This Week I Will Attempt a Death-Defying Feat

sports-217238_640I’ve decided to try a death-defying feat this week.

Maybe it’s the influence of the Olympics. Maybe it’s watching the acts on America’s Got Talent. I’m not sure, but I’ve got the itch to attempt the impossible, something so terrifying it will take your breath away.

That’s right, folks. Step right up. Watch the woman on the high-wire in the center ring. What she is about to attempt will either amaze you as she flies high above the stands or dismay you as she falls prey to gravity and plummets to the hard ground where no safety net awaits her landing.

This week, I will decide to believe that knowing God is enough.

I’ve been dancing around this decision my entire life. I’ve been swinging through the air, practicing for this very moment, always strapped to the duel harnesses of conventional wisdom and sound advice. I’ve worn the padding of the American dream and relied on the safety net of “someday everything will come together and then I’ll attempt the impossible.”

But, suddenly I know, this is the moment.

Even with a life riddled with problems. Big ones, mind you. The kind that make others turn away knowing they don’t have any easy answers.

Even with imperfect understanding. There have been times in life when I thought I knew what I was doing and other times when I thought I knew what God was doing. Right now, I don’t know what either of us is doing but I know Him and I trust His character, His goodness, and His love for me.

Even with dashed hopes, unfulfilled dreams, broken relationships, unpaid bills, deep sorrows, and serious doubts, I know the moment is here to release the bar, remove the net, and fall or fly.

Knowing there are millions of people in this world who don’t have food or clothes or safety for their children, clean water or love or hope of living beyond daily survival. Knowing there are children probably on my street who cry themselves to sleep at night with broken bodies, broken spirits, broken hearts. Knowing there are millions who surround themselves with every luxury in this life but suffer from a great poverty of spirit that emaciates their souls.

Knowing all of this and knowing Christ, I can no longer live for myself alone, pursuing my own comfort and filling my prayers with orders for my own fulfilled hopes and dreams.

Today I turn from this.

Paul wrote these words in I Timothy 6:6-10: “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.

Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”

If you saw my life, you might not think me guilty of loving money, but even my modest life is more affluent than most of the world’s people. To two-thirds of the planet, I am rich beyond measure. To be discontent with that is a heinous crime against humanity and an insult to the One who placed me where I am for His purposes.

Paul continues with Timothy in this way in verses 11-16: “But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in his own time —God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.”

Today I choose to flee from all this. I will not measure life by my bank account, my possessions, my credit score, or my salary. I won’t mope and mourn when others judge me lacking in either accomplishments, position, or status. Today I turn from these measures and release my hands from the bar of living to reach my own goals.

As Paul wrote to Timothy in verses 17-19: “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”

To defy death, I will release my grip on the bar that only appears to sustain my life. This bar is a lie. This bar is an illusion. The net beneath me is a trap that will not end in safety but in my destruction, my imprisonment, my enslavement.

When I release what looks like everything and throw myself into the waiting arms of Jesus Christ, those who don’t see Him will think I have plunged into the air, reaching for nothing. If it looks like I have thrown my life away, then I am finally closer to grasping the life that is truly life.

This week I will attempt a death-defying act. I will choose to be content in Jesus Christ and will choose joyful service to others instead of selfish sorrow and want. You, loved ones, can watch from the ground or join me. For those of you already in the air, watch for me!

” Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” Matthew 16:24-25

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4 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Very intriguing post Lori. And I get it. I’ve thought about this for a long time now. I guess my question is this. How far do you go? In my head, I’m there. But of course there are still “creature comforts” in my life. How do you know if you are completely relying on God when you don’t live in poverty? Do you give everything away? Because I’ve thought about it. But at the same time, I had all of these “creature comforts” during my deepest depression, so I know they mean nothing. Without God, life is empty. What are your thoughts?

  2. Intriguing is a good word, Celeste. For me, the beginning of this release of the bar, is to consciously practice contentment with what I have. To cultivate constant gratitude in the face of want. To decide to exercise joy even when much of my life is full of stress and unsolved problems – not fakey “praise the Lord anyway- la-la” kind of smiling joy but “It is well with my soul” kind of joy. I will choose to serve those in my household without complaining and seek out those around me in need and consider that God means for me to touch their lives in some practical way. I believe there will be more but I’m a slow learner so I’m going to start with changing my mind and turning my eyes in a new direction. I’m sure I’ll post updates with what comes next.

  3. Pat Dyer says:

    Just what I needed–when I needed it. Isn’t God awesome?