Give up already

Micah Bales reflects on wealth and work in this morning’s Fruit of the Vine: “We’re terrified that we’re not doing enough, having enough, being enough. We . . . [hide] from the reality of our limitations, our weaknesses, and even death; longing to be forever young, strong, and healthy.”

Last night I read a chapter from Grace for Shame: The Forgotten Gospel by John Forrester, and he writes about what I think fuels my work (if not yours). In a culture that values productivity, failing to produce creates shame, and “the shamed person fears separation or abandonment.”

I don’t want to be alone.

Micah agrees. We need each other in order to survive, and our fear that we aren’t enough keeps us from being able to love. “Jesus shows us a new reality altogether in which we don’t need to be fixated on our own survival anymore. We can experience freedom to love others.”

Where do we find this freedom?

First, we have to give up, Micah writes. “As we embrace . . . surrender, we discover that the heart of the gospel is love – a release from the fear that has gripped us. . . . Despite all of the darkness, uncertainty, and even suffering, the path of Jesus is marked by radiant joy and passionate love.”

The problem is that our fear forces us to strive, and our striving separates us from the very people whose love and acceptance we want to earn. So we are never enough.

We can’t win that race, Micah argues, so we might as well give up. After all, Jesus is already with us, and “we don’t have to be afraid anymore.” 

Eric Muhr