Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Choice: Hit the snooze or get out of bed!

 A young man questioned me the other day about purpose.

He asked me, "Why do you get up in the morning?"

I think at some point in our life, each of us must come to grips with a question like this.  What is it that we live for?

Life is hard.

Life isn't fair.

And to quote a scene from the TV series House: "Life is pain!"

At some points it is easy to ignore.  At some points you don't care.  And then there are those moments when you can't sleep because the question of "why" plagues your soul. 

What's the point?

Why am I here?

Why do I get up in the morning?

For some it is family, for others, friends.  When this young man asked me I paused and thought of a moment in my life when the question had been most prominently stuck in my mind.

I sat on a dock late one night missing a large portion of skin off of my face, my body stiffened with pain, my mind riddled with regret and loneliness.  I had lost everything I lived for in one fell swoop.  What happened then may make you think I'm crazy, or mentally unstable, or a victim of my own concussion, but I heard God speak to me.

He said: "I will never leave you nor forsake you"  Even though I have left and forsaken him to live my own ways.  From that point my life was forfeit.  I embraced the fact that I should have died but God had allowed me to live.  It took awhile to change me, but eventually I stopped trying to find my purpose in relationships; or ingenuity; or success and instead I tried to live out the words of this quote:

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. (a)

The miracle of life I received on that day is the reason that I get up in the morning.   To live as Christ.  To live like Jesus.  Something we think we understand, but few of us live up to.  I am the first to admit that I often fail and a struggle to see the world as he did:

To love my enemies even at the sake of my life

To pursuit peace even to the point of persecution

To see that justice is pursued instead of judegement

For as one of the early leaders of the movement to live like Jesus said,

I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (b)
It is not easy.

It is not fair.

It is painful.

It doesn't need to feel good for it to be right.

This was highlighted for me as I heard the words of Toni Minchiello, who coaches Olympic athlete Jessica Ennis.  The words were written for a Poweraid commercial, but they put flesh on the above quote.

Now here's the reality of it.  You don't want to be walking off with any regrets.  Be annoyed.  Go Cry.  You're on the line between breaking point and breaking through.  In struggle you'll find strength.  Now get over that line.  Dig for that extra inch.  Take the best you can do and do better.

Every second is a moment in time, but this second is a moment in history.
Here is the original advertisement, which sends shivers up my spine everytime I hear it:

If I can do anything with my life, I don't just want to tell people around me that it is worth it to keep trying.  I want to show them.  I believe God is using my life to touch people around me who can't see him in the midst of the hard, unfair and painful lives that they live.  So I'll take the best I can do - and do better.  And teach them that, with God's help, they can do the same.

(a) Philippians 1:21
(b) 1 Corinthians 9:27
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