To be trully human and fully alive involves enormous vulnerability and risk. It is a journey into maturity. Most men choose the bondage of addiction over the anxiety and freedom that comes with being fully alive, fully awake and fully aware. David Benner has pointed out that “the primary function of any addiction is to numb and desensitize. Task number one is to keep us asleep and unaware”. Our egos work hard at anesthetizing us to the terrors of real living. For in real living we will come face to face with the unavoidable mystery of being human. This we cannot manipulate or control. We simply are who we are, in all our glory and fallness. But we are addicted to the illusion of control in our attempt to manipulate the image of self. It is like being addicted to playing God. Again it is not reality. “It is this terror that we most want to control and from which we most want to escape” says Benner. “The demon in the dark of our inner basement is nothing more or less than our fear of being fully alive.”
Not only does the need to control distract us from our deep inner fears of being found out, but addiction help us avoid the “longing to surrender.” But if men listen to their deepest longings, they point in the direction of surrender to someone bigger then themselves. For men surrender feels more like defeat or failure. The ego never wants to admit to surrender. From early childhood we learned that if we are to receive the love and esteem of others we needed to be in control to seem successful and presentable. The primary task of the ego is that of controlling our drives and impulses, control of emotions, control of our behavior and control of how others see us. The ego become like the CEO in the organization of the self.
The key to finding our true self, the self that is created in the image of God, that has been rescued and redeemed by Jesus, and in the process of being restored in our life, is to surrender. We have to give up the need to create an image of self that fits our sense of reality. Remember our sense of reality is limited and distorted. All that work we have done to create an image of self that we think is presentable to the world and who we would like to be has been built on sinking sand. It takes an enormous amount of work to keep up. I know – I did it for years. I am still being set free from my imaging making. The more I can be truthful about the good, the bad and the ugly in the presence of a loving God, that more I can let go of the image making . I can testify that it bring freedom and authenticity. I don’t fear all the dark stuff in my tank nearly as much. Once you taste the fruits of liberty and freedom, you will not want to go back’ The risk of being more fully alive is worth the surrender
Listen to these words from Jesus in the Message. “What I’m saying is, If you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to end up; flat on your face. But if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself” (Luke 14:11 – The Message) I take the idea of “walking around with my nose in the air” as a metaphor of taking pride in my image making. Sooner or later I will fall on my face, since I have my nose in the air, living in my illusions of self making. But if I am simply content to be Al Hendrickson in all my glory and woundedness, I can then become more of myself. This is the self that was created before the foundations of the world. “Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy in his love” (Eph 1:4 – The Message) Wow, God had my image in mind before time. “No, we neither make or save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.” (Eph 2:10 – The Message). Remember God does all the making and saving. Praise the Lord!!