“But the Hebrew word, the word timshel—‘Thou mayest’— that gives a choice. It might be the most important word in the world. That says the way is open. That throws it right back on a man. For if ‘Thou mayest’—it is also true that ‘Thou mayest not.” ~ John Steinbeck, East of Eden
If you’re among the 16 percent who didn’t, count yourself as lucky – but recent statistics show 84 percent of Americans woke up this morning hating their job. That means sometime, most likely around 5 a.m., just over a billion Americans woke up and dreaded going to work. That’s billion – with a B.
Roughly, 100 million Americans attended a church service yesterday. Forty percent of the church-goers left feeling frustrated, ostracized, criticized, guilty and unloved. They were frustrated that much of their church activity is centered around carpet, curtains, choir robes, procedure and doctrine – and they left wondering – is this what the church is really all about?
And I get that. Up until a few months ago, I felt guilty, condemned and spiritually insulted by every church I’d ever attended.
Two months shy of the New Year, millions of Americans are already thinking about their list of upcoming resolutions. They’re frustrated with their busy-ness, lack of goals, or lack of goals achieved. They are shamed by inner-conscience guilt for their past failures and shortcomings. They’re mad about the analysis paralysis they experience because they just can’t trust their gut to take a leap of faith into the yet unrealized dream of launching a new business, losing 20 pounds or repairing a lost relationship.
Here’s a quote from a Facebook friend, just yesterday, that got me thinking about this:
“Once you decide to step out of the program, the programmers (i.e.-controllers) no longer have the prerogative to fit you into the scheme of their design… that’s when you realize that you’re free to live as the One inside of you desires. It really is for freedom that you’ve been set free. Be free to live and love.
“In [this] freedom Christ has made us free [and completely liberated us]; stand fast then, and do not be hampered and held ensnared and submit again to a yoke of slavery [which you have once put off.” – Galatians 5:1
And while we’re flirting around with the Bible, here’s another bit of truth that has me thinking about it further:
“For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”
Show me a single place in the Bible where God says he wishes guilt, condemnation or shame on you and I’ll send you my next paycheck.
And either this is truth or it’s not. A boss once called me half-joking, but serious still yet – “a religious wack-job.” I’m sure it had something to do with the WWJD bracelet I wear on my right hand. And for the record, I almost always wear it inside out because it’s not for public display. It’s just for me. His remark was actually funny – I’m about as anti-religion as you’ll ever find. My friends will tell you I RAIL against religion.
I choose to embrace the truth that God grants me the freedom to fail; that he’s not keeping account of my shortcomings; and that he won’t ask for my spiritual resume – EVER.
“Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be upon me, and that you would keep me from evil.”
In the seven days I’ve been praying that prayer, I’ve:
- Paid off three credit cards;
- Paid off a vehicle;
- Developed two new sources of income with two more strong potentials.
- Learned a new golf grip that has me sailing a 7-iron about 155 yards straight down the middle of the fairway with the faintest of beautiful draws (this is among the greatest of blessings);
- and started a checklist for a great new adventure that will begin on December 21. I’ll write much more extensively about that beginning a week from today.
That’s not braggadocio mish-mash. It’s God’s honest truth.
July 4, 1776. We celebrate it every year as our Independence Day.
I’ll tell you the day you were set free. It was more than 2,000 years ago when every smidgen of your guilt, shame and regret was nailed to a cross – forever, done deal, over.
Success is 99 percent failure.
Now. Don’t just go celebrate your freedom. Live it. ENJOY it.