious and deep-rooted issues with rejection and self doubt. Not many people realize that I frequently suffer from debilitating anxiety attacks that result in severe headaches for weeks following because of the way my muscles tense up during an episode or the fact that I am seemingly incapable of making serious decisions in my life because of an intense fear of making the wrong choices.

I’m just going to come right out and say it. My life right now is not ok.

I am not ok.

As a matter of fact my life is spinning out of control and I am barely, and I mean barely, holding on to my sanity. Truthfully the only sanity that I have right now is this play that I’m in and my writing. Yes, writing does help. It has a way of helping me sort through things that sit on my mind and psyche and allows me to process things a bit more objectively. Acting and singing affords me an energetic outlet and a distraction (and, might I add, much joy) but writing suddenly makes everything seem organized, formed, and within my control.

I lost my job back in July. The turmoil I have experienced since then has been immense. I had become complacent with where I was at in life. Not necessarily content but I was complacent. In truth this job that I had held for three years afforded me the ability to live in an area of town that I had always wanted to live in but allowed me no extra money. I had security but was bored and lonely. It was truly a dead end job that gave me no social connections and no hopes of achieving anything greater. I was grateful but ultimately unsatisfied.

In the last month and a half everything in my life has been uprooted and turned upside down. I’m losing my apartment because I have been unable to find a job. I’m having to move back to Hendersonville, away from the city with its life and vibrancy and back to the suburbs. I am confused, frustrated, and quite frankly pretty angry. No one should have to move back home at 30. I think what is most difficult for me in this whole situation is the feeling that I have failed.

No husband, no kids, no job, and no money. Congratulations Megan you have officially failed at life!

But sometimes the dust and chaos have to settle before you can see things properly. I have some serious personality flaws. I am an individual who has always had big dreams but unfortunately have always lacked the drive and discipline required to make these dreams a reality. I have never taken criticism well, in fact I tend to buckle easily underneath the weight of any kind of disapproval from anybody and I often give up before ever allowing myself the opportunity to overcome. These are things about me that have kept me stuck in a dead-end job for the last three years. So when my position was suddenly eliminated I found myself lost and frightened and was convinced of my complete failure and hopelessness.

But just as suddenly as the confusion had arrived I was hit with a moment of clarity. What am I doing with my life? What am I doing really? Yes, I had a job, and a room in a house in one of the most affluent neighborhoods in Nashville. I was living life from 8-5 with no more goals or opportunities for growth. When I talked to people about my life it was always in the context of “this is what I’m doing for now” or “I would love to be doing…” and yet I never really pursued what it was I was telling people I wanted to pursue.

Being the good Christian girl that I am I began seeking God for direction. I knew I was unsatisfied and a bit unhappy so there must be something else that I’m supposed to be doing. One thing I have learned since graduating from seminary is that the knowledge of God’s sovereignty can often become a crutch in the life of a believer. Knowing He has a plan for your life can easily turn into living without trying. I had fallen prey to this idea of waiting around for God’s grand purpose in my life. I had convinced myself that somehow it would find me and I would just simply say yes and walk through that door. Part of that delusion is a result of the Hollywood, story-book culture that tells us that our purpose in life is stumbled upon or that love at first sight is to be expected. In reality true direction, purpose, and accomplishment is found through the blood, sweat, and tears of hard work, diligence, and discipline.

These three traits are not ones that have ever come naturally to me.

I can kind of compare my life to sitting on the edge of a pool with my feet dangling in the water. I continue to complain about being hot and I pine over how refreshing the water looks and feels on my feet but never actually make the decision to just jump in. What if it’s too deep or too cold? What if I can’t find my way back to the steps once I’m in? All I want to do is immerse myself in the water but instead I whine and banter until God finally walks up behind me and pushes me in.

Clarity. Suddenly I am overcome with clarity and know what I need to do.

I am beginning a new stage of life. Albeit, I’m a bit behind because apparently I’m just a little thick when it comes to hearing God clearly on the subject of my own life. But I have heard and am now responding. I’ll admit that I am one hundred percent scared to death. Words of doubt and predictions of failure are already flooding my conscience but I have resolved to push them down and move forward. I am ready to do what is necessary to succeed. I am willing to sacrifice things in my life to make these dreams and goals happen. I am refusing to be consumed with jealousy or self doubt. And I look forward to this year with anticipation and excitement!

I’m not really sure why I have felt compelled to write so candidly about myself. I don’t ever like to assume that people want to hear me drone on about my struggles and insecurities. Rehashing the depth of my humanity is certainly not something that I particularly enjoy. Perhaps it is simply the desire to be honest and transparent about myself for once. I don’t think it happens near enough in life anymore.

So I ask for your prayers as I begin this new and strange journey because I just don’t ask others to pray for me enough, and at the root of that is pride.   For the next year I am moving back home in order to pursue a life in theatre. I don’t really know why but I feel that God has opened that door and I’m ready now to walk through it. Pray for personal strength as it can be a world that sucks the life out of you. Pray for me spiritually as it can be a dark and worldly environment. Pray over my greatest weakness which is discipline and pray over the people I will meet and the relationships that I will develop.

“For whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24

 

 

 

Our Crossroads…

We are at a crossroads.  Our nation.  Our world.  Our lives.

I have been watching closely, praying.  The urgency and anxiety experienced by the people during this election has seemed unprecedented.  There are issues that hang in the balance that I believe are more grave than social agendas and demands.  I believe this choice, this year, will change the course of our nation forever.  There are things that, if put into motion, cannot be reversed, will not be reversed.

Yet despite my own anxiety and the anxiety of others around me I have arrived at a state of peace.  This election is decided.  The future course of our nation has been set.  The outcome will show to us whether God has decided to act in mercy or in judgment.

It is so difficult to watch the news and discern what might happen, which path we as a nation have decided take.  There are so many half-truths, misleadings, and outright dishonesty among the media and the candidates that it is hard to see and vote with a clear head.  Each one claiming the other is lying.

In the midst of such confusion there is only one source in which we are able to find direction, comfort, and peace.

God’s Word.

Proverbs 21:1 says:

“The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord.  He turns it wherever He wishes.”

We are also instructed by is Word in 2 Chronicles 7:14:

“(If) My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

We are being called to repentance as a nation.  We have been blessed by God to have lived and grown up in a nation that has been civilized, wealthy, and free.  We know what the fall of a nation looks like.  We have history that bears witness to that progression.  We have the freedom to choose but ultimately the times belong to God.  He sees and He knows.

Therefore I am at peace.  And in that peace I echo the prophet Daniel:                                                                                                 
“Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever, for wisdom and power belong to Him.  It is He who changes the times and epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men and knowledge to men of understanding.  It is he who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him.  To You, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise…”

 

 

 

We are at war…

Its hard to even know where to begin.

My heart, to the depths of my being, is broken and weeping over a world, a society, that I used to hold as my own with a sense pride and privilege.  We were a country of beauty, of opportunity, and of freedom.   At the birth of this once great country Thomas Jefferson spoke of a nation, a government that would not only prohibit anyone in society from infringing upon the liberty of other individuals, but would also restrain itself  from diminishing individual liberty.  “Unalienable rights” was the term coined by Jefferson himself in order to express the vision that the founding fathers had for this new land.  Every person had the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.  This is what has separated our country from so many others throughout history.

And now a civil war is brewing amongst ourselves over these very rights and freedoms.  The freedom to live as we choose, to use our money as we choose, to worship as we choose has subtly, over the years, been slipping right through the hands of the people into the hands of a small collective who desire (or more strongly, crave) in their hearts political, social and religious genocide.  Private businesses no longer have the freedom to support and put their own money into organizations of their choosing.  Their “choices” now have to conform to what that collective say they need to be.

There is an overarching ideology and worldview, which has consumed so many, that feels the need to purify the world from religion.  No.  Not religion.  Judeo-Christian beliefs.  This war that is raging against conservative and faith based lifestyles is rooted not in liberation or tolerance but pure, unadulterated hate.

Hate.  A word used in such abundance but yet never recognized in its purist form.

Faith based college organizations are now being forced to allow individuals who do not share their core beliefs to hold office within the groups in the name of non-discrimination.  Teachers can no longer participate in student led prayer times that occur on campus outside of school hours for fear of making other non religious students or students of other religions feel ostracized.  Private business are being bullied, threatened, and forced to conform or be shut down simply because they privately support organizations that hold to a different belief than the said small collective.

What I find even more interesting (and significantly more disturbing) is how freedom is being taken away from a peaceful conservative faith and how tolerance, liberty, and even national rights is given to the ones that breed hate, violence, and war.

I fear for our country and our people in a way that I can barely express in words.  It’s a penetrating fear, like the cold you feel in a rainstorm during the winter months.  It’s a chill that goes straight to the bone.  The stage is being set for dark and dangerous days.  And as I watch the news and see the deep darkness in the eyes of those who are rioting in hatred and malice, killing those who stand in their way, I no longer feel the distance that I once felt from the rest of the world.  I no longer offer myself comfort in the knowledge that things like that happen in other countries but not this one.  As I watch and process I can almost physically feel a dark angel creeping into our midst, growing larger and stronger.  But that hatred is no longer confined to the obvious groups of blatant terrorism.  It has seeped silently into the liberal ideals that are single handedly destroying our nation.  It is moral corruption and lawlessness that has become a breeding ground for more dangerous circumstances.  It has been an open door for political corruption and weakness.  Our national defenses have been weakened.  We are setting ourselves up to be ruled by a power that we may never have the ability to remove.  When you begin dictating how a people should use their money and time, when you take away their freedom to choose, when you blot out their right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” you have laid the groundwork for a dictatorship and ultimately oppression of the masses.

This is where we are heading!

Wake up from your slumber!  Listen to Who is calling you and turn from darkness.  Our only hope is Salvation!  We must open our eyes.

Surprise by Jars of Clay

Shoot a dream in your arm and sleep away
It’s not the stuff that kills you, that keeps your life at bay
Every crash pulls you in reach
Of a watershed of signal flares that cover your beach

These are just placebos to make us feel all right
Illusions in our pockets make our feather float us high
For a second I thought I saw you eyelids rise
A moment, something restless caught you by surprise,
Surprise, surprise

We are so beautiful when we sleep
Hearts of gold and eyes so deep, deep, deep
But love won’t cure the chaos
And hope won’t hide the loss
And peace is not the heroine that shouts above the cause
And love is wild for reasons
And hope though short in sight
Might be the only thing that wakes you by surprise
Surprise, surprise

Dream little one
See the world just begun

Love is wild for reasons
And hope feels short in sight
Might be the only thing that brings you back to life
For a moment I thought I saw your eyelids rise

Surprise, surprise, surprise…

On hate, hypocrisy, and love…

I find it difficult to reconcile the complexity of emotion surging in my blood, barreling through me like river waters through canyon walls. When is it ok to choose anger over grace, boldness over passivity? At what point are we allowed or even commissioned to venture beyond the boundaries of tolerance into the territories of justice.

Hate has no reason and hypocrisy no shame.

The voices of those who cry out for tolerance and acceptance, the ones who demand the freedom of individuality, now demand of others not tolerance and acceptance but compliance and change. They fight not for the freedom of individuality but for rule and uniformity.

There exists not one individual on the face of this earth whose views are left untainted by personal belief and conviction. Unbiased, in the context of individual thought and intention is a false descriptor. It is impossible to maintain an unbiased opinion when it comes to personal beliefs. We all have a moral compass that guides our decisions and our perceptions.

To demand the closure of a business based solely on the fact that they are a business of faith and choose to channel their profits into faith based charities and organizations is morally and ethically corrupt. To demand of a people not tolerance but full on support of a lifestyle they cannot uphold, whether for reasons religious or personal, denies our freedoms not just as Americans but as human beings.

Do churches walk into gay bars demanding that a portion of their proceeds be given to religious organizations? That would be absurd! So to demand that a place be boycotted and shut down because of religious affiliation should be considered bigotry and persecution.

Now I am not ignorant. I am fully aware of like actions that come out of so-called church environments. WestboroBaptistChurch, whom we have all become familiar with in the last few years, is a prime example of a people filled not with the love of their creator but with hatred and evil. I am also aware of other church environments and individuals who profess to be warriors of the faith but in fact only act in ignorance and emotion.

So what is our answer? How do we stop spinning these circles? At some point we need to just agree to leave each other alone.

Both sides.

So to those who do not embrace faith I say, “live your life!” Continue to fight for your cause in a way that will not infringe upon my freedom as person and an American. Share with me whatever truth you hold on to but don’t force me to embrace or support your lifestyle because I have every right to disagree.

To the church, I simply direct you to Romans 1:18-32. A wise believer knows when to fight and when to finally lay down the sword. As the passage makes clear, even God eventually gives people over to the lusts of their hearts. We need to ask ourselves if the time has come to turn our backs and leave the world as a whole to its own self destruction. Because Christ’s kingdom is ours through our salvation in Him, we will not have dominion over the kingdom of this world.

With that said, we are still responsible for sharing Christ’s love and salvation with people. While we may lay down our efforts for changing the course of our nation or our world as a whole we should NEVER give up on the individuals that God has or will bring into our lives to minister to.

So I say, be gracious and full of God’s love, share with those whom God places in your path, and leave the rest to their ways. Speak up, be bold and fight for your freedom but turn your backs on Sodom lest you yourself be caught up in their judgment.

Read the book of Ephesians and be encouraged! “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.”