Life has a way of moving us into what is famously known as a rut. We get stuck in a monotonous hamster wheel that is always moving, yet never going forward.
Most of us would say we want the kind of life that is filled with passion, novelty, faith, vibrancy, anticipation and depth. Does that describe your life? I wish it described mine. The truth is that these characteristics describe an undomesticated existence, one that requires constant risk and an ability to survive in the wild.
The wild is where God is walking.
The front yard is where most of us are staying.
One of the annoying things about living in the wild is that we have no idea what is going to happen next. The word “annoying” doesn’t really describe the feeling … it’s more like exhausting. Sure it’s exciting at first. But after a while it gets really hard trying to plan a life where plans are not part of the plan. The problem is that humanity has a deep need to create some sense of stability in this chaotic universe we have been thrown in to, yet, at the same time, we have an even deeper need to surrender control to the God who threw us here.
We are at war within ourselves between control and surrender, captivity and the wild.
Our souls long to run free while our skin wants to retain order.
Blending the two desires seems counterproductive. But this is what we end up doing most of the time. And sooner or later, one of these desires will refuse to blend into the other and will take its rightful place as king in our hearts. Security and surrender war inside of us, and more often security wins.
It looks different for different people. For some, security is the status of wealth or career success. For others, it is the comfort that comes from a predictable relationship, even if it is a toxic one. For some of us, it is the affirmation from that person we’ve always been needing validation from, like a parent or spouse or boss. For others, it is the three-bedroom house with the white picket fence and the perfect dog that never rejects us and always makes us feel less alone. If it’s security in this world we are looking for, we will never find it fully, but we can come awfully close. And it is in that closeness that we lose sight of the freedom that comes with surrender.
Security seems almost within our reach, and we feel most stable when we can literally go through our days without thinking, completely on autopilot. Yes, that’s when we’ve hit the jackpot of feeling like we are in control. And yes, that’s exactly the point in which we begin to feel the true misery that comes along with this leash of our own making. We literally sew the leash thread by thread with each methodical decision we make in order to maintain order. It feels so good while we are knitting it together that we don’t even see it coming—the absolute domestication of our inner beings.
We were born for the jungle.
We live to build our own cages.
Something has gone terribly wrong when our leashes become our comfort rather than our horror.
Think back to the last time you took an actual risk; when you took a step into the unknown on purpose, when you didn’t know what would happen next and you felt the blood rush through your body because you felt the urgency of your existence, when you actually realized that you need God to survive, when you prayed for faith because that’s all you had. That was the last time you felt alive. So keep living and snip the beautifully tight leash you’ve spent so much time creating. Then you will breathe the breath of freedom … the freedom that only lives in the wild.