Wednesday, April 9, 2008


become so numb
i can't feel you there..."

This morning on my way to work, I finished up the sermon I had been listening to and then switched to shuffling some music, and the song "Numb" by Linkin Park came on. 

Have you ever heard it? It's pretty solid, as are some other Linkin Park songs that I've heard. Mostly, what I enjoy about Linkin Park is that all of their songs (even if I don't like them) are full of emotion; I always feel like I'm hearing the very depths of the songwriter's soul.

And such it is with "Numb". When you hear the song, you feel the anger that the author is feeling- it's almost palpable. He's angry with himself because he feels like he's being pigeon-holed into something he's not sure of, and he feels like he's stuck in a rut. He's also angry with someone else whom he feels he doesn't live up to, and is expecting too much of him. He's obviously disappointed in himself and feels like he's disappointed this other person as well.

The chorus - the point of the song, if you could call it that - is that he's had enough. He's becoming numb to the other person, and he's creating a new life that's apart from this person. Apparently, he wants to be more of what he believes himself to be, and less what he thinks this other person wants him to be. The other person is seemingly smothering, seemingly wanting to control this person's life, and he's had enough of being what he thinks is a disappointment to this other person.


I've heard that the writer was talking about a past girlfriend, but ever since I first heard this song, I've heard it as an argument between someone and God. It's between a Christian who's realized that following God is costly, and either doesn't really understand what God really wants from them, or doesn't want to give up that freedom, or both. The singer is (to put it lightly) pissed off at God, because he feels like God wants something that he can't give. 

In our culture, you often hear people saying that you should "be true to yourselves". I think the singer in "Numb" is asserting that, and trying to say that he's finally going to stop following God and start "being true to himself." However, I think he's in error, and has forgotten the very nature of God. Deciding to do "what you want" or falling into self-pity and saying, "Well, I don't think I can please you, God, so I'm going to do my thing for a while" isn't the way out. God isn't like some middle school gym teacher, shouting hoarsely for one more pull-up. God doesn't want to control your life like that. He just.... well, He's just the Creator of all things, and He created you for one thing - to bring praise and glory to His name. He knows what you could be, and that's why He desires things from you.

If we don't wholly direct ourselves to His purposes, we're going to feel mixed up inside. We're going to feel lost and not know what actions or friends we should follow. And we're going to want to do what we think is best for us. Usually this turns out to be what's worst for us. I've been there; I've often wondered and shouted aloud to God, "WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?!" But, I have come to realize that it's not God who's pushing me into this box, it's that I'm resisting who He has truly intended me to be. The appeal of certain friendships and actions is, well, appealing. But to think that you should indulge in them because you think you've disappointed God and think you can't ever measure up to His standards.... that's foolish.

God doesn't want us to be robots, and He doesn't want us to give up all our wants and desires. We don't have to create a new life for ourselves that contains all the things that we think God dislikes - we have to acknowledge the simple truth that our true lives, our true selves - contain all of what God wants for us, and nothing that He doesn't. 

Years and years ago, I received a fortune cookie whose fortune said, "God has given us one face, and we make ourselves another." I think you can read it a few different ways, but the way I read it then (and still interpret it now) is that God has created a certain way we are to be. But, we spend most of our lives avoiding it and trying to create another facade. Please don't. Don't go numb. Reach out to Him, and embrace who He has created you to be.