Break Free Again

When was the last time you did something for fun? I’m talking about doing something just for the sake of it. No agenda, no ulterior motive, no strings attached–but you are engaged simply for the pure joy of that activity?

I ask you this because I had to ask myself the same thing. Without my realizing it, life had gradually become a long list of things to do: movies to watch, books to read, projects to complete, people I had to see. Somewhere in my adulthood the joy and freedom I had had in living and simply “being” turned into obligation. I started reading books because they were books I was supposed to have read at my age. Basketball became a mechanism for bodily health and exercise instead of a channel for fun and entertainment. Bills. Appointments. Everything became a numbers game.

Society has a way of inundating us with ideas that we’re nothing apart from our paychecks and medals. It tells us that we are what we do. It’s unfortunate that so many of us have our identities wrapped up in our work. But it’s been said that we’re not human doings, but human beings. God created us to enjoy him and the things he has created. We have been given passions and talents that bridge us in an ever subtle way with our Maker. I think we need to return to that. Not to shirk responsibilities or to quit our jobs, but to remember that life is meant to be enjoyed. Or…what are we working for anyway?

Do something that refills you. Challenges you. Grows you. Do something that pours into you and not the other way around. To end, I’ll leave you with this quote from the Dalai Lama who was asked: “What thing about humanity surprises you the most?”

“Man…Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.” 

In the Zone

Have you ever lost yourself in a moment? A place or time or person in which that was your sole and driving focus? You didn’t think about how you smelled or looked or sounded, and you were just absorbed into that song or scene or play?

I have. It is a great feeling. Some people call it being in the zone.

I was talking to my good friend Josh about this (residuals from our previous conversation). He shared with me a quote from Vin Diesel (of all people), something which his character said in The Fast and the Furious. “I live my life a quarter mile at a time. Nothing else matters […] For those 10 seconds or less—I’m free.” He feels unrestrained and lost in the moment when he’s on the road. That’s kind of how I feel sometimes when I’m playing basketball. Or writing some inspired poetry or prose. Or when I’m engrossed in a great film.

Then it made sense to me how that applies to the idea of worship.

When you are truly worshiping, in that divine moment, you lose any hint of self and shed yourself from any worldly distraction–you become free. You wrap your mind and heart around something greater. In the ocean-like depths and grandeur of a gigantic God, your entire being just becomes so consumed with the Spirit that nothing else matters. Not your job. Not your health. Not your bills. It’s only God then. It’s only God…and it’s sublime.

It’s funny (in a twisted sort of way) how the gifts we were given by God to enjoy and worship Him end up being measuring sticks for ourselves. Our talents and passions by which we can give of ourselves to God somehow get bent to reflect our worth and value onto others. They become twisted by our pride and greed for glory. And it is never enough.

But when you stand before a huge canyon or stand atop lofty mountain splendor, you don’t think about yourself. You literally feel really small, and you are lost in the vast surrounding of God’s creation. It is at this point that you have decreased, so that the telescope of your heart is able to magnify the grandness of God.

Ironically, it’s moments like these when I feel the “biggest”–the most joyful and satisfied.

So whether you eat or drink or climb a mountain–whatever it is–lose yourself in it. Once you have lost yourself, you gain freedom. Once you have freedom, you are drawing closer to the heart of worship.