First and foremost, I need to say praise be to God for the peace of mind that I am currently experiencing. Right now, I have reasons to be bothered, reasons to be frustrated, maybe even reasons to be upset at certain things and situations. But I am not. I am actually at peace with myself in every aspect despite the chaos of life. And that is something worthy to give Him praise.
Alright so onward:
"I’ve given up on giving up slowly, I’m blending in so
You won’t even know me apart from this whole world that shares my fate.
This one last bullet you mention is my one last shot at redemption
because I know to live you must give your life away"
That is a Relient K lyric from the song "Be My Escape". It has been one of my of my favorite lyrics. Because it contains one of my favorite lines, which is that last line, "because I know to live you must give your life away". As crazy as it sounds, its so true! In our world today we as people tend to be so big on freedom, having freedom, and enjoying that freedom. So to say you must give your life away in order to live, that just sounds ludicrous and stupid.
I'm currently reading "The Reason for God" by Timothy Keller and one of the points he brings up, in his chapter entitled "Christianity is a Straightjacket", is that the view of Christianity in our world today is that it's constraining. Basically that Christianity limits our personal growth and potential because it constrains our freedom to choose our own beliefs and practices. He goes on to quote Immanuel Kant as defining an enlightened human being as one who trusts in his or her own power of thinking, rather than in authority or tradition. These are the stereotypical assumptions of my new found faith. And it couldn't be further from the truth though. Timothy Keller continues on to counter that view with something that's rather real and true. He says "Freedom cannot be defined as strictly negative terms, as the absence of confinement and constraint. In fact, in many cases, confinement and constraint is actually a means to liberation." Then he goes on to give an example of that with this thought, "If you have musical aptitude, you may give yourself to practice, practice, practice the piano for years. This is a restriction, a limit on your freedom. There are many other things you won't be able to do with the time you invest in practicing. If you have the talent, however, the discipline and limitation will unleash your ability that would otherwise go untapped. What have you done? You've deliberately lost your freedom to engage in some things in order to release yourself to a richer kind of freedom to accomplish other things."
I like what he says later on, "In many areas of life, freedom is not so much the absence of restrictions as finding the right ones, the liberating restrictions." I agree 100% with him in the fact that if this all applies to our daily lives why can't it apply to our spiritual lives as well. Why must we have to go out and enjoy our freedom to create spiritual reality, when instead we can do like the pianist and discipline ourselves to experience the true sense of freedom due to our true liberation. If we were to deny ourselves, carry our cross, and follow Him like the Bible demands us to, straight from the mouth of Jesus Christ himself then there wouldn't be an issue. Like the lyric mentioned above, in order to live you must give your life away; you have to die to yourself. It's not easy, not even close. But it is what we are called to do and it is with reason. The only way we will live or what we like to call enjoy our freedom, is to be like the pianist. We have to sacrifice, we have to let go of things, we have give ourselves up in order to gain a richer freedom, one that is truly liberating.
That brings me to the second thing, we have to let go of things. In order to truly sacrifice so we may tap into a greater freedom, we have to let go. Not let go of somethings, not let go of a few things, no we must let go of all things. Now you might read that and say woah woah Happ, that is a tad extreme. Let me explain. First, in regards to extreme, Jesus Christ was and is an extremist. Read the Bible and it clearly displays it. Jesus didn't go around singing praises with the religious leaders all day, no! He went to an extreme by doing things the religious leaders wouldn't dare do. He reached out to everyone, including the outcasts of society, the ones nobody would deal with. He lived what we are called to be like. If you want to keep going, how about this one? You want extreme? Here you go, Jesus DIED for us. He died for EVERYONE. Everyone including those that had,were, and are going to reject Him. That is love right there. Crazy love if you ask me. So if He went to that extreme for us, why cant we for Him. Now before you go off and call me psychotic. Let me next explain what I mean by letting go of all things. When I say to let go of things, the things I am talking about are the things that hinder your spiritual growth. Therefore letting go of things is subjective, meaning it is something we all need to do but at the same it is different for each of us. I am not saying you need to cut yourself from people and from the world, you need to go to church 7 times a week, can't watch T.V., can't listen to music that isn't worship music; I am simply saying let go of everything that hinders you. For me, honestly, its drinking. Due to my past experiences, drinking is something i need to let go of. It is something I struggled with for years. You may be asking why? Well it takes my eyes and focus off Him when I need or needed to be to dependent on Him. So I am not saying drinking in itself is wrong, though the reason you may be partaking and the abuse of it could be very wrong. I am saying for myself, it is something I needed to let go of. We all have many different things that do this to us, I know I do. But the point is we are called to die to ourselves, meaning give up those things that hinder us, so that we may pick up our crosses and follow Him.
It is kind of mind blowing and boggling to even try to grasp this. It is crazy, because we for sure don't deserve it. We don't deserve to experience that real freedom. We deserve to be wandering alone and be experiencing what we feel and think is liberating freedom. But it's not like that at all. God loves us. He loves us all. And He cares so much for us, that He gives us an opportunity to get something we don't deserve. Most of the time, we usually say when we get something we don't deserve, that life isn't fair. And in response I'll answer with a last RK lyric, "And this life sentence that I’m serving I admit that I’m every bit deserving BUT the beauty of grace is that it makes life not fair". So this is my prayer and has been for quite a while now, that the Lord our God would help me, humble me, yet keep me strong and courageous, as I let go of things, as I strive and move closer and more obedient to Him. That He would be my escape, my escape of the life I lived for so long so that I may come to the realization of and experience the true freedom.