There’s a great scene in Fight Club where Tyler Durden tries to convince the narrator to “just let go” and give up the control he thinks he has over his life. It is a powerful scene that encapsulates many of the themes of the film (and Chuck Palahniuk’s brilliant novel), but what always stood out the most for me is this: People spend much of their lives trying to control the things that happen in their life, when in reality we have little control. By shattering that illusion of control, Tyler leads the narrator on a path toward self-actualization.
Control is a difficult thing to relinquish. We all want to feel like we’re in control. We can take care of ourselves. We have our own plans. Put your best foot forward and you’ll get the job, the girl will like you. Work hard and you’ll be successful, respected. Eat right and exercise and you’ll be in good health. When that illusion of control is shattered like the windshield of Tyler’s car, it’s a traumatic experience, not necessarily as violent but always painful.
There have been times where I have felt close to God, as though I am walking lock-step in the path He has laid out for me. There are times when I feel as though I am all alone and my unheard prayers and cries are echoing off the bare walls of my bedroom. This is the latter. It’s easy in such times to ask “where is God” or “doesn’t He care?” Recently, however, it occurred to me that maybe times like these happen because he cares. Maybe it’s his way of saying “Jeremy, just let go.”
The more we rely on ourselves, the more we try to maintain control, the less we rely on God. Maybe sometimes God takes something from you to show you that it wasn’t what you need, that your heart and your mind are focused on the wrong thing. I have a hard time letting go. I have my own hopes, dreams, and desires. I have my own plan for my life. I have my own ideas of what it means to be successful and secure. And no matter how much time I spend trying to convince God that my plans are the best — and believe me, I have spent a lot of time doing exactly that — I know that God’s plan is likely very different. Read more…
As I lie here in my pajamas with my dog on my lap and my notebook sitting next to a half-empty glass of wine, it occurred to me that people don’t look at the positives of clinical depression. Sure, we all know what the downsides are. Your friends keep asking what’s wrong and won’t take “I’m fine” for an answer, just because it’s obvious you’re lying. You quit going to work, get fired, get evicted from your house, and end up living under a bridge while eating road kill over a campfire. You know, that kind of thing. What most people don’t realize is that there are benefits to depression as well.
5. You have more free time. One of the most frequent complaints I hear from people is that there “just isn’t enough time in the day.” That’s not the case when you’re depressed. When you spend all your time at home, lying in bed or catching up on the shows on your DVR, you have nothing but free time. Since you don’t do anything all day, you have plenty of free time to do anything you want to do, which is more nothing.
Disclaimer: Most of my posts are supposed to be funny and are meant to entertain. This is not one of those posts. Feel free to skip it. If you want a fun post to check out, this one is a good place to start.
It’s time to admit a little secret I’ve been keeping from everyone: I’m struggling. If my relationship with God is best understood as a walk, right now I’m in the middle of an arduous hike. Trudging up the steep mountainside, I can’t even see the top, obscured by the treeline and the twisting path. My muscles burn and more than once I am forced to stop and catch my breath. Looking over my shoulder, I consider how much easier it would be to just give up, turn around, and go back. Going downhill is always easier.
There are a number of reasons for this feeling, but the biggest one is that I feel my life means nothing. Paul told the church at Ephasus that “we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” I’m never happier than when I am serving others. I love volunteering with various nonprofit organizations and with my church. The problem is I’m so overworked at the job I hate that I have little time or energy for anything else. I’m exhausted, mentally, physically, and spiritually. A while back, I decided to make a change. If I’m really to live for God in the spirit of serving others, I want to do everything to that end. That means my job as well. So I began my quest to leave my job for a career in the nonprofit sector, applying to and interviewing with several great groups. Read more…