Dave Brisbin 1.24.21
Friend of mine, increasingly frustrated that his actions and attitudes weren’t matching the conviction he believed he believed, had a sudden breakthrough one morning: that he was trying to create meaning out of life and something of himself through a sheer force of intellectual will. That he wasn’t taking God seriously—just showing up each morning and letting life teach. As a reminder, he took a Mason jar and labeled it “will/ego” and put on the top shelf of his pantry, so every morning when he goes to get his coffee, he can look up at the jar and say, “not today.” Beautiful little ritual containing a huge truth. Before we can answer abstract questions of meaning and identity, we first need to ask concrete questions of purpose. Why am I here? What is the goal of my life? Questions that define a direction, indicate next steps.

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This is exactly what Jesus teaches. He doesn’t give us expansive theology, philosophy, or doctrine—great abstract thoughts. He gives us purpose and direction because the big questions of life can’t be answered by sheer force of intellectual will and never all at once. Meaning as concept can only ever be extracted from purpose in action. Why are we here? To learn to live in connection and love. Jesus tells us if we continue in that purpose over time, lose our lives, our sense of self, in that purpose, we will experience a serial surrender of ego and will that will allow us to know the truth—that everything and everyone really are connected. And the conviction of that truth will make us free—the goal of our lives: freedom from the fear and compulsions that prevent us from living in love. Jesus knows, two thousand years before modern neuroscience could tell us why, that this process of serial surrender is the only Way to the Father, the source and embodiment of that freedom, our Good News.

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Everyone is recovering from something… Admitting this is the first step in spiritual life, because any unfinished business in our lives–trauma, unforgiveness, fear-based perceptions–fosters compulsive behavior and keeps us from connecting spiritually and emotionally.

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