So Why a Living Room?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Take My Life

Well, since this is my living room, I will post for you what I actually just did in my living room tonight!

I'm teaching a lesson on Sunday about consecration, and giving our lives up to the Lord. It's based on Elder Christofferson's recent address from General Conference, called "Reflections on a Consecrated Life."  He talks about the two gifts we are given in life--time, and the freedom to do with our time what we choose.  He says that to "consecrate is to dedicate or set something apart as sacred, devoted to holy purposes," and that  "True success in this life comes in consecrating our lives--that is, our time and choices--to God's purposes."

I've been thinking a lot this week about what it really means to consecrate our lives to God.

Here are a few thoughts that I've strung together:

1.  Awesome metaphor from C.S. Lewis:  (in his book, Mere Christianity):

"Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself."

Then if you pair that idea with this quote from Ezra Taft Benson...
"Men and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can.  He can deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, and pour out peace."

With expanded vision and deepened joys and hearts full of peace, we become something more than just a little cottage.  But the realization of all of those blessings sometimes only comes through painful renovations that we might want to resist--because we don't fully  understand what the Lord can make of us. 

But the greatest option for maximizing our capacities and our joy is to surrender.  

Neal Maxwell said, "As you submit your wills to God, you are giving Him the only thing you can actually give Him that is really yours to give.  Don't wait too long to find the altar or to begin to place the gift of your wills upon it!"

So, as is the case with almost all types of sacrifice, it might feel like a lot to give, but ultimately God always gives us back 10 times more than we gave in the first place. 

To me, this is not all lofty philosophy.  I really believe it.  I have felt it.  I have felt power beyond my own strengthen me in doing things that I knew were right, that I wouldn't have been able to do alone. 

In all my musings this week, this song kept coming to my mind.  It's called "Take My Life," with words and music written by Michael McLean.  To me, it captures the essence of what consecration really is.  I wanted to sing it as part of my lesson but I couldn't find the sheet music or the lyrics anywhere a project was born.  :)  I figured out the chords and almost all of the lyrics and just kind of made my own arrangement.  I didn't write this song, but after working with it for a few  hours I feel like it is part of me--and it actually expresses how I really feel and what I want to let God do. 

So did you catch the place in the first verse where I have no idea what the words are?  I just kind of mumbled something to fill the space.  Ridiculous, I know!  :) I listened to that part of the song over and over and my husband tried for awhile too, but we can't figure out what in the world it's supposed to say there! 
I actually e-mailed Michael McLean today to ask him what the real words are.  
We'll see if he gets back to me.  :)

Well, I am figuring out this technology stuff.  In case you were curious here is how I was able to bring my living room creation to you via computer. 
1.  Record piano accompaniment into my digital piano. 
2.  Push play on the piano at the same time as record on my iphone, and record myself singing along with the piano.
3.  E-mail the voice memo to myself.
4.  Download the voice memo to my computer, name it. 
5.  Download "Switch Sound File Converter Plus" and use it to change the .m4a voice memo into an .mp3.
6.  Upload the mp3 to my account on
7.  Take the embed code from muziboo and cut and paste it to my blog.  
8.  Write a few thoughts and share it with you!

Wowee!  Who would have ever guessed that I would learn so much about technology in my quest to create and share music?? 

Speaking of quests, here is one more amazing quote about what it truly means to give ourselves, 100% to the Lord.  

"When obedience ceases to be an irritant and becomes our quest, in that moment God will endow us with power." -Ezra Taft Benson

I'm grateful for the chance to immerse myself in this song tonight.  I have been feeling my house get knocked around the last few weeks and have been wondering what in the world the Lord is up to.  Sometimes I get a little bit resentful of these renovations He is making on my little cottage--but after tonight I have fresh perspective that He is a loving Father who is taking my life and making it something better, something useful, something worth living.  I needed that reminder.  :)


Devon Henrie said...

Em, What a beautiful post! The past three months in my life I have felt those painful renovations and wondered what in the world all of the pain was for. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. By the way, I swear I'll deny it if you tell our friend, Michael, but I like your version much better ;)!! Love it!! I teach R.S. too; scary and intimidating but I love it!! Have a wonderful weekend and best of luck on your lesson. It will be incredible!! Love, beck

Anonymous said...

Oh I love this song! But I have been trying to figure out the chords for the longest time. Can you share the chords you were able to figure out?

Best regards,
Misty Warren

Janie from Quebec said...

Hi, looking for the lyrics of the song, I stumbled on your page. I listened to your rendition of «Take my life» I am a singer too and I have to say you have the most beautiful feminin angelic voice ever!! What a beautiful gift! Never stop singing!!

Janie from Quebec said...

Good news!!! Here are the lyrics!!
I took a snapshot of my life, but the exposure was all wrong.
I couldn’t see a thing developing… it’s been that way for too long.
So, I have come with a request, though part of me thinks I’m insane.
But I’m determined to see this thing through and I… I won’t complain.

Just take my life… and turn it into something better.
Choose any way you will.
Take this shack…
Break down the walls and build a palace up on a higher hill.

I thought I knew where I should go.
I tried to get there on my own.
I took the easy roads.
But now I know that I’m lost and all alone.

So, take my life and turn it into something useful.
Don’t stop until you’re done.
Take these eyes and make them see a clearer vision
of what I can become.

And on those days when I think I’m dying.
I’ll trust in you and I’ll keep on trying.
And if you pick this road I’ll take it.
With you as my guide I know I can make it.

Take my life and make it one that is worth living.
Don’t stop until you’re through.
Take this life, the one that I am freely giving.
I give it all… I give it all… I give it all to you.
I give it all to you.

Em said...

Thanks Janie!