Finding Rest From Self

Our jobs stress us out. Our spouses/significant others stress us out. Our friends stress us out. Even our dogs stress us out. But, presumably, you stress you out more than any of the other units in your life. Whoever originally coined the phrase, “wherever you go, there you are,” graciously delivered a timeless knockout punch to all of humanity.

We all suffer from presentation anxiety. It’s a disease that robs us of pure, unadulterated rest. Think about the last post you made on social media. Mine was a 15 second video. I spent at least an hour editing it until I deemed it fit to symbolize who I wanted my followers to think I am. When I was satisfied with the final product, I spent ten more minutes deliberating whether or not I should even click post. Yikes.

Maybe you are one of the purists, abstaining from all forms of social media. Is it possible that even in your attempts to dodge the narcissism of self preservation online, that you’ve become narcissistic about not being narcissist? Or maybe you curate your identity through your gym plan, or perhaps through your kids performance in school. No matter where or how we construct our identities, beneath our attempts of self preservation we are screaming our lamenting our lust to remain in control of who we are. We don’t want to be broken bodies slowly puttering through life. We want to be admired. We want to be immortal. But maintaining the illusion of control is hard, albeit, impossible work.

In the book Grace in Addiction author John Zahl, references a time when he was DJing at a small club in Charleston, South Carolina. Clubgoers were coerced onto the dancefloor when he began to play an old, forgotten disco song titled, “I Don’t Want to Be a Freak” by Dynasty. Zahl recalls, “Soon the entire group of more than fifty club-goers was singing along to the refrain en mase with their arms raised in the air: ‘I don’t wanna be a freak, but I can’t help-my-self…’ In owning their defeat – through the infamous 1st step [of Alcoholics Anonymous] – ‘We admitted we were powerless… that our lives had become unmanageable’ – defeated people find a pathway to hope, freedom, and exuberant joy.”

When we forfeit control over to God – the only being worthy of possessing it – admitting that we are indeed powerless, we crumble up our paper identities and toss them into the trash bin. This practice means we are welcoming humility and suffering. Though in the deconstruction of our personal selves, we find authentic rest in God the Father who offers us a new identity through his Son, Jesus Christ. An identity that says, “Yes, you are a freak, but you are a freak who is loved to the ends of the earth and back again.”

This entry was posted in Blog. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.