Someone I admire was speaking of martyrdom, of a willingness to die for our beliefs, and asked, “how many of us are willing to give up our heads?”
All in good humor here, but must we always be so harsh?? So dramatic, so violent? I am quite serious, so often we like to present a rather glamourous and romanticized version of our own imagined heroism. I don’t wish to shame that, heroes are really important, and martyrdom while extremely heartbreaking, can also be quite beautiful. So no disrespect intended.
But I so want us to just back up, to ponder the idea of “giving up our heads” in a more metaphorical sense. How many of us are willing to “give up our heads,” in the sense of letting go of ourselves and allowing the mind of Christ to come in?
Look up, look around, look out at others, rather then simply living in our own heads?
I’m afraid in that context the answer to my friend’s question, “how many of you are willing to give up your heads,” is very slim indeed. Not many. We really struggle there.
I talk to a lot of hurting people and one of the hardest things to try to communicate to them is that a huge part of our suffering is related to living in our own head. I mean, it is dark and scary up there and you are so very alone! Or perhaps you are not alone at all, perhaps you have allowed others to live there rent free, others who are just couch surfing and really contribute nothing of value to your well being?
Regardless, it’s a hard point to communicate. There’s not much glamor involved, it doesn’t sell well, and it’s just not the kind of “dying to self” that people quite have in mind. Also, it can trigger guilt about selfishness, about being self absorbed. That’s not it at all, living in your head is not selfish at all, it is actually more like self abuse. Like, you need to come out of your head and let the Lord love you fully, so that you can then love others from that overflow.
It’s a strange paradox, but we simply cannot get into ourselves, until we are ready to come out of ourselves. To die is gain? Less of me, more of Him? I hope this makes some sense.
I definitely am one of those people who live in my head too much, or perhaps just more than I should. I think many writers are called to do just that, and many introverts too. There is just a lot going on in our inner worlds that needs attending to. So by virtue of our personalities or our calling, we’re all varied and diverse. Ha! I mean some people probably really do need to look inside, because it is evident they have no self awareness at all! Whatever they got going on in there must be very scary indeed.
But for the rest of us, I think living in our heads too much can become a real affliction. So “off with your head,” in the gentlest way, simply because we get to exchange all that anxiety and angst, for some peace, some joy, some rest.
There are lots of different ways to go about it, praise and worship is one of my favorites, taking a walk, getting out in nature, taking the time to listen to and serve other people. Exercise, “taking our thoughts into captivity,” whatever works for you.
I was pondering this whole notion in the context of “self care.” Self care is wonderful thing, I mean the Lord made a tremendous investment in us, so value and protect His investment and do everything you can to be kind to yourself. But sometimes the culture speaks about “self care” in way that simply promotes the idea of much more “self” and much more fleeing into our own heads.
One of my favorite acts of self care is actually surrender, letting go and trusting that the Lord will take care of me. He always has, faithfully, He always provides just what I need. But that can be another paradox, somewhat counterintuitive. Self care in the context of just letting go of your “cares” and letting go of your “self.” That is what “self care” is really all about.