Escapism is the American way. I’m sure that’s far too broad and cynical a statement to be fact. But its my preliminary instinct to believe it to be rather accurate. I, personally, love to escape.
A high anxiety individual – the quickest, easiest way out is almost always my go-to, knee-jerk, logic-lacking response to any given obstacle.
Facing fear, unknowns, varying points of conflict, and a lack of knowledge leave me feeling inadequate. Which leads to stress. Which leads to thinking too much. Which leads to anxiety. Which leads to an obsession with lack, rather than a search for a powerful solution. As if I were “destined” to take the desperate, hard, often more expensive and fruitless path. As if there were not a simpler option.
Which – of course – there is.
To rest and be content at the same time rarely seem to correlate. Strangely enough, I’m more at peace when I’m feeling connected, energized, and firing on all cylinders (i.e. not resting) – which would make sense since I’m an extrovert. But the undying desire for “something more” always seems to leave one thirsty, whether they have $100 or $10,000 in their checking-account on any given day. And to be content. To be, for the lack of a better word, pleased – with oneself. That would be the desired end. Grateful, thankful, content, fulfilled, able to breathe without a wandering thought or relapse into critical thought-patterns. In other words, it’s okay to power-down. We don’t always be to be “On.” But for some reason, I think I do. (And it wears me out. Shocker.)
But it’s the American way. Acquire more. Do more. Become more. Be worth more.
And yet, God, Allie, and the majority of my inner-circle don’t seem to be nearly as concerned with external net-worth as they are with my internal. Often times, the external is a direct reflection of the internal. If I’m a well-oiled, positive, love-filled and hope-driven machine on the inside, then surely that’d lead to more success on the outside. However, it’s always an issue of the heart.
I’m more fascinated with why escaping is the first impulse. I know I’m not alone and not the only one. I know there are people reading this that totally relate (even if this isn’t my most eloquent, developed writing at work – I understand it’s rather fragmented, coming from a tired guy trying to learn a new profession). But what is it that makes just being not enough? Why is it hard to just have dinner and watch a movie, without a desire to be out on the town? And why a lack of internal gratefulness for being able to pay for the necessities, and instead, being consumed with the frustration of the lack of wants and have-nots.
As I grow up, “man-up”, and become more “aware” of my inner dialogue – as I discover my varying triggers and responses – I’m irritated by the constant need for immediate gratification. The lack of intrinsic will and self-discipline to stay the course, keep the vision, and place the longterm good of the collective units of family and community above myself.
Love is a powerful verb. Love is awesome. It’s not necessarily a feeling, as feelings are fleeting. Nor an emotion, because emotions linger, but not forever. But rather, a sustained, convicted action. God is love and Jesus is love because of their sustained commitment to the common good – the benefit of – and the redemption of others. Perhaps I’m speculating too much (as I’ve not been deeply in the Scriptures in a while), but I’d dare to say that Jesus didn’t die on the cross for himself, as much as He did for us. And I think we’d agree. He wanted to connect with us. He wants to be with us. He wants us to be with Him. He wants a relationship with us. We were find worthy in His sight. We were worth it. We were worth Him.
My future family and my local community, my government, my people, my circle – they all deserve that exact same kind of relentless love that stays the course and disregards immediate gratification for the common good. They deserve a man that doesn’t run or try to escape or avoid conflict or delay progression. They deserve a man that can face himself in the mirror, be content with who he is, but progress to a more sanctified self.
So in conclusion, I suppose my humble prayer and realization is that I’ve been an escape artist for far too long. (And I’m confident others reading this can relate and likely have too.) It’s time to engage in war against darkness, battle against hopelessness, pray for a renewed mind that views setbacks as opportunities for improvement rather than debilitating “ends.” It’s time to face and embrace emotion. To allow it to settle in. To consider its meaning and implications rather than finding ways to ward it off.
Above all else, it’s time to seek the Light. To pull back the blinds and let in the bright, white sun of day. Because it’s no longer Night.
Right There With You,