Greg opens our new Worth The Risk series with a discussion of commitment, the constant desire to find something better, and argues that you can only know the Truth about anything by passionately committing to it.
In our society, we more than ever are surrounded by choices. We have so many options that we have a perception that there is always a better option out there. So if things do not meet our expectations in one job, marriage, city, etc, we tend to flit from thing to thing as though we’re channel surfing, looking for something better. But this tendency hinders our growth in life, and our walk with God. Instead, Greg argues that we can only reach our highest potential by fully committing to things and ultimately to God.
He makes this point by drawing from the writings of one of his favorite Christian philosophers Søren Kierkegaard. He writes: “Truth is subjectivity.” By this, Kierkegaard means that you can only discover the deeper truth in a thing by committing to it fully so that it becomes part of your subjective reality.
The problem is that we can’t know ahead of time that a commitment will for sure “work out for us.” We can research and learn about it ahead of time but these facts don’t guarantee the outcome. Because of this, any commitment requires risk. It’s a leap of faith. Kierkegaard addresses this risk: “To dare or to risk is to lose one’s footing for a moment. Not to dare is to lose ones self.” To not risk is to not commit, which is to not fully live.
Ultimately our fear of things “not working out” and our constant desire to find something better is fueled by our fear of death. We feel an intense pressure like the clock is ticking and we need to “live our best life now.” Kierkegaard wrote “Nothing is as heady as the wine of possibility.” This is an indication that we are getting our meaning and fullness from the world around us instead of from Christ. If you are getting your fullness and life from Christ, you have the inner comfort and security to take risks, and achieving perfection in your worldly life loses its significance. We are more likely to stick with jobs or marriages that may be imperfect, and say no to temptations to “trade up” because we know that it is not the source of our life. It reduces the pressure of getting happiness from that thing, because we are already full inside.
The whole Idea of self actualization is a lie. It creates a hunger in life. This principle is what is illustrated in Genesis 3. This story is the quintessential example of “possibility chasers” living in the center of their own universe. The serpent says to Eve “you can do better!” You should self-actualize, and reach your full potential, instead of trusting God for your fullness.
This does not mean that we have to stay permanently in every job, friendship, etc, it just means that the hunger for something better should not be the driving force. It should just be because God has called us to a change. But the desire to “trade up” is a damaging lie. God is the only one that can fill that vacuum inside of us. And we can only be filled by him when we fully commit to things, and to him. As Kierkegaard wrote: “Face the facts of being what you are, for that is what changes what you are.”
Greg suggests beginning the process of giving up our desire for worldly sources of life with a prayer like the following:
“Father forgive me for not trusting you for my fullness, for chasing after ‘stuff’ and seeking approval in the world. I hereby commit to make Christ the center my universe. I will pursue Christ as my source of significance and meaning and security. I crucify my old self that is always striving for more, and commit to become my truest, best and fullest Self in you, Lord, and only you.”
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