It would seem that the two biggest idols in our world today are ‘power’ and ‘popularity’. This probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise. In fact, it appears COVID-19 has only magnified mankind’s desire to accumulate more power and more popularity. And yet, it is historically fascinating the beginning years of the Church consisted of a tribe of people with no power and certainly no popularity. I wonder how many times we strive and strive to create brand and platform, to accumulate likes and influence…only to then turn around and say “Look what God did?” What if, and I’m just spit-balling here, God preferred a stripped-down version of the current you? What if a more organic you, perhaps a less popular and powerful version, is the clay he seeks to mold. But. And here is a real head scratcher, what happens if we’ve become shaped and emboldened by a version of self that was predetermined and prepackaged by a popular/power hungry society.
You see the biggest challenge for some of us is to realize that, like in Homer’s Odyssey, we listened to the Sirens serenading from a far. Sirens were creatures in Greek mythology who enticed sailors to their destruction with an alluring song. As in the Odyssey, the songs promised so much and delivered so little. In 2020 the song itself has become a form of idolatry. Its melody catches our attention, and its lyrics are hollow in their promise for significance. You see, in the end the more popular we become and the more power we possess, we are left unsatisfied and only hungry for more. The song of idolatry is like taking a drink only to discover you are thirstier than when you first lifted to glass to your lips. It is a pathway to fear of what could be lost, pressure to maintain a pirated knockoff version of self, and a posture to worship all the wrong things. This is a version of self that can be found on the shelf, right next to a thousand other replicates. It lacks all the originality its veneer projected. And yet, this song of idolatry is the soundtrack of so many lives. For all it projects and promises, it leaves one shipwrecked and broken against the rocks near shore. They are broken by the expectations of others and broken by the expectations we place upon ourselves. It’s false hope at the further most depth of hopelessness.
So, for all who have listened to the song and steered your ship towards the sirens. For all who have drunk from that cup. You don’t have to remain broken. You can actually give up the endless search for apps to apply to a version of yourself you aren’t even happy with. The soundtrack of the past doesn’t have to determine the song of the future. Now come the question, so what do you do?
It begins with giving up. That’s right, give up on being exhausted by energy wasted on wasted time. Give up on the cancerous margin dedicated to comparison. Give up on bowing down to a replicate veneered version of existence. Give up listening to the white noise of a societal song that over-promises and never delivers. Give up. That’s where it begins. Just come to that place in the journey, the honest place, where one realizes that which has, thus far, been elevated in life never edifies. The honest place where we come face to face with the farce of pretending to be someone else.
Ahhhh but the best of all is that the honest place is also the place of awakening to a truth once lost. It is here that you can take the broken pieces and discover acceptance. To honestly approach God is the starting point to discovering all that God desires for your life. To take the broken pieces of our lives and give them to Jesus, is the beginning of pure amazingness. It is the beginning of ‘not having to live up to…whatever’ and becoming defined by the most awesome love in the universe. Because Jesus doesn’t make brokenness better, he makes it beautiful. That’s the miracle.