A New Kind of Life

I want to spend a month in the wilderness, with nothing but healthy food to eat, natural spring water from the mountain to drink, my soul, and the person who made all the universes. I have spent 25 – by the time May rolls around, 26 – years of my life mostly existing and letting life happen to me, being blown wherever the wind of the world wishes to carry me. I will not spend the next 50 years, God-willing, like this. I want a disciplined life – physically, mentally, spiritually – so that I am a receptacle that God can use to do in me what He wishes to do in me. I didn’t create myself, so I have no right to live as I please. This is not something I have any control over – I cannot choose to end my life and bring myself into existence again so that I’ll be held accountable to nobody but myself. This fact will remain forever – I have been created by somebody else; I am not my own.

In the past I have tried to totally re-orient my life in a good direction, even in the God-direction, and I’ve failed, usually within the first week. I don’t pretend to believe that if I spent a month in seclusion everything will be completely different. We are essentially the same people throughout life. The person I was when I was 10 is not much different than the person I was when I was 18, which is very similar to the person I am today. Sure I’ve grown. I’ve learned. I’ve been through life experiences that have made me who I am today. But an introverted person doesn’t usually turn extroverted just because he admires extroverts. A lazy person doesn’t become a super-disciplined man because he realizes he needs to accomplish more. Some people don’t struggle with laziness. Give one woman 24 free hours and she’ll sit on a couch, watch TV, surf the internet, talk to her friends on the phone, and read a novel. Give another woman 24 free hours and she’ll start her own business. Everybody is different. I can’t believe that I’m going to be a different man because of one month in solitude and a change in geographic location.

When I moved to China for a year I didn’t think my struggles could follow me up 30,000 feet at 600 mph, over a vast ocean, through numerous time zones, across several continents, and through my new locked apartment door. But they did. China didn’t change fundamentally who I was. I learned some things. I met some new people. But I was still Victor. Same Victor.

Hopefully the difference this time will be that I am Victor under a different authority. For most of my life I’ve been God to myself. I didn’t make myself but I acted as if I did. I didn’t know what was best for me but my actions proved that I believed otherwise.

In God’s dealings with certain humans in history, when their father died God gave them a new name. In the Hebrew language and culture, a name was not just a name, but it had to do with actually who a person was. When Avram’s father died and he moved to a new land, God re-named him according to his plans for him. He was no longer Avram but Abraham, because his destiny was to be the father of billions of others. In the Scriptures, whoever named a person or animal had authority over them.

I don’t plan on having a new name (although anything is possible with Him) but I do hope to have some sort of idea about my destiny. I don’t think this is always a cut-and-dry thing that God reveals to each of us once-and-for-all at a certain point in our lives (though he has done that with a few people), but I also would be foolish to continue letting the wind of the world blow me where it wishes, molding into a person I was not intended to be, slowly raping me of an existence that is exploding with the kind of life that God has in himself.

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2 comments

  1. This is a really good post. I can resonate with a lot of it. I’ve tried and failed at numerous attempts to change and be changed. The idea of isolation really appeals to me as well. Something about having a time of minimal things, a heavy spirit, and a lot of seclusion sounds like a great cure for my heavy spirit.

  2. There is something to the whole idea of sabbath, isn’t there? …and yet we have such a tendency to fear what we may “miss.” And so we miss the very thing that was meant to refresh us, renew us, and bring us life.

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