Friday, February 6, 2015

Paying the Price

We're so calculated. We think we know how much everything is going to cost us, what it's going to take to keep our lives in order. But you can't keep your life in order when you're losing it. And you don't know how much you're losing until you stop counting the cost and start paying the price.

And you will pay the price.

It doesn't happen the way a normal transaction occurs. You don't step up to the register, ring up your costs, slide your card through the little machine and walk on your merry way. It's more day, you look in your wallet and wonder where all your money went. You can't remember spending it, but it's not there.

See, one day, you wake up and you suddenly realize how much your life has really cost you. You realize that the price you're paying is more than you ever computed because while you might have made accommodations for the relationships, for the resources, for the reasons, you have not adequately accounted for the human side of thing. You haven't figured on how much your life would hurt others. 

Or how much your life would hurt you.

When your life is a balancing act, when it's all about keeping the books accountable, you exact a toll on others and on yourself. You lessen what others think of themselves. You cheapen who they are. After awhile, you look at them and see clearly how small they have become. It's because they've only ever been a cost. They've only ever been a number. And every time they're number's been called, it loses a little bit more of its value until there's almost nothing left. You've convinced a man, in making him work for you, that he doesn't work for himself any more and he's believed it so long that he's lost a part of himself. He doesn't just get that back; it takes a lot of work, a lot of hope, a lot of prayer, and a lot of time.

The same is true, by the way, for God in our lives. Not that we make Him lose value, but we make Him lose value in our own eyes. We so often make God a cost, reduce Him to an equation, and slowly but surely, every time we look at Him, He seems a little lesser. And a little lesser. And a little lesser. Until you can look at God in your life and think He's nothing at all. You've lost the very real essence of who He is by systematically diminishing Him time after time after time. You don't just get that back; it takes a lot of work, a lot of hope, a lot of prayer, and a lot of time.

Then there's you. Yes, you. One day, you're going to wake up and realize how much all this cost accounting has really cost you. You're going to feel the emptiness in your spirit that ought to be filled with good things, but all it has is numbers. The story of your life, which was so meant to be written on pages, is recorded instead on ledgers. And these ledgers? They're missing a few lines. They're missing the lines that tell you what you're really worth - because you're worth more than your transactions could ever figure. They're missing the lines that tell you who you are - because you're more than an actuary. They're missing the lines that tell you how you fit in - because there's more to this world than you could ever situate around yourself. They're missing the lines that add depth to your existence, that add meaning and purpose and passion to what you're doing here. You can look at those books and add up those lines, and what you're going to find is a false measure of yourself. This false measure will haunt you. Trust me. It will sit inside of your emptiness and ache until you put in the work, you hold onto the hope, you cling to the prayer, and you put in the time to get yourself back. Until you do what it takes to make a real measure of yourself. 

And maybe none of this makes much sense to you right now. Maybe you're reading this and thinking you just can't agree right now. Your life, it makes sense. You know how much it's costing you. You've got all your math figured to the nth degree, and it's working for you. Is it? Is it, really? How do you know?

Because the truth is you can't really know how much your life is costing until it's time to pay the price. You can't know what you're missing when you only write the lines you need. You can't understand the shallowness of all your accounting until it's time for you to play your part and you look down at the script in your hand and realize it's all numbers. It's all math and no English. And then...and then what?

You've counted the cost, but you don't really know. You don't really know until you pay the price. And by then, it's too late. You've lost the real measure of yourself, and you don't just get that back. It takes a lot of work, a lot of hope, a lot of prayer...and a lot of time. 

Your time starts now.

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