The story of Feel Holy
In Romans 7, Paul writes,
 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not
do, but what I hate I do... For I have the desire to do what is good,
but I cannot carry it out.
The honesty and humanity in these verses fascinates me, and makes me deeply grateful to Paul, this great hero in the faith, for penning such words that give clarity to the wrestle we can feel in our flesh. I know who I am called to be in God, yet knowing and being can sometimes be miles apart.
Throughout the year of 2020, I became quite acquainted with the feeling of simultaneously ‘doing what I hated,’ and justifying it enough to resist the transformative work of Jesus that I knew He wanted to do in my heart. I resisted for a while, but in my growing spiritual exhaustion (neatly packaged up in bitterness and pride), the Holy Spirit convicted me, and I gave in.
 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
For me, ‘doing what I hated’ looked like serving faithfully in church, but losing personal zeal for the Lord. It looked like saying and doing very Christian things, whilst letting my fire grow dim in the secret place. I began to prioritise the ‘doing’ of Christian activities around my life whilst neglecting communion with the abiding presence of the very source of my life. I knew it wasn’t sustainable. But in a season of busyness and external pressures, it can feel easier to say ‘yes’ to things that people ask of you, without realising that in the same breath you are saying ‘no’ to investing time and energy into your friendship with the Lord.
There was a period of time when I realised this pattern in myself, but hadn’t come to a true place of honesty and repentance. In this season, songwriting itself felt like a ‘holy’ activity that momentarily filled my ache for a sense of righteousness. As I sat down to write one day, I dared myself to be honest, and these lyrics fell out of me 'All the little things I do when I want to feel holy, when I want to feel whole.’
My favourite part of this song comes bleeding out at the end as a sort of musical epilogue. Whilst writing 'Feel Holy,' I had this strange image fixed in my mind, whether from a dream or a real painting I’d seen, I wasn't sure. The image depicts a figure crouching in the darkness of a room, faced to the corner. Their back is turned away from a warm orange light illuminating the space behind them, and this glow from a fire contrasts the deep blackness. Although the figure’s back is turned, their face is slightly angled toward the fire, their eyes longingly fixed on the light that draws them in. I know that the fire is the presence of God, with a warmth and a glow that I can choose to remove myself from, but that my spirit cannot resist. I was born to know His presence.
Just one glimpse at the face of God
One small sip from the Spirit’s cup
Just the faintest ember from the fire’s holy glow
In a season of spiritual drift, the very moment I would return to the Lord and enter His presence, I was overcome by His offer of closeness and communion. Just one glimpse of Him, just the slightest turning in my heart, and the distance would dissipate. My spirit would remember what my flesh had forgotten - He truly is the one I hunger for, and the
one who satisfies me so I will never hunger again!