Before we begin, I need you to do something for me. Grab a pen and paper, or open up a text editor. I’m serious, I know you just want to keep reading, but for realsies, I need you to switch gears for just a few seconds. I want you to close your eyes, and ask yourself what you want out of life. What will it take for you to feel like you were fulfilled before you die? What MUST happen in your life for you to feel like you were a success? Take just a few moments, and write a list of the first several things that come to mind. I’ll do the same.
After writing my last post, I found myself getting lost in a fantasy. I’m still feeling like a timid king on top of Mt. Discipline, and for just a moment I saw a vision of what it would look like if I could live my life fearlessly. I saw a man that was self assured that he could do anything– or at least he could come away with a fantastic story. For the first time in my life I feel like I’ve proven that I can control the wanton ways of my wavering willpower.
Which led me to the question… Where is the line between relying on God, and relying on yourself?
Maybe I’m alone in this, but I feel like Christianity as I’ve experienced it has a tendency to decry our humanity as irrelevant at best, and tawdry at worst. In our desperation to depict God’s grace, I feel like the Church may have vilified the act of being human. We’re off balance smelly sin machines that piss and vomit all over each other and stain the pristine world that God has placed us in. But, he loves us anyway because God’s a really great guy. Don’t misunderstand me… I think there is certainly an amount of truth within this paradigm… However, I have to wonder if God sees us as the dark and ugly monsters I was told we were in Sunday school.
We are told we are filth. We are the scum on the Celestial Toilet of the Universe. We are weak, God is awesome, and we can’t do anything without him. I think my problem is that I feel like sometimes this idea is taken to an extreme in which it becomes an excuse for Christians to sit on their haunches. I’ve spent years of my life believing that just because God wanted good things for me, that meant I didn’t have to actually try. I was fated with a Destiny. God wanted big things for me, I just knew it. All I had to do, was… Be there? Exist? Is that the sum of our time on Earth, just doing our best to be not dead?
It’s only been in very recent months that I’ve begun to see that even while God loves us, even though he wants truly wonderful and fantastic things for our lives… We still have to work for them. My writing hasn’t improved because God decided that I should be a writer… I’ve improved because I’ve written hundreds of blog posts over the years. As much as God has written out a perfect path, and as much as he desperately hopes we’ll use that path, we still have to walk it.
Did you make that list? I really hope so. Because those are the steps that you should be walking. I believe that God can shape the passions of our heart. If you want to know what you’re supposed to be doing with your life, look at the parts you already love and do more of it. I think God invests an untold amount of time thinking about us, figuring out ways to mold and shape us into exquisite works of Living Art, and loving us so much that he continues to do this even when the clay decides it knows better and chooses to try and shape itself into something ugly.
Throughout my life, I’ve always imagined that life was kind of like one of those races where one person is blindfolded, and another is yelling directions at them. There’s a lot of tripping and stumbling and stress, but maybe if you listen well enough you’ll make it to the finish line. But more and more, I’m starting to realize that life is more of a three-legged relay. Instead of being blindfolded, we’re tied leg to leg with God, arms around each others’ backs. We try to figure out a rhythm; sometimes we have it, but other times we trip and collapse into a laughing pile with God and having the time of our lives.
Photo Credit: LittleGrayTiger