In my mind’s eye, I can see all of the things that used to set me on edge, that would irritate me to no end, but I am no longer feeling them. I am medicated. I don’t think my mental coping strategies are responsible for the majority of my ability to function without fear, anxiety, anger and depression. They are helping a little, though, as I try to practice them as often as possible.
In all honesty, my efforts are based on a singular sense of purpose–the answer to the question: who do I want to be? I don’t want to be the man I was last year. I want to be someone who has replaced many of the destructive thought patterns with loving, mindful ones. I don’t need to be vastly smarter or better looking or more physically fit. I want to be wiser and kinder. This means all of the knowledge and clever mental tricks are worth next to nothing without a heart full of love for others.
People are frightened and anxious about what the world will look like when their kids come of an age to inherit the world. More than we would ever care to admit, we have placed our faith in material things and institutions rather than Christ. Waving a flag, holding a Bible, and having a fever for the troops will not pass for having an active life of faith in Christ. But, neither will positioning your primary focus of faith on institutions of government, secondary education and the economy. The things of this world, no matter how near and dear they are to us, are still the things of this world.
I will rely on the institutions that are designed to benefit and protect me, but they will not take the place of my Rock in whom I should trust.
The business of putting your faith in something or someone other than God amounts to hoping for a future immortality that is grounded in a worldly thing. You are seeking to sustain yourself as you more or less see yourself to be in its whole or entirety, in this world as opposed to a future, heavenly one. This may be because you are an atheist, or it may be because you simply do not have sufficient trust in God to make you part of His Kingdom of Heaven in a time and place to come. Immortality may be sought by trying to postpone the aging process and attempting to have a sustained longevity inside the corruptible human organism. Or, it may be sought via establishing legacies and material content that contain some evidence of who you were as a living being. Yet, you don’t really know exactly how you would define yourself were you put to that task, and you know that no amount of attempts at preservation and promulgation of yourself will be especially successful. In this world, the dead are quickly forgotten and reduced to names on buildings, streets, books, etc.
The first step is declaring that you have no intention of seeking immortality inside this corruptible realm. You can’t possibly be serious about seeking immortality if you are relying on an organism and artifacts that have corruptibility as part of their core identity. In other words, death and eradication are built-in to our physical selves and their intrinsic makeup and functions.
So then, what comes next? Do you stop writing altogether, because your words are just as prone to being erased as your physical self and memories of who you are will be? Or do you begin to seek solely a life everlasting through Christ? My physical self is completely mortal and ready to die when God sees fit, but my spiritual self claims victory in Jesus. Therefore, I seek to place all of my activities, including thoughts and words, as having come from Christ, and making sure they pass through Christ before materializing in this external environment, and always having Christ as the ultimate goal for my words, thoughts and deeds to move toward.
If I can hold this kind of thinking close to my heart, then I will never fear death or the oppressive forces in this physical realm that seek to destroy me. I exist apart from them in Christ, but I remain a part of this world for now, just as Christ himself was fully human.
By doing this, I appear to become a much simpler sort of individual, because I am not grabbing onto things of this world to power my activities. I will be laughed at and scorned, and nobody will hold me up in high regard as a penultimate example of what a human can achieve on his own without God’s help. But I remain at peace, and do not carry with me any need to prove myself to anyone. I am simply being in and with Christ.
My thoughts begin to look like little prayers, prayers for others, especially those that I once screamed and raged at for not living up to my exacting standards. Prayers for those who would mistreat me, intentionally or not. Prayers for those who are suffering, whether from self-inflicted wounds or not. Prayers for those who are successful, that they might come to see how all of the good that has flowed to them only comes from one Source.