So I wrote about giving up on my toxic dream recently. My dream, subtly put, was to be a successfully published writer. That was my toxic dream. People actually unfollowed me on Twitter directly following that post. And I realized that there was some serious pushback on it because of what I consider to be a cultural malady that we are currently in the midst of.
Let me state it as such:
All of my choices are good and right because I made them.
I would call this malady a side effect of the idol of free will. This post isn’t about whether humans possess true free will or not. That’s a much longer discussion and, in case you were wondering, I believe human beings do have a form of free will. However, I believe America holds an unrealistic view of free will and self-determination that is, in a word, idolatrous.
Let me expand on that for a second.
When I was pastoring, I can’t tell you how many people I spoke with who would defend, almost to the death, theirs and others choices, because those choices were freely made. No one had imposed some sort of control or manipulation to lead to those choices. And because of that, the choice must be validated and affirmed. You might be thinking I have some great socio-political message I’m about to make. I assure you, no. These choices ranged from adultery to diet. And no, I am not making up or embellishing either of those. It really didn’t matter what the choice was, it was simply that another could not tell you there was ever any moral judgment about your choices because you had made the choice yourself without coercion.
And where this particular train goes off the tracks is when someone like myself makes a choice of sacrifice or self-denial or holiness. Because when my choice directly contradicts the choice of another, for some reason, we see that as an affront to our own choice.
I hate bananas. I really, genuinely hate them. I eat them every day. Why? Because it’s part of my dietary discipline. But let’s say you love bananas but never get to eat them for some reason. My choice to hate and still eat bananas doesn’t invalidate or judge your choice to love and not eat them.
And yet, that’s the sort of place we find our world at the moment. So all choices are equally right, equally moral, and equally valid because a person made them without being forced. But that logic falls apart almost immediately. It leads to anarchy and horrible, truly terrifying consequences. But when we strip away any objective sense of truth, any objective standard by which to judge choices… well let’s just say that doesn’t stick. There is no such thing as a moral vacuum. You will define some standard for the moral quality of choices, from somewhere, even if it’s not the bible.
I chose to lay down something good because it was getting between me and God. It was becoming a little tin god that promised me the moon and stars and only delivered bitterness and fear. And in mercy, God showed me how to let it go. How to walk away from it without a desire to to pick it back up, maybe ever. (The dream of being published, not of actually writing.) But my choice to do that isn’t a judgment on people who can be published without it being a substitute savior. My choice to follow Jesus, to make Him my dream, doesn’t somehow condemn others. And yet? People got a bit freaked out by it.
So why am I writing all this? Because this blog is no longer just about my writing. This blog is now more about my journey, about my path. And it will be good to feel the space to breath and be and let my soul follow its true love. I expect people to continue unfollowing me and to stop interacting with me. I anticipate it, even. Why? Because that’s just the way of the world. My next post, I think, will be more about the ideas of being for one’s self rather than being against anyone else. And that should definitely lose some audience for me.
Buckle up buttercup…