Sometimes I make decisions that are hard to explain.
Every time I stand before a potential onramp to “success,” I seem to turn it down. I don’t feel compelled or released by God’s Spirit to take that exit. Which is what it would feel like… an exit ramp out of my life context and situation, to escape who I am and don’t want to be. Essentially, to escape God’s plan for me.
I’ve watched others race past. I felt left behind and missed. Obscure and insignificant.
I gave my life to Jesus so young and trusted Him to promote me in His perfect time. So, I stood unmoving as doors opened to pursue a singing career years ago, an opportunity arose to take the business route, and in ministry, I had waited patiently for leadership opportunities to arise (in a land not flowing with opportunity), then pulled back -right at that moment when I could have “proved myself” – to fulfill the God-given dream of writing my first book.
For me, saying yes to following Jesus on the Way Everlasting meant saying “no” to the nuanced inner workings of sin within the motivations and desires of my heart, and the way these undercurrents, along with systemic fear and anxiety, now drive the whole of society toward some unknown end that is always marketed as glorious, and yet appears to be experienced as fear and utter despair.
Saying “yes” to Jesus meant agreeing to a different trajectory with different values and a different outcome.
Did you say “yes” to Jesus, only to later realize the “yes” gets translated into “no” regarding so many other things?
Here are some cultural undercurrents or flat out lies that seem to play a role in leading Millenials down a destructive path:
- Success is only cool when you’re young and hip, so I have to rush to achieve it early in life.
- I don’t have lasting value if I don’t measure up to the 1% of successful achievers/producers.
- Real life is your social media presence. The real value is in my “brand.”
- Everyone else is managing job, home, food, finances, clothes, exercise, etc. except for me. I am deficient, and only working more and harder will fix that.
- If you’re struggling, all you need is better “self-care” practices.
- People say they value character, but really they value people who will toe the line and enslave themselves to the “urgent.”
Is it possible to find a road through this life that offers real meaning, contributes honest value to our communities of real live human beings, avoids the rat race of pretense and false identity (i.e. social media/profile driven lives), and does actually impart some measure of God’s kingdom come here on earth as it is in heaven?
I can engage, but cannot fully embrace a culture that is fueled by fear and seems to run on systemic lies and deception. Instead, I choose the small and narrow road… It takes a lifetime to find and to walk but is the way everlasting that leads to life (Psalm 139:24).
Praise Jesus for His Holy Spirit who dwells within the hearts of human beings, whispering steadily over the years, “There is another way.”
“…small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:14).
Here are some ideas and values I want to live and promote…
- A life worth living takes a lifetime to live.
- A satisfying life is one of moderation, not excess.
- The only way to survive the age of technology is to learn self-control, which comes by way of the Holy Spirit reigning in our lives.
- A meaningful life requires character, which is earned through patience in suffering.
- Fear and anxiety are not eased by success and self-care practices, but rather a deep inner working of peace and perfect love.
- External measures have a place but do not solve life’s problems. At some point, you have to acknowledge the inner workings of the heart.
- “So above all, guard the affections of your heart, for they affect all that you are. Pay attention to the welfare of your innermost being, for from there flows the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)
- Our best life is not lived online, but in face to face community where we speak life and experience God with everyday, ordinary, diverse human beings.
I have learned the Way Everlasting and am experiencing the soul prosperity, freedom, and fruitfulness of staying in His will.
Father, teach us how to steward all that you’ve given us, the skills and talents, the seeds of prophetic imagination, the “great cloud of witnesses” that have gone before us, and the context in which our lives meet the world.
Lead us on the Narrow Path that leads to Life, in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:24b).
Through us, let “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt 6:10).
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:1-3)