Lose it to find it
“Go for the gusto!” Often we think that the way to find fulfilling lives is to take control. Set goals and pursue them relentlessly.
I often find myself bouncing back and forth between taking control and remembering that God is in control. How to find the balance? I always think of a small poster a youth pastor I knew had by the door of his office: “Work as if everything depends on you. Pray as if everything depends on God.” And I might add “Because it does!”
Depending on God does not mean that we have no responsibility and we just sit on a couch waiting for God to do something. Yet, if we try to take control without God — well, you know.
When Jesus began to teach the disciples what it would look like for Him to be the Messiah, it didn’t go well. They thought a Messiah would be a hero, crushing the bad guys (as we see them) and welcoming us to bask in the reflected glory of having chosen the right side. (Matthew 16:21-28, click here to read it)
Jesus said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan” when he began to insist that Jesus be this kind of Messiah. Jesus continued, “For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.”
Our life is to be found in Jesus. That is the path to fulfillment. But it is not the easy path. Sometimes it is suffering. We must be ready for that. But sometimes it is wonderfully fulfilling and joyful. We neither seek suffering nor joy. We seek Jesus.
We neither take control, nor shirk responsibility. We embrace Jesus.
What I think this means is that we need to loosen our grip on this life so that we can hold onto Jesus. We can’t ultimately hold on to both. The harder we try, the more we lose both.
Where do you need to let go of trying to make things go your way? Where do you need to hold Jesus a bit more tightly?
This column appeared in the September 3, 2023 edition of St. John’s eNews. Click here for the complete issue.
If you are reading this at a different time, you may click here for the current eNews.