*WARNING* This post is actually a novel. And it has a lot of references and input from all sorts of places and people. Also this is another thought-heavy post, and I know you may not agree with whatever is said here, that is fine and your call and I’ll still be thrilled to make pie for you! I am not trying to push my opinion in your face. Nobody’s making you read this, so feel free to skip out or stay 🙂
Nice to have you though!
Heeyyyyyy…..are you still here?
You: No! Rebecca, you stood us up for weeks and clearly just don’t care about this relationship! We left ages ago.
Me: but I’ve come back to you, please, I wan’t a second chance
You: why should you get that? you didn’t even bring brownies this time. What? you think we stick around here to hear you talk? Get real. This relationship was on the rocks ever since you started “hanging out” with nursing school and that violin. You didn’t even tell us where you went at night!!! No, you are inconsistent, unstable and need to figure out your priorities before we can be in a serious blogging relationship ever again. In fact the only thing that kept us coming back to you were those brownie-cookies, darn you!
Me: ok. calm yourself. can we start small and just get coffee then? stick around for a few minutes, I’ve missed you.
*“we” might be a bit of a stretch because at this point it’s a lucky day even if even my parents are still reading this after such a MIA hiatus.
You’ve probably had this thing too ya know. Everything is peachy and swell until you wake up one day and you’re possessed, drowning in your own insatiable wanting for things to go your way so you manipulate everything you possibly can for weeks and gradually loose your mind and become an angsty insecure rude cold-blooded lizard? EW.
Oh..no? really you don’t wake up like that every once in a while? Ok. well you’re perfect. Feel free to stay a little longer though, even if it’s just for the tunes. So here’s the title.
I am sick with wanting and it’s evil and it’s daunting, How I let everything I cherish lay to waste…
Something has me, oh something has me,
Acting like someone I don’t wanna be,
Something has me,
Acting like someone I know isn’t me, ill with want and poisoned by this ugly greed….
Temporary is my time, ain’t nothing on this world that’s mine, except the will I found to carry on,
Free is not your right to choose, It’s answering what’s asked of you….
—“Ill With Want” The Avett Brothers
Good for you if your days are without waking up to neurotic insecurity, but come on now, chances are there have been times in your life when you see this thing and are consumed with the will for it to happen your way and see no reason why it shouldn’t–just this one tiny thing!! Not so bad right? so you invest all your thoughts, energy, and actions to manipulate this thing to be what you want. So now your figuratively running out the door to make it happen.
Running, running, jogging, kind of jogging, dragging your dead feet across the dirt/sand and looking up, thinking you’ve finally made it! wait–huh?? You’re in a desert? No, this isn’t your stop, this isn’t where you want to be! And you forgot which direction you came from and are super dehydrated, being in too much of a flighty hurry to get out the door and run to this hazy mirage destination you forgot to bring any water or sunscreen. Wow, someone is a great planner. So you’ve purposely run full on into the in the middle of a desert and now you’re being grilled alive. FANTASTIC.
So in typical over-dramatic fashion you fall on your face into the sand and wait for the coyotes and rattlesnakes to come out and eat you. Complete melt-down and stubborn self-induced misery.
“The things I don’t want to do, I just keep doing
The things I want to do, I can’t do
What a wretched man I am becoming
What a wretched man I have become”
For I knew how stubborn you were…you were called a rebel from birth. (Isaiah 48:4, 8)
Regardless of how you view life and why we’re here on earth, you probably have some opinion on what we’re supposed to do with life and what it is to live in the world–what is “living life” to you? What’s the point of you being here? This question wouldn’t matter too us or even exist if we weren’t intrinsically dissatisfied with our default condition here on earth. We need something to make us worth it, because deep down we know something’s wrong with the way things are. We are truly ill with want to be accepted and to have affirmation of our value in this world. This week I heard someone describe our condition this way: we go about life as if on trial, “pleading our case” everyday of our worth; making about 90% of what we do driven by fear, guilt, and condemnation (even if we don’t realize it–mostly subconscious) and through this we become addicted to ourselves and constantly “defending” ourselves. Thinking that our desperate wanting will be cured if we find “peace with ourselves” and our “place” in the world isn’t exactly true. Focusing on self-peace will mean chasing everything our heart desires in haphazard dysfunction, getting to the point where we think that this chasing is actually the whole point of life. It’s the “Chase what you want” “don’t stop till you’ve got it” mentality. (little disclaimer-I’m not saying it’s bad at all to work hard for something you want, no that’s all well and good but I am saying it’s bad when your worth is measured by if you can achieve it).
And everyone around me shakes their head in disbelief and says I’m too caught up, They say young is good and old is fine, And truth is cool but all that matters is that you have your good times. –Avett Brothers
If we aren’t getting any results (or even if we get some temporary satisfaction) we work to gratify our desires more and more frantically out of subconsious fear and the need to constantly prove our existence is worth it. This is where family, friends, jobs, academics, lack of academics, lack of friends, lack of family, your emotions, the people you choose to be around, clothing you decide to wear, music you listen to are employed as a shield of personal defense. This shield is what we use to say “I belong here” “I belong with these people” (my personal favorite) “I have reached self-actualization‘ (which is pretty much Maslow’s term for justification). Just recently someone was talking to me about how they’ve reached this whole cloud of self-actualization and how they got there through what they chose to do with their life. So out of curiosity, I asked them if they’d be satisfied in knowing they lived life to this point and consider that full if they died the next day (assuming they didn’t wish to die of course but the point of the question was focused on how they really felt about the quality of their life) Funny thing is, after being so sure of their completeness they paused and looked at me, and with a slightly surprised expression said no, then after another pause decided maybe they hadn’t reached self-actualization…
Aint’ it like most people? I’m no different. We love to talk on things we don’t know about. — Avett Brothers ‘Ten Thousand Words’
I’m not saying it’s this person only, I’m so glad they answered truthfully. Glad because it shows where we are when we justify ourselves by ourselves. Don’t know about you, but I will definitely say I’m no stranger to self-justification and talking up things I know nothing about.
End result: slavery to our own made-up worth scale, this is our oppressor, people cannot mentally oppress you if you don’t already doubt your value. If we stumble, people reject us, we fail to defend our place we see a confirmation of the lie: you’re not worth it, you’re nothing special, you’re not lovable.
“I, even I, am he who comforts you. Who are you that you fear mortal men, the sons of men, who are but grass, that you forget the Lord your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth that you live in constant terror every day because of the wrath of the oppressor who is bent on destruction?” (Isaiah 51:12-14)
Who will save me
From this body of death that is looming
But what you ask just cannot be done
A spineless heart is what I’ve become
The sweat on my back is just too heavy
A holy life just wasn’t for me.
Keep smearing my heart, all over my sleeve
Someone comes and wipes it off and takes it from me
What’s left is hardly mine but just a shadow of myself
“The Lord will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit–a wife who married young, only to be rejected” (Isaiah 54:6)
We know we just can’t win, we’ll keep trying for sure, but really we know. If we could justify ourselves you’d think we’d have figured out a fool-proof way by now. Looks like that isn’t an option if there’s still suffering and tragic amounts of insecurity in our hearts today. We’re not perfect, this isnt’ how we were supposed to be, we’ve fallen and we know it regardless of what each person claims to believe. No matter what religion or background everyone has some feeling of unrest with the human condition. We have gone against the grain somehow. OK I feel like I should warn you, I’ve had 4 cups of coffee just now and am on a roll, if you feel the need to leave I’d understand, though I hope you’ll come back for pie later.
You’ve probably heard the story of Adam and Eve, regardless of where you stand on faith, just stick with me here and consider. Genesis 3 is the story of the Fall of Man. Honestly I’ve struggled here with thinking God may have over-reacted a little bit when all they did was eat some piece of fruit. BUT then after some thought and hearing someone speak on this part of the story I opened my eyes a little bit more to what what really going on in that Garden. So, if God created earth it would make sense he has dibs on what is allowed and what is not allowed and how the natural judiciary system works. Break the law, logically you will be subject to consequences, (ok even if you don’t agree with anything being right or wrong or whatever code of morality you use-we humans do acknowledge there are correct ways of behaving out there–and when broken we value justice, otherwise we’d be content with anarchy). Nothing in the heavens or on Earth that God created broke his law, except for 2 beings: man and angel. Way before man, there was an angel, Who God described as the “model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty” (Ezekiel 28:12) however, this angel became consumed with his own beauty, intelligence, and turned from God in the idea that he was greater than God. O.K. that would be cosmic law-breaking 101 so logically yes this would be an action deserving of penalty. Everything else was following the rules so why should there be an exception for this one? God cast this angel out, “you have come to a horrible end and will be no more” (Ez.28:19). Ok, moving on, the second offender: man. Man decides to take things into his own hands, trusts himself above God, and pretty much does the exact same thing the fallen angel did. SO both offenses were essentially the same root. What did man deserve at this point? The natural course of action would’ve been the same as for the angel. What did God do instead? The lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. (Gen. 3:21) Pay attention…garments of skin…..animal skin. An animal must have been sacrificed in order for Adam and Eve to be clothed and made right. Also remember that there was no death (death=separation from God) before man’s Fall, man bought death for the entire world in the Garden. Something had to die as was the penalty; who rightfully earned it? But who was it given to? The animal. Who had done nothing wrong. God looked at man in his shame and wretchedness, and instead of deservedly eradicating him from creation he clothed them in something blameless. Making them Right, even if fallen.
God, acted out the Gospel way before Good Friday. From the very beginning he showed favor and mercy to his image. Saying he was willing to go anywhere and sacrifice anything (even himself eventually) to make us his own treasure. His one exception. You are worth that much to the Creator, to be the ONLY exception;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine…you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you. (Isaiah 43:1, 4)
Well do I know how treacherous you are; you were called a rebel from birth. For my own name’s sake I delay my wrath; for the sake of my praise I hold it back from you, so as to not cut you off. See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this. How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another. (Isaiah 48:8-11)
You are worth more than you can defend in the trial you act out your life to be. That is why we fail, we cannot defend ourselves through what we hide behind because we do not fully understand how we are already worth it. Worth more than who we hang out with, what other people see us as, what we have done, and what we can do.
Meanwhile back in the desert……
….face still planted in the sand. Feel a tap on the shoulder. You look up (after pitifully coughing out the sand and deciding you’ve got the Black Lung’s cousin) and see someone who exclaims; “Rebecca, why are you laying face-first in the sandbox??” Whaaat?? In your dramatic desert scenerio you didn’t even realize there were other people in this desert–aka neighborhood park…. look up a little more as they good-naturedly pull you to your feet and another person starts brushing the sand off your clothes. Where’s the desert?? You’ve been waiting for snakes and coyotes to come eat you in a SANDBOX?? Your new friend finishes pulling your sorry self out of the box and tells you to go swing it off (because they know you totally dig the swing set.) Thank you friend(s)! The swings are great and on the plus side, sand is a good exfoliator. Swinging on the swings with a new dead-skin-cell-less face 🙂
I’m standing on a stage of fear and self-doubt, It’s a hollow play but they’ll clap anyway…I’m living in an age that laughs when I’m dancing with the one I love…
–Arcade Fire “My Body is a Cage”
This mindless heart was what I’ve become, this weight on my back was just too heavy.
You say a holy life still waits for me—-Marcus Mumford