We tend to find security in what is tangible.
Each of us has some ‘thing’ we consider to be of incredible value. It may be that thing you do for a paycheck or the things you have. A ‘thing’ can be what is socially acceptable or fashionable. ‘Things’ have many manifestations.
For some it is an elevated sense of prestige or status that has been bestowed upon by their peers. And our ‘Things’ get value rated of course, as in how we appraise property, collectables, and investments.
Again, every person will hold some ‘thing’ up as worthy of their all either because of the great importance they place on it, or what they believe it gives them by having it.
But there is a problem with our ‘things’ in that nothing we can possess, which is made or manufactured – will last. None of our wealth or social ranking goes beyond the moment because it’s never quite enough. The ‘thing’ to go on ocean cruise #24 because it is an even finer cruise ship is only a self-perceived gain. In all reality it is the same boat ride albeit with more elitist trimmings added on. Think of it this way: The attending staff see every cruise as just another day at work.
Our ‘things’ play with our minds. A new Tesla is very nice but it’s not going to bring real happiness because it is just a machine made by machines. It will have the same ownership costs of insurance and maintenance as any other vehicle – and will break down just like every vehicle ever built. Designer nameplates and brands do not have real value, only a well marketed resemblance of worth. We are fed illusions that get into and fill our heads with nothing – aside from a temporal, knee-jerk impulse to get that ‘thing’ too.
A career that requires years to attain a position of high regard is looked upon as the one true path we should adhere to. I will assume that for most people, the position will not care for the world, nor will it nurture a soul in agony. The career and the years vested in it are erased the moment of a corporate buy-out, or as layoff notices are handed out. It vanishes – along with the hours dutifully clocked for the firm. Yet as a society we laud the devoted, upward career path as our model for success. It has some reward for sure, but rings hollow within for most because we are not our job title.
We are so much more
than that ‘thing’ we do.
* This thought process is being penciled out only because of what I was given in a series of dream sequences last night :
LORD God, You gave me a complex set of dreams last night where I encountered many people who had established a ‘thing + value + position = worth’ way of living.
In one dream I watched as a church elder went through the entire building to turn off and remove every drinking water fountain to stop what he felt was water/money wasted. He sought to thwart anyone who might run the fountain too long, especially unsupervised children! Even so, the church had many decades old 5 gallon per flush toilets, rows of urinals that would not shut off properly, and dripping faucets that were left in disrepair.
His ‘thing’ to exact a modicum of savings would only affect and do harm to those who were thirsty.
We come to the well; to the church – because we are thirsty!
This ‘thing’ he insisted on doing was used as a ‘device’…to deny people a basic need.
Then I was shown a man, a financial manager sitting at his desk. He was regarded by all who worked with him as gruff, staid, and not a person to approach. He was rather feared by his coworkers.
This very fellow called for me to “Come at once!”. I did so, and stood at the front of his old steel desk. He glanced up, not really making eye contact, and handed me a 45 RPM record.
The sleeve was plain brown Kraft paper and inside was his personal, custom recording. He ordered me to put his only copy out there in the record bins for people to see. Even if it never sold, he wanted it there. It was all he had. This man with whom no one connected or would draw near to, had a ‘thing’ of great value to him – and to him alone.
No one else would care about it, in fact it would languish forever in the record bin – unnoticed by all.
His ‘thing’ was to establish personal respect by distancing himself from others. Everything he was to himself was of no use to anyone else because he did not connect. Instead, he chose fear and intimidation to be his calling cards. This financial manager will find that the equal of his sum is zero.
In the next sequence I was with various people I have known. Each of them carries a burden that I can see. The burdens are things they place incredible value in – vehicles, titles, belongings, status, every kind of gear, investments, and more. The burdens are piled high up on their backs. They are unseen but I SEE them. The weight is cumbersome, and yet each one feels a duty to serve the ‘things’ they value.
I want to approach this one woman with the word of LIFE, but a barrier of all the things she serves keeps me at a distance. To reach her I must make a deal that she will perceive as an equal trade.
She has physical pain, material clutter, broken dreams, sorrow, worry, property, investments, career, loss, debts, vehicles, status and also about a 12-foot square of burden that I can see between her and I.
The burden looks like solid smoke.
It is not real, but she makes it real.
She wants the same thing in exchange. I have LIFE, and the only way to get her to even consider the exchange is to explain that LIFE is worth more than all she has ever had. Oh, how she valued her burden! She felt that LIFE was nice but look at all the ‘things’ she had!
She could not let go of what was destroying her to accept what Christ offers, which is LIFE.
The final sequence found me stopping at a McDonald’s to use the restroom. As I walked past the counter, I heard employees and regular customers complaining that the nice, tidy, and very considerate manager is always in the back -using the wrong restroom! It was making them angry, uneasy and resentful. Even so, they dared not question her; she was the boss.
I slipped into a back corridor toward the restroom, supplies, and janitorial doors. Suddenly I had a full understanding of what was going on, and it had nothing to do with the verbal debate.
As the manager, she can write a schedule, help with all kitchen needs, and is respected by everyone.
But she cannot hide who she is inside.
When customers come in, her OCD drives her to over-care for them. Her ‘thing’ is to appear as at the top of her game, and it is all consuming. She cannot stop, so she goes at breakneck speed in every direction to please everyone – yet never allowing herself – to look inward. And then that she is continually heading to the restroom – the wrong restroom, is what I see that tells all.
She uses the urinal because she is a man. She wants so much to be what she is not, that it is spinning her out of control. She has made a story of success and acclaim, her values set up on being something that she is not. Because she wants no one to know, every ‘thing’ is a distraction to keep the illusion in place instead of being ‘self’.
Is that all there is to life? Or are we worth loving as we are –
without any ‘thing’?
Our modern ethos presses us to go big, to grab the gold ring and really ‘make it’. But if it causes us to lose who we are just to resemble the life that ‘everyone’ appears to be living, it is not well and good.
Is it worth exchanging your spirit for more and better ‘things’? If our ‘thing’ is to wear a mask that hides our true self, what happens when the mask slips? And if the ‘thing’ brings a feeling of superiority above other people, how does that line up with ‘all are created equal’? Hmm.
These dream sequences explain how exhausting it is to hold tight our illusions…our ‘things’.
You know that if the Bible says anything about the subject, I am always going to refer to it. Christ loves us, and desires to free us from the ‘things’ that cause us to stumble. Amen.
1 Timothy 6:9-10