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A popular saying among young people today is, “I’m busy doing life” or “I need to start doing life.” I’m a mom, a grandma, I’ve been around the block a few times, so whenever I hear those words, I have the sudden urge to say, Oh you poor kid! Life is so going to do you. Haven’t you figured that out yet?

Needless to say, such words are not very encouraging, so about half the time I manage to bite them back, leave them unsaid. I don’t want to burst any bubbles and wind up looking like Yoda. Life is so going to do you, in the stick a fork in her, she’s come undone, total road pizza, flattened, floored kind of way.

You’re going to need a putty knife to scrape yourself up off the floor. It’s okay, this is totally normal. You will be deflated, defeated, and knocked down, at best. And that’s the good news! At least when you’re flopping around on the kitchen floor like a fish gasping for breath, you’re still gasping.

As you can imagine, nobody ever asks me to be a motivational speaker.

The second part of that is, you know how when you load all the recycling into the trunk of the car and it stays there for like, two months? Don’t beat yourself up over that. Don’t feel guilty. That’s just called pragmatic morality. I think there are people alive today simply because I suddenly remembered the trunk was full of recycling so there was no room for their bodies.

I’m not picking on young people, there are some older people who still think they’re the ones doing life, too. Big, big difference however, one I’ve seen change over my lifetime. The past few generations seemed to have a rudimentary understanding that they might need God at some point. Their reliance on the Lord might be vague and far away, but it was still there. Somebody dies the first thought is, is there a church for the funeral? Where is God in all this? Help! There are needs here, spiritual needs…..

A whole lot of young people don’t even have that much and it just breaks my heart. I live in a really secular area so it is a bit like having a spotlight trained on the problem. It is a keen and poignant truth, there is a whole generation, a  couple of generations now, who don’t know, in that way that older people often just knew.

We’ve done this huge cultural disservice to so many of our young people. First we tell them you can be anything you want, do anything you want, have it all, and you can do it all without the Lord, without the church. That is simply, exceedingly unkind, cruel even. It’s a complete recipe for disaster.

In a way I almost feel better for those living in a some really challenging circumstances, people broken already, people bobbing, adrift, just trying to keep their head above the water. While I wouldn’t wish that on anyone, those are warriors in training. That’s boot camp. They’re going to get it. They’re going to learn how to fight.

It’s the one’s who think they can “do life” who worry me, the ones who look at you blankly when you mention the Lord or going to church, as if to say why? What does this even have to do with me? I see no need….

Oh, you poor, poor baby. You don’t know yet? Come right now, time is of the essence, arm yourself, practice loving on other people so when your own world comes crashing down around you, you will have that foundation, that relationship with the Lord, those roots to entwine your fingers around and hang onto when life suddenly decides to  do you.

Somebody smart once said you should go to church because life with the Lord can get weird. You’re going to need to know you’re not weird. Kind of like, oh, I’m not crazy. You should listen to me, I am insanitybytes for a reason. I earned that name the hard way.

My kids, my family, some people, those people, are often uncomfortable, embarrassed perhaps by the social faux pas of speaking about faith, of inviting people to church, of insisting Jesus must be central to all areas of our life. “Don’t force your religion on people,” is a big saying in this neck of the woods and it kind of makes me a laugh. How could I ever manage to “force” anything? Like am I going to give someone a giant wedgie and drag them to church?

It’s just an invitation, a life line thrown, an act of love. A resource. A gift. Like, don’t forget your coat. Lock your car. Eat your veggies. Try to remember, the Lord is there for you. He cares for you. “He will never leave you nor forsake you.” Tough, tough message in a  world that has worked so hard to convince people that they can just “do life,” single-handedly, like Kill Bill even, just drop kicking half a dozen grown ninja guys.

I don’t want to curb any enthusiasm here, nor burst any bubbles. You can still  be a ninja or a secret agent or a minion. You can be a conqueror, a dragon slayer, a overcomer, but you are still going to need back up. Strength. Resources. Life energy. Hook up with the one who invites you to be seated in victory right beside Him, the one who gave His very life to know you.

If I could just wave a magic wand, I’d make it so everyone could understand that the secret longing of your heart is not to be found in tequila or boyfriends or girlfriends or money or fame or fancy cars. The power you crave, the knowledge you crave, the fulfillment you crave, is hardwired right into you, and a bit like children know their parent’s voice, we know our heavenly Father’s call too. The chaos and noise of the world sometimes tries to drown that out, but He is right there waiting for us.

You can “do life.” It’s just a whole lot easier, a whole lot more fun to do “life and life abundant” with the Lord right beside you.

 

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