Claire Donaghey, Navigators Rep, Glasgow
2 July 2019
“Okay, that’s it. As of Monday, no more chocolate, no more carbs, no more alcohol, no more dairy … I need to be good.”
Many Mondays come and go, but the junk food always stays! How many times have you made empty promises similar to this and never seen them come to pass? Because of my ‘high expectancy, low achievement’ attitude, a popular song recently caught my attention: ‘Last Hurrah’ by Bebe Rexha. If you haven’t heard it, I would encourage you to pause here, go to Youtube, watch the music video then come back.
I’m done …
“I’m done with the drinking, I’m done with the smoking
I’m done with the playing, I’m done with the joking
I’m done with the ladies, I’m done with the fellas
Bebe Rexha begins the song with these lyrics. She’s done. She’s promising herself and others that this is ‘it’, this is her big transformation moment. The time for endings has begun.
I can imagine that if I was having a conversation with Bebe and these were her opening words to me, I’d be right with her. I’m there, listening, caring, cheering her on. I’d be feeding her empty platitudes like, “You got this, Bebe!”, “I totally believe in you”, “Bebe, you deserve a clean break.”. How do I know this is how I’d react? Because it’s what I do every day alongside students I work with, friends I sit in coffee shops with, customers I seek to serve, family I long to love. Constantly filling others with false hope in their abilities, not wanting to be the cynical, realist I really am. Who wants one of them raining on the parade of great change and expectation?!
“But it won’t hurt to do it all once more
This is my last hurrah, once I start
I ain’t gona stop ’til I go too far.”
Our conversation continues. Bebe can’t change and not have one last ‘blow out’ right?! Everyone deserves a ‘last time’ and if she gets to do it then so do I. Permission granted. Again, I’m there with her. “Bebe, let’s do it. One last time then you’re done … you deserve it.” We begin to make a plan of what she will do and how she will go about it. How can she achieve maximum pleasure from this one last night yet still not quite tip over the edge? I help fill in the blanks. I might even throw in a Bible verse for that boost of encouragement – “You can do all things through Christ, Bebe.”
It’s okay …
“Last hurrah and it’s okay
Maybe tomorrow I won’t feel this pain
Wait, pain? Bebe didn’t mention this before. Our conversation starts to change. I didn’t realise this ending was an ending of more than just too many late nights. I’m out my depth. I didn’t promise she wouldn’t feel pain, did I?! Why did she have to go to this level? It was all fine before. But I’m here, with Bebe, still cheering her on … so let’s keep going.
“I’m done with the heartache, I’m done with the demons
Can’t wait to be normal, right after this weekend.”
“’Can’t wait to be normal’? Bebe, what’s happening?” At this point in the conversation, I realise this is serious. I need to act. I pull out my phone, start texting all the Christians I know – “Guys, Bebe needs prayer.” I explain all about previous conversations and her desire to change. I get responses of promises of prayer and encouraging Bible verses. I’m left watching as Bebe battles her demons and never seems to win.
Where did it all go wrong?
I run to God, questioning, arguing, accusing. “God, what’s happening? Why won’t you save her from herself? She needs you, God. You promise to always be there.” But still the ‘last hurrah’ turns in to Bebe’s normal. Starting every weekend with excitement and hope, but ending it in despair, needing to change.
Then, gently, softly … Jesus enters. And the truth lands. Bebe and I never made space for him. We never sought him, depended on him, trusted him. Jesus got lost in the midst of Bebe’s desire to be a better person. I get on my knees and ask for his forgiveness. I promise next time to go to him first, to demonstrate living hope and encourage others to have a new life in him.
But where is Bebe?
“Maybe I’ll never change
But I’m still glad I came
Try again another day
But for now
This is my last hurrah.”
Bebe’s having her last hurrah every weekend, still insisting that she’ll try again another day. And I’m there, watching on the side lines – still praying, still hoping, still cheering.
The world is full of Bebes. I’m a Bebe, living under a false hope that one day things might just be different, but muddling on through for now. What would Jesus say to us? In John 4, Jesus tells the woman at the well that he knows all she has ever done yet, in that place of rejection and hurt, he offers her himself – the living water that will never cause her to be thirsty, will never cause Bebe to crave that last hurrah, ever again. Does that mean Bebe won’t struggle? No. She will. But Jesus is her victory. Going back to the beginning of my conversation with Bebe, what if I had exchanged those empty platitudes for the simple truth? ‘Bebe, Jesus is done with all this too. He sees you’re tired and weary. Come and find life with Him.’
This song could’ve been radically different.
What song are you singing that you need God’s truth to enter?
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