Thursday, November 15, 2012


We all have our reasons.

We say that to mean there must be some good explanation for why we are the way we are, why we choose the things we choose, why we do the things we do.

The reason you choose really depends on what you're trying to prove.  And these reasons typically fall into one of two categories (excluding, of course, things that simply "must" be done).  They are either a chip on our shoulder or a burden on our heart.

We've all had chips on our shoulders.  These chips come from wounded places; they are memories of times when for whatever reason, we didn't measure up.  We weren't good enough.  We didn't try hard enough.  We didn't do well enough.  We fell short.  Or sometimes, we just fell.

When we stand up again, we have all of this energy behind doing better.  That chip rests heavy on us, and we're embarrassed.  We're disappointed.  We're disgraced.  And we're dead-set on doing better.  Whatever it is that we weren't, oh, we will be.  Come Hell or high water, we will absolutely never be not that again.

It's pure motivation, but an impure motive.  It might spur us to success, but to what end?  What is there to gain if for one moment, you weren't and now, you find that you are?  As is so often the case, by the time we get there, the world's long since forgotten and moved on and the only thing we've proven is ourself.  And the only one we've proven it to is...ourself.  So pat on the back, but where do you go from here?  There is no glory but what you see reflected in the mirror.  And let's be honest, it's still not fantastically glorious.

But there is a greater motivator and a pure motive.  That is the burden on our heart.

Burden comes from created places.  It is a glimpse of the intention of our Maker, a taste of purpose.

It's that thing we have to do because it is so perfectly right to do so.  It is that thing we do for the sake of something greater than or beyond ourselves.  And yet, it is that thing that is purely fitting with who we are.  It is that thing that we cannot quite explain and may sometimes struggle to justify, but above all else, it is irrefutably right.

Sometimes, sure, burden comes from woundedness, but it's never out to redeem itself.  It serves not in the name of satisfaction but in pursuit of sanctification.  It is seeing in the world something you see - either met or unmet - in yourself and recognizing that opportunity as a chance.  Just a chance, for a moment, to choose something better.

It is forgiving - whether you've been forgiven or yearn to be - because you see the burden of unforgiveness around you, and that weighs heavy on your heart.  It is befriending - whether you have your own circle or you agonize over loneliness - because you see the burden of abandon around you, and that is a weight too great to bear.  It is loving - whether you know the deepest love or ache from rejection - because you see the burden of an unloving world, and that just won't do.

In the name of burden, you never end up proving yourself.  But that's ok, because you never feel like you have to.  You end up proving greater things - like forgiveness, love, mercy, grace.  God.  And you're proving it beyond the mirror and into the world so that everyone sees what Love is.  

And there is glory.

We all have our reasons.  The question is: what are you trying to prove?

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