So, a little disclaimer before I begin: I feel wholly unqualified to be writing a blog, let alone a blog about the Christian faith. I feel I’m at the very beginning of a long walk to freedom and certainly haven’t mastered any of the practices I talk about below. Ok, you’ve now been warned.
Here it is: life’s not fair. We’re living in a broken world, with broken bodies, broken synapses, in broken relationships, with broken systems, broken expectations and broken understanding. It’s been passed down to us from generation to generation; the suffering and injustice runs deep in our lineage. So, what do we do with all of it?
Our knee-jerk temptation is to grasp at control. To control ourselves, our resources, our environment, nature, each other. (Radiohead’s song, “Fitter, happier, more productive”, comes to mind.) I mean, the world celebrates human control; she who has the most control wins. And, she who wins, boy does she take pride in her superiority.
So, let’s play this scenario out. What do we do when we’re going about our business being fitter, happier, more productive and we get smashed by tragedy (injustice, loss, you-name-it)? We’re outraged! But really, we’re utterly scared that pain passed our control center without so much as a nod. So, slowly and methodically we rebuild and reinforce our barrier. It’s a barrier from pain, but also from joy. We think: maybe if we can perfect the art of apathy, we won’t get hurt again. Maybe if we can build our house a little bit further from our neighbor, we’ll be comfortable and safe. This goes on until we’re all alone in the middle of the desert, hiding in the dark (because the light bothers our eyes) in a straight jacket and we’re deeply, deeply pissed off.
Or, we could choose to break the cycle and realize, hey! I’m not in control. I’m not the god of my own world. What a relief.
I’ll admit, it’s a backwards way of living and it takes daily training: I don’t get to take credit for my health, my intellect, my wealth, my youth, my beauty, my marriage, my you-name-it. But, really, it’s like pulling the band-aid off the wound; it heals faster. It’s aligning ourselves with the truth.
So, how do we go about giving up control? Well, the first thing is to settle into a long---and I mean long---journey with God, where he calls you on your deepest, dearest sins one by one, in his own timing. Then, get comfortable with humility and also with death. Because after death, there is life in Jesus Christ. Let the church pray for you and build you up. And, be ready to tell them about how God’s shattered you. Read about God’s love for humanity and for creation; develop literacy in God’s word. Finally, repent. And, do it often.
Having grown up moving between Germany, the UK, the US and Canada, Liz spends a lot of time in the world of travel - these days, mainly other people’s corporate travel at a start-up going globally gang busters. Outside of work, she spends much of her time outside: she greets coyotes on her early morning runs and backpacks pretty nearby parks (the Olympic National Park a total favorite). She loves taking in art and talking real.