Open Up / by Michael Nichols

One of the most painstaking experiences in life is finding someone to listen to you. It involves mostly effort and failure. After a while, few people get it right. Few actually achieve what they have sought for ages. Some people set their sights low so as to reduce their chances of failure, thus degrading themselves and degenerating them into failures by choice. So what's the solution? What can end this?

Quitting.

After a while, the heart becomes calloused. We fail. We try again. We fail. We try again. And after a certain amount of time, one of three things happens: 1) something changes and things get awesome beyond our wildest dreams, 2) we change what we're seeking after, or 3) we quit seeking, period.

The stages are simple. Let's say [hypothetically] that we change what we're seeking after (pathway 2). First of all, we must change the way we perceive what we used to seek to a view that sees such a thing as unhealthy and to be kept at a safe distance. This assures the subject that he will not be infected by the pathogen that what he once sought carries while retaining the ability to still involve himself without necessity to become attached if he so desires. There's one problem: if this path is chosen, his true desire is forsaken. What he really wants is pushed aside for something not necessarily less in value in reality, but rather something he doesn't necessarily care for with the same fervent desire as what he has removed from himself.

But what if that doesn't work out? What happens then? well the same things happen. The tendency of the natural [as well as the mental and spiritual] world is to pick something and hold to it. and everything runs in cycles. Therefore: Drop one bad situation for one even worse than the previous. Oh yes, isn't it lovely how we do things! How faithful we are to our own delusions! That the enemy of our enemy is our friend, that this is truly a rule! How wrong we are, that if you have one common enemy it prohibits the alliance from shattering! We are dead wrong. Just because our new destination takes us away from our old does not mean that our new destination is true and good. And who knows! the whole chain of events might not even be because one destination was bad but you just weren't allowed to go there.

And then, what happens if we believe we are out of options? Pathway number 3 is chosen. We quit seeking anything altogether. This is what happens when we put all our eggs in one of the many many many many baskets with holes in them. And then all the eggs fall out of the basket. If you believe you're out of baskets, or you don't want to use a particular kind of basket for whatever reason, or if all of the baskets have holes in them that are gonna let the eggs fall out, you just stop because, after all, the eggs are gonna fall, crack and be wasted. You believe that by this time what matters to you doesn't matter to anyone else. Somehow, your opinion is invalid and you are destined to be without. This is your fate. This is how it is and will always be. You cannot open up because you will be exposed. People will see you for everything you are. And when they see that, they have you. They have the choice to do whatever they want to do to you for the sake of your identity. You may be broken. Your life may be ugly. You may have been hurt. You may have made stupid choices. You may have hurt someone forever. For WHATEVER REASON, you are ashamed of yourself. You see yourself as the sum of the choices that you've made. But what you don't see is that you are also more than that. Just like the song "You Are More" by Tenth Avenue North, which says, "You are more than the choices that you've made, you are more than the sum of your past mistakes, you are more than the problems you create, you've been remade," you have to realize one day that there are other people in this world, no matter how distant, affecting you, like millions of stars millions of miles away casting their tiny lights on your face and barely lighting your way, but just enough. Just enough to see that there is a world you're living in where people aren't so fortunate as to see the stars, locked in their caves, scared of the demons that have chased them in. Just like they once did you and me. It's the fear of losing our lives that makes us run from them. It's the fear that they are the only ones out there that makes us damage others. The fear that they will come back. The fear that we are helpless to stop them.

But we are not helpless. We are weak. But we have defenses. We have weapons, and we have wisdom. We have dreams. We have been woken up into a world of agony. But eventually, we must rest. We must find a refuge. We must find a place we can trust. We must find peace. We must have a part of us that will still dream. Sure we can try to do this alone. No one needs to help us, right? drown in your own despair and it'll go away, right? no. You will just die in it, and your living nightmare will come true. The demons will feast on your dead body. They are ravening wolves that have turned some of us into effigies of them, unwittingly doing their bidding. Every time a heart breaks, every time a cigarette is lit up, every time an addiction is fed, every time the decency of sexuality is challenged by pornography and immature children, every time someone lies and keeps the painful and life saving truth in the dark, every time ANYTHING happens that ends up SCREWING OVER someone's life in such a way that they want to live a little less, those ravening wolves.... THEY WIN.

Sure, I could go on ranting about sin and putting people down, but everyone does it and will continue to do it whether they like it or not [including me] so I will not be responsible for rubbing anyone's face in the dirt. But check this out. Jesus Christ was here about two-thousand years ago. In His ministry, He made miracles, He challenged thinking. Really, He is a master of irony. God Himself in a destroyable body, forsaking His own self to save us. Us? Yes. Us. We've all messed up, and we've all been messed up. There's a world in a lot of pain that obviously doesn't wanna take the simple way out and give up and die, though millions do on a day to day basis, some succeeding in their attempts to punish or kill themselves, some failing. The so-called "Trinity" is an example not to be taken as polytheism. It is a formula of God Himself surrendering and submitting to His will. Being the only way to secure us, because He is the only one who has all power in Heaven and Earth. Even the power to mend hearts.

We sometimes are bitter and ask "Why?" when this go wrong or things don't go our way. After all, we didn't have a say in the matter, right? but what about what we do have control over? what about the fact that we have the choice to react whatever way we want given the circumstances of our lives? We know good and evil exist because things are given and taken away, and voids are filled and empty. Why don't we do something about what we want? Why don't we fix the world ourselves? Why don't we look back and see that Jesus died for EVERYONE? If He gave up His life on earth for our lives in Heaven, why can't we give up OUR lives for the rest of the world? Japan is suffering. The middle east is suffering. Israel is suffering. America is living it up in debt and if we don't do something soon, the economy, all our lives, and possibly our government will change. That means that our fate is in our hands. We were given our situations to do something about them and realize that Jesus can be strength when we are weak. He chose to be destined like us, and by His choosing destiny, we have free will to govern what little we have control over.

Shut off from the rest of the world, we really are hopeless, and there really will not be any good turn out for us. We will have chosen pain and loneliness, as if we wanted it. We brainwash ourselves to believe we do so that we don't have to chase what seems to be unreal and unattainable. If we never try, we think we never fail, but we fail by default because we do not get what we wanted. Then we slowly shut ourselves out more and more until we die.

Open up. Please. There is a whole world of people waiting to embrace you. You don't have to be alone. And no one wants to see you fall. You are loved. There are other hurting people who will probably hurt you along the way, because they are standing between you and those of us who love you. You can make it. Don't give up. Find us. We're already looking for you. That's pathway 1. It works out. I'm still alive. And so are you. Stay that way. Find us.

Sincerely, with love, in Jesus' name.