Friday, December 2, 2016

Young and Pressured | false start

For explanation of this series, see this post. For more background on this idea, see my Rebelution article.



<< In Pursuit of the Good Life | four >>



Maybe the inclination has always been here--here, within me: to question the meaning out of life and to question the life right out of myself.

Questions.

They've been fodder to the fire of my life, sometimes fueling dreams, goals, and actions and (other times) burning thoughts, attitudes, and choices that were meant to remain.

I asked more this week.

The Student Government meeting went shorter than usual, and we cared to spread the care of the school's care packages. Over a hundred KitKated, trail mixed, and gatoraded boxes later, we moved upstairs and grabbed orange plates and dinner food. We then sat, and the conversation led to a place I'm all too familiar. In the context of having the desire to do something for God but taking on the pressure to do something for God, I asked.

What is the meaning of life? What is the guiding principle that influences the choices you make?

  • We talked about pressure: self-put pressed that's made all the weightier through twisted-biblical basis
  • We talked about self-condemnation: of hanging onto the pressure so much that you are never enough but pressured to do more better faster.
  • We talked about decision: that we can continually go in circles without ever finding a way out because there's always more factors we could use.

The end of the conversation exposed one concept, a concept that may be the beginning of the key to freedom from the twisted pressure to make a difference and change the world.

Jesus.

"Salvation is found in no one else. For there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
 
I have so (so so so) many thoughts of the implications of this one word and am honestly not even sure where to start.

But maybe that's just it. We are prone to starting in the wrong place in this discussion of world-changing pressure.

What do we start with? We start with the commands to go, do, surrender and apply them to our individual existences. How do we apply these ideas? What do they make us think? What do they mean for us?

Yes, these questions can be healthy. Analysis can lead to very good results. However, they betray a deeper reality: an anthropomorphic worldview, a man-centered way of viewing reality.

It's self-centered.

"Then Jesus said to all of them, if anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it" (Luke 9:23-24).

We put the pressure on ourselves to figure out how we need to best serve the Lord to the point that we forget to honor the Lord of whom we are trying to serve in everything--even in our questions.

We allow the questions to pile up as we think that we're actually doing some higher calling, as we're just "figuring out what the Lord wants," as we are just seeking to serve Him more.

But this can lead to disobedience: to sin.

We get so stuck in wanting to please the Lord that we get suck in our minds in places that aren't pleasing to Him: as we are consumed with all things about how we are doing and not enough with what's He's already doing and the privilege it is to follow Him.

We can neglect joy that's totally unrelated to our performance.
We neglect thankfulness for what the Lord's given.

Perpetually exploring the unknown of how to better, best, perfectly do our lives, we forget to honor God, the giver of life. We forget this: that we know who He is. His majesty. His greater purposes beyond the individual.  

Maybe we need to start with re-evaluating what we think we know (these commands that give us such pressure) and start with what we actually do (Jesus, and the humbling reality of who He is).

© 2016 Deborah Hope Shining
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