I Give Up
Lately I've been thinking about giving up. Sometimes it seems there is just too much to do. In most aspects of my life, I have to give out. It often seems that there is little coming back to me. In my search for relief, I've considered simply giving up. At my age, running away from home is really not an option. And as a Christian I've always been concerned about following a path to righteousness.
I guess I find myself with some internal tension because of this. I want to live a righteous life – one that is pleasing to God. At the same time, I have relatively normal needs regarding a sense of significance. I hesitate to admit it in public, but sometimes these two aspects of my inner self find themselves in conflict. Perhaps what I really want is resolution of this conflict and the easiest path is simply to run away from one or the other. That is to give up on one or the other.
As I observe the life of some friends and acquaintances, I see that some have chosen to compromise, if not abandon, the traditional understanding of what it means to be a Christian (that is an other-centred person living a life of service for the glory of God). Perhaps this is due to an unhealthy emphasis on the Gospel as relating only to salvation. We somehow think coming to believe that Jesus died for our sins is the end of the story. You don't have to read the New Testament very long to discover that believing that Jesus died for our sins is the beginning of a story not the end.
This misapprehension of what it means to be a Christian prompts people to think that they can continue to live largely to meet their personal needs with the added bonus of being sure of heaven when they die. This is not all what we find as we read the New Testament. These have “given up” before they started. They sidestep or ignore the challenges of living first for the glory of God from day one.
What I’m thinking I need to give up is the other side of the equation. I’m weary of trying to make time to satisfy my own desires for happiness, fulfillment and significance. Maybe I’m finally ready to shrug and say “Whatever!” (That looks way too enthusiastic in print.) After all, the best pleasures here are but shadows of the good things to come.
I expect that some of my friends won’t get this. That’s all right. They’re nice people whose overestimations embarrass me anyway. I’m still not sure what “giving up” will look like for me. Perhaps I’ll stop looking for love and acceptance down all the usual dead ends. I’ll be more content with what God has already given me. I’ll give up the idea of ever having my 15 minutes of fame.
I’m feeling more relaxed already.
© January 2007