I’ve known for a long time that I’ve been sick. I have seldom been able to quite pinpoint my sickness. And sometimes I have seen and experienced it so clearly that I felt like I must die. And die, I must.
I have tried to cure my sickness with so many drugs. TV, friends, family, love, children…but mostly things. And all of these drugs only make my symptoms worse. My envy only becomes stronger. The lust after things not my own begins to take over. The side-effects of these only seems to feed my sickness. It only seems to make my sickness all the more powerful.
As I grew up, I was told that having love would make it all better. If I could only feel loved, then the sickness would start to lose it’s grip on me. So I sought after love. I thought I found it many times only to be disappointed. I thought it must have been me. And it wasn’t. And it was. It wasn’t as if something was wrong with me…but something was wrong with us. All of us. We always became selfish. Always wanted our own way. Always wanted to be the one in control…no longer caring about the needs of the other. No longer chained up by the infatuation with one another. And that was the problem. The drug was called, “Love” but it wasn’t love. It was labeled wrong. It was really “Lust” or “Infatuation” or “High Expectations” or “Meet my needs, please!” All of these start off with side-effects that are similar to “Love.” But eventually they wear off and give themselves up to stronger, darker side-effects of selfishness, emptiness, and a loss of who you are…who you were created to become.
At times I was told that beauty would make it all better. If I could only be beautiful. If I could only look like that girl…or that one…or that one. They’re all so beautiful. As I would look at myself in the mirror I would realize that I had been found wanting. I was lacking a certain appeal…but what was it? I thought I should exercise more. Maybe I should spend more time…more money…But it cost more of who I was. So, what if I couldn’t live up to these expectations. The “beauty” drug was really labeled “vanity.” The warning labels all said, “True beauty flows from your inside. From the contents of your heart, your outward appearances will be made. This pill cannot hide the true contents of your heart for long. For, at some point, you will open your mouth and what comes from your mouth also comes from your heart.” But could I change my heart?
I decided to take the higher road. I thought “Being a Good Person” looked like a promising bottle. The side effects seemed beneficial including others liking you, others noticing your goodness, others wishing they were good too, helping others. I didn’t read the warnings, though. Pride and haughtiness were dangerous side-effects and would negate every good thing I did. Pride would ruin any other attempt at becoming a whole person–Pride would ruin real love, if I was to find it. Pride would ruin any beauty I might attain. Pride would ruin any friendships I may have found. Pride would slowly eat at my soul until there was nothing left. Being a “good person” was never enough…because it was never REAL.
What could I ever find that would truly take away this sickness. I tried the “Religion” bottle. That didn’t work. I tried the “Be Yourself” bottle…and that was a terrible idea. I had no clue that my “SELF” was capable of such ugliness. The most difficult bottle, and least touched, was the bottle labeled “Jesus.” In a way, it was similar to “Religion” but without all the need for me to do anything. “Religion” required me to take pills like “Be a Good Person” to work. “Jesus” didn’t require anything of me. And it required everything of me at the same time.
Unlike the other pills, “Jesus” promises eternal life regardless of what I do or take. I have to be willing to succumb to this pill, though. It required my soul…but that wasn’t hard to give away. My soul seemed so abstract anyway. How could I grip on to something that didn’t seem like mine in the first place? It required me to be willing to die for it. That didn’t seem difficult either. If it promised eternal life, then dying didn’t seem so scary anymore. The most difficult thing to give up has been my life.
I am willing to die. But am I willing to live for what I believe to be true? I see people walking down the street every day who I believe have no clue what they’re living for. I believe they’ve tried every single pill on the face of the earth to try to fill up the void they feel in their heart. The pill may be working for now, but eventually it will give in to its darker side and will show the true side effects of its build up. And they will move on to something else…just like I did. But, for whatever reason, I’m afraid to reveal this cure I’ve found. I’m afraid of being laughed at. I’m afraid of being spat upon. I’m afraid of being talked about behind my back. I’m still afraid. The sickness of fear begins to take over and instead of being willing to run across hot coals, broken glass and through no man’s land to save just one…I sit in the safety of my silence.
I need to die to myself. I need to tell my self that it doesn’t really exist anyway. That this thing I call “self” isn’t really me anyway. God has painted a more lovely picture of me and is waiting to clean off the layers of my heart and soul and reveal who I really am. He knows the plans he has for me…plans to prosper me and not to harm me…but I have to be willing to give “me” to him. He won’t force it away from me. Even if I say, “here–take it” and don’t open my hand, he will not pry it open…even if I beg him to. I must be willing to hand it over.
God, take my life. Help me to not try to fill it up with false gods and false hope. Help me to see the truth. Help me to hand myself over to you. Help me to open up my hand. Help me to hear your still, small voice and have the wisdom to listen. Help me to destroy all the pill bottles I keep on my shelf just in case I forget the side effects and think I need a dose of “Love,” “Being a Good Person,” “Beauty.” Help my heart to look more like yours. Help me to see you in all things and to know that you are TRUE love. Help me to remember that you bring true joy. Help me to fight through the times of trials that you’ve promised will come. Help me to feel your presence even when you seem far away. Help me to be thankful and to see the wonder of your creations in my life. Help me to remember that you have not given me a spirit of fear, but of TRUE love, power, and a sound mind. Help me to eat of the fruit you have given me–the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Help this fruit to feed me and radiate from my being. Rid me of my disease. Change me, God, into the person I was meant to be.