“I realize now how much courage it takes to choose the life you want, whatever it might be.” (Reached, p. 471, by Ally Condie)
If you journal, have you every gone back to read them? I really haven’t. Occasionally if I am looking for a certain date, I might. I have journaled since I was ten years old. Sometimes I wonder why I keep them. The writer in me hopes they contain the origins of a best seller. (Yes I know that’s every writer’s dream). The other part of me thinks they are worthless.
Yesterday I was searching for certain information in one of them and I read through the whole year. It was eye-opening. I don’t remember most of what I wrote. I don’t recall having those emotions or feelings. At all. They weren’t bad, either. In fact they were good and I’m wondering what happened to make them go away?
It takes only a little more reading to figure it out. How fear and lies stole them away from me. I didn’t even put up a fight. At the time, I was blind to the frauds they were. The enemy lies to us, making fear the easy choice. It’s a gate that opens up to choosing nothing. You stand for nothing. You feel nothing, except the icy fingers of fear numbing your soul. You do nothing but hold onto the fear that will slowly kill you. It’s a painful death. You watch the world live in vibrant colour as your bones turn to dust. It only promises anger, bitterness and a whole host of other negative things.
Ally Condie, fiction author of the Matched Trilogy, is right. It takes courage to choose the life you want to live. You must be brave to fight for what you want. Not in a self-serving or greedy way. That’s full of fear, too. But to fight for what you believe. Fight for your purpose in life. For your family. To kill the giants that threaten to overtake you, your dream or your family.
It is a fight, whether you choose to engage or not. The giants are there, waiting, lurking, smirking. You better have your sword ready.
Fear is not the only lie we must contend with. The other one is more subtle, cloaked in righteousness and a hint of truth. But it’s claws are sharp. Ironically it’s one that Jesus followers and some churches promote as gospel truth. It’s not. The lie is this; If we are following God’s will, it will all work out. All the details will fall into place. Happily ever after.
What a whopper! We fall for it way too easily. I remember talking with a friend about this as we got ready to move. We were indeed following what we believed to be God’s will. The timing of selling our house wasn’t great. There were no guarantees. Yet well meaning people kept telling us it would all work out. As in our favour. It doesn’t always. Sometimes the house doesn’t sell when we want it too. The diagnosis isn’t what we would have chosen. The relationship isn’t restored. The pain doesn’t go away. Why not?
There is no easy answer. God sees everything and His plans encompass more than we can ever imagine or realize. We don’t see the whole picture but one day we will. It’s still hard. This is where it’s easy to get entangled in this lie. Because we think we should have a life that is easy because we surrendered it, right? Doesn’t that count for something? Don’t we then deserve some ease?
The answer is simply no. That’s not what Jesus said. On the contrary. He never promised us an easy life all precisely worked out in a nice little package. Look what he says to his disciples in John 16:1 -4, 32,33 “I have told you these things so that you won’t abandon your faith. For you will be expelled from the synagogues, and the time is coming when those who kill you will think they are doing a holy service for God. This is because they have never known the Father or me….I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” Our lives are going to be messy. That is a guarantee. Because we are human. Sin entered the world and we will deal with the consequences. But there is hope here. Jesus says it at the end. He has overcome. He did the work on the cross.
He also promises us that we don’t go into the fight alone. Deuteronomy 31:8 “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed’. Satan wants you to believe that following God means a happy ending and if He doesn’t deliver it’s because He doesn’t care about you or your problem, circumstance, Whatever. Why? If it doesn’t come prettily wrapped with a beautiful bow, we get discouraged. We doubt God. We might give up or quit on the very thing that God intends for us. It’s what our enemy wants. Our defeat. We hand it over like we would the salt shaker.
It not only takes courage to choose the life you want, it also means that you have to be brave in the fight to secure or protect it. To discover the new normal that God has for you. To bravely continue on the path set before you. To courageously trust that He’s got it. To not just sit back and let life happen. To give in to fear.
In both the scriptures mentioned, the Israelites and then the disciples were being told to go do something. They were fighting for what they believed. For their nationhood. For the truth to be told everywhere, even where it wasn’t wanted. They were being called to battle.
To be brave means confronting the lies we believe, the fear that controls. It means being willing to go out and fight for the life we choose.
PS: The coolest thing is that God has indeed given us a happily every after for those who believe in Jesus. Heaven. Eternal life with the most brilliant Author ever. Can’t wait, one day, to hear some of the stories we wish we’d have answers to in the here and now!