Are you okay with okay?

Life in the Postmodern Shift

April 21, 2021 | Opinion | Volume 25 Issue 9
Troy Watson | Columnist
(Photo by Max Duzij/Unsplash)

It’s been a while since you dared listen to the whispers of your innermost being, calling you to discover who you truly, fully are. That inner voice suggesting there is a power at work within you capable of doing far greater things than you could ever hope for or imagine.

But hope is a dangerous thing. It too often leads to disappointment and despair, and you’ve suffered enough. Better to accept the mediocrity of existence and relinquish the desire for more.

After all, you’re doing okay.

Yet this nagging question resurfaces without warning, in a moment of inspiration or unbridled curiosity. “What if there’s more?” A pang of desire to pursue something impractical, impossible even, leaps within you like John leapt in Elizabeth’s womb in the presence of the unborn Christ.

But you’ve been down that road before. It’s not worth it. Best to keep your head down and your nose to the grindstone. Maintain what you already have. Stay on your current path even though its destination feels far removed from the promised land Christ pointed you towards years ago.

Remember when your cup overflowed? When you danced because you couldn’t contain the music inside of you? When your laughter emptied your eyes of their tears? When you lost your “self” in the moment so completely that time no longer obeyed the laws of physics in the vast universe of your own soul?

Have you grown weary or afraid of the mystery of your own life? Have your assumptions about who you are, have been and will be, become a prison? A cage that is unlocked but a cage still?

Those spiritual “highs” belong to the less mature. You are okay with being okay now. A desire for more feels selfish, greedy, childish. As an adult you must put away childish things. There is work to be done. Pay the bills, save up for retirement to maintain this little kingdom you’ve built, consisting of a little slice of earth and some stuff to call your own. It’s silly to dream of more. To dream differently. As if spending the majority of your time and energy to maintain your “white-picket-fence” existence isn’t silly. As if you and your empire of dust won’t soon return to dust.

But as long as your hurried pace continues, and stillness, silence and spaciousness are kept at bay, you won’t question the point of all your busyness. This hurried pace of productivity and possessions is the way. Others with far more “wisdom” and “success” than you have followed this way for centuries. Who are you to question it?

Yet in those rare moments of presence, when time seems to stand still, echoes of eternity reveal a canyon of emptiness within. For a fleeting moment, as you observe a flickering bonfire, the falling rain or the wind whistling through trees, your eyes are opened to see the hollow facade you have mistaken for substance. Occasionally, the pain of searing loss breaks through the surface to reveal the rich soil of your inner being, longing to give birth to something new, something true, something more.

Oh, that troublesome inner child remembering you were meant for more. It’s best to drown out the meddlesome muse. Numb this momentary sensitivity to the expansive movement of the Spirit within. You are okay with being okay.

Sure, in the past you glimpsed the unspeakable beauty of God. You tasted divine abundance for a season. Who knows why such things don’t last?

Yet to embark on a pursuit of divine abundance now would be reckless. You’ve lost your appetite for the unknown. Only a fool would step into darkness at this stage of life and go against the grain, letting go of everything you know and have built for yourself. Who needs such risk at your age? You have so much already. You have so much to lose. Is that it? Is it fear of loss that steers your ship now?

Awake, sleeper! Arise. Dare to seek more and be the fool. There is no harm in bringing laughter to others, even if it’s directed at you. You are not called to be okay. You are called to burn with the fire of heaven and overflow with the wine of the Spirit. Of course, you don’t know the way. You cannot know the way, but you were never meant to travel alone. Let’s leap together.

Troy Watson woke up with this message and assumed it was for someone. Probably himself.

Read more Life in the Postmodern Shift columns:
Cave of emptiness
Speculating about berry-filled trees
Losing freedom? 
The joy connection
Judgment versus discernment

(Photo by Max Duzij/Unsplash)

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Troy, what a fantastic reflection. I am glad that you assumed this message was for someone, and that you let all of us who read the Canadian Mennonite consider it for ourselves. It certainly was an encouragement and inspiration for me. I am moved by all of your articles, but this one stood out to me as particularly inspired. Thanks.

Troy Watson, could you please tell us what it means to be "called to burn with the fire of heaven and overflow with the wine of the Spirit" within a scriptural context?

Hi Elaine.
Thanks for the question. I was taking poetic liberties with reference to the tongues of fire appearing over the heads of the disciples when they were baptized by the Spirit at Pentecost and the observation and comments of the crowd afterwards that the only explanation for the profound transformation of the disciples was "they have had too much wine."

Thank you for your response, Troy. I'm struggling to grasp what your message to us is in the last paragraph of this article.

As you say, the statement "You are called to burn with the fire of heaven and overflow with the wine of the Spirit," is in reference to the baptism of the Spirit at Pentecost. But immediately after that you write that "we don't know the way" and "cannot know the way". So that leaves me wondering... "the way" to what? And if we cannot know "the way", what are the consequences?

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