Aren’t we all in pursuit of an easy life?
We all want to be stress-free. We all want to find peace. We all strive for security. Yet all this striving creates a mentality of fear within us.
I am 28 and balding, which is a sign of a stressful life. I don’t have health insurance. So pray I don’t get cancer. Most of all, when I lay down in bed I worry about not leaving a legacy.
“I think this is when most people give up on their stories. They come out of college wanting to change the world, wanting to get married, wanting to have kids and change the way people buy office supplies. But they get into the middle and discover it was harder than they thought. They can't see the distant shore anymore, and they wonder if their paddling is moving them forward. None of the trees behind them are getting smaller and none of the trees ahead are getting bigger. They take it out on their spouses, and they go looking for an easier story.”—Donald Miller, “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years”
We easily get caught up in pursuit of an easy life and give up on living a full life. Fear speaks easy. Fear says don't even give it a shot. Fear dictates preservation because when you risk you create space to fail.
So we easily clam up. We hide in shells of safety. We vote for powerful leaders who will preserve us. Eventually we end up in a hole so deep and dark we loose sight of the light.
3 points to consider when pursuing a full life
Consider embracing pain
Embracing pain is the opposite of what we desire in an easy life. No one is comfortable with the reality that pain is part of life. We live our lives preventing pain and avoiding anything that could possibly lead to pain, which leads us down a lonely road of isolation.
The greatest way to embrace pain is to trust. In every relationship where we trust, we become vulnerable and invite the possibility of pain. Rejection. Betrayal. Denial. All of these are possible when we open ourselves up. Yet, the other side of the coin is a full life. Love. Acceptance. Joy.
A spiritual grandfather of mine taught me the idea of living in stereo; living in peace and pain at the same time. It's a paradox. When we embrace pain in a state of peace, knowing pain becomes an intimate part of life.
Living in stereo allows us to live a full life without being dictated by fear.
Is it possible that death is the path to a full life?
Meditate on these statements:
"A “crucified God” became the logo and central image of our Christian religion: a dying, bleeding, losing man. If that isn’t saying you win by losing, what is it going to take for us to get the message? How often do we have to look at the Crucified and miss the point? Why did we choose that as our symbol if we’re not going to believe it? Life is all about winning by losing—losing with grace and letting our losses teach and transform us."— Richard Rohr, "The Crucified Jesus" from the Daily Meditations
“For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”— Jesus
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”— David the Psalmist
Jesus taught and demonstrated that life is found through death. Consider the fact that you are already dead. If you embrace and realize your death you can find life.
Consider a life of joy
Amidst the pain and death, which are unavoidable in a full life, there is joy. I am awestruck by the stories of the early Christian community. I bet when they were persecuted to the point of death the memories of Jesus would flash in their imaginations.
It reminds me of the story of Stephen. As he is being stoned (literally with rocks), he looks to heaven and says, "Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God." (Acts 7:56 ESV)
James wrote in his letter to those in the minority at that time, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you encounter trials of many kinds." (James 1:2 BSB)
The only way to live a full life is to find joy.
“The one enthroned in heaven laughs. The LORD makes fun of them” (Psalms 2:4 GW). The poetic words of David remind us God is not worried about the enemy.
It's only when we can laugh at the enemies of our life that we can truly regain our authority. Laughter and joy reveal the heart that is secure in something greater than present circumstances.
I challenge you to LOL!
Don't settle for easy, live full.
Be blessed, be abundant, and most of all love!
This is a guest post by Sergei Kutrovski, who is a partner in ministry and did most of the work on setting up this blog site. Thanks Sergei!