“I’ve wasted my life!”
A little melodramatic, right? Meet our drama queen - slamming the door and throwing oneself on the duvet for a mighty weep. Oh, my wretched life!
But sometimes, that’s exactly how it feels. All the years spent frittering away time, all the wasted energy, all the missteps. The anger, frustration, fear and doubt. And a good helping of laziness and greed to top everything off. Oh world! What a worthless life I’ve been living!
While our drama queen weeps, let me explain. When I was born, just like you, I began soaking up everything around me. And just like you, the people in my life passed along all kinds of ideas. Some with good intentions. Others, to bully and tease. But everyone had an idea about who and what I should be.
Boys like blue. Boys like sports. Boys are brave. Boys are strong. Boys are good at math and science. Boys don’t like art or music. Boys don’t like signing. Boys will be boys.
And the list goes on. These ideas sneak in and the more we hear them, the more we buy into them. Most are commonly accepted and many are repeated with the best of intentions.
Except they’re a pack of lies. Boys aren’t born in blue, stamped with athleticism or endowed with bravery. They’re just not. Some of us love music and art. Some of us love signing. And some of us aren’t good at math and science. But you know what? It doesn’t matter. Blue or pink, strong or weak, athlete or artist - IT DOES NOT MATTER. We’re made for something way better.
But even if you manage to break free from one stereotype, don't get sucked into a new one. Because there are plenty of other reasonable sounding lies just waiting to define you (and help you define others).
Artists are addicts, athletes are dumb, lawyers are liars, politicians are corrupt, priests are pedophiles, mechanics are crooked, doctors are rich, Russians are commies, Mexicans are lazy, men are dogs, blondes are bimbos.
And the list goes on. Another pack of lies not worth remembering but so easy to buy into. Except don't. We’re not designed to conform to labels. We’re designed to bust free and shine bright - even when the whole crowd moves in the opposite direction.
Jobs are a necessary evil. Money makes life easier. Go to college to be successful. Work for vacations. Do what makes you happy. Fame and fortune are desirable. Make a bucket list. Everyone should try it at least once. Find a spouse. Nothing is more important than family. That’s just who I am. Born that way.
You know what we’re born for? To seek God’s kingdom. Which is another way of saying to believe in Christ. And Christ’s command is to love each other. That’s what we were born for. That’s the truth that exposes all the other labels and lies for just what they are: rubbish.
It doesn’t matter if you love blue or pink - you were born to believe in Christ and carry out his command. Athlete or artist - born for Christ’s command. Rich, poor, jobless, all alone - Christ’s command. That’s what our life is for. And it doesn’t matter who we are or where we are in life, this is what we were meant to do.
To believe in Christ and to love. Every day, every moment, with everything we are: to love. Not as an afterthought, not in conjunction-with, not along-side-of. Not because I-have-to. This love is what we were BORN to do. There is NOTHING else. Nothing.
How do I live this love? By believing in Christ. Because he is capable of creating this love in me. He gives his Spirit to those who believe and his Spirit teaches love. When I’m plastered over and blinded by life’s labels, he rescues me and helps me break through. To stand, to shine, to love.
I know it sounds mystical and like a lot of hocus pokus - but it’s not. It happens every day in every moment. And it’s not because of anything I’ve done or anything special about me. He does it because he is merciful and loves me. He died so I can live and freed me so I can love. And once in him, nothing can stop this life of love.
That’s the stunningly simple truth. It’s the ONE truth someone should tell us the moment we’re born. And it’s the only one worth repeating, day after day, to cut through all the labels and lies and keep us shining with love. And if we’re shining with love, we’ll never end up one day slamming that door and wailing into that pillow: “I’ve wasted my life!”
Every day. Every moment. With everything. Love.