My friend Roby Duke (now with Jesus) once said this to a group of song writers: “Your inspiration is perfect, but your songwriting needs work”.
We can be wonderfully inspired to express ourselves, but not quite have the ability, time, or energy to rightly say what we are trying to say. Perhaps the inspiration is fighting against good common sense that would tell us to slow down and think it through. Now is such a moment for me. The inspiration is perfect. I am rushing ahead. I hope this comes out O.K.
QUESTION: “It is easy to live vicariously through others, but is that really living?”
Let’s start with one of many definitions for the word “vicarious”.
“Felt or enjoyed through imagined participation in the experience of others”: a vicarious thrill.
There is a place for such experience in moderation, but our world is making it increasingly easy for people to feel emotions that don’t have any corresponding personal experience.
We can dial up, Google, Net Flix, read, browse, or Pay Per View our way to any emotion we want, without ever having to actually “do” something that requires dedication, effort, commitment, or faith.
If there was ever a generation that could become addicted to “feeling without doing”, that generation is now.
One might ask what the danger or problem is with living vicariously through the great accomplishments of others. Some of that might be O.K., in that it might inspire us to aspire to do great things. Plus, it certainly feels good to feel good. So what’s the problem?
The problem is this: That kind of living, if it becomes the habitual lifestyle of a person, does nothing to produce in them the quality traits needed to actually enjoy those emotions from first hand accomplishment.
I understand that some of the things that “thrill” us are only for a few to actually experience. We can’t all go out and win gold medals, climb Mt. Everest, or do world tours singing about changing the world.
But I wonder, if vicarious living comes to satisfy us to the point that we don’t pursue what we COULD BE DOING, then has it gone too far? I say “yes”: then it has gone to far.
So….what is it that you are actually supposed to be doing?
I submit to you that actually desiring, struggling, sacrificing, and dedicating one’s self on a personal level is far more important than taking the vicarious route of simply feeling the goose bumps from someone else’s accomplishment. The satisfaction that comes from personal accomplishment is much more valuable than enjoying someone else’s “bigger than life” accomplishment.
Finally, if you are a follower of Jesus, then He wants to live through you. Your part is to surrender, seek His will, believe His promises, walk in holiness by His power, and take small and big steps of faith in responding to what He wants to do through you.
That process has been the most satisfying part of my life, whenever I have actually gotten out of the way long enough for it to happen. The small victories of having my life so bound up in His life have been the most satisfying experiences of my life. My experiences may not compare to some of the great accomplishments of others, but they don’t need to. They are my experiences with God, and I can have first hand satisfaction from them.
Rich Mullins said it well: “Jesus, write me into Your story…whisper it to me.”
Filed under: Decision Making
, Dying To Self
, Fellowship With God
, God's Will
, Good Intentions
, Spirit Filled Life
When the Israelites crossed the Jordan River into the Promised Land, God dried up the Jordan for them, and they crossed over on dry land.
God then told them to set up Memorial Stones in Gilgal, so that when their children asked about those stones, they would tell their story of God’s faithfulness to them.
I want to share some of my story regarding my experiences in Mexico. Some of you have heard this a few times. If that is the case, skip forward to the latest photo album, courtesy of Pastor Sam Scotti, of Genesis in Upland. Sam has posted images of our latest Leadership Conference. Thanks Sam.
The images are under the “Vizcaino Conference 2008” folder and if you double click on the photos they will enlarge.
I was on staff at Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa from 1989-1991. During that time, I was singing in a band called The Mirrors. The Iron Curtain fell, and Eastern Europe opened up to the West. We traveled with Brian Broderson (then pastor of CC Vista, CA) to Yugoslavia and Hungary, and sang and shared about Jesus. Lots of young people got saved, and churches were birthed. Read more »
I officated a memorial service tonight (Wednesday). Sharon was 78 years old, and came to faith later in life. She was a quiet lady, but her faith was genuine. It was a blessing to be able to speak confidently about the fact that she is with Jesus.
“Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints”. Psalm 116:15
I had a really bad scare Tuesday morning. I was in a hurry to get somewhere, and I needed to grab a bite to eat as I got prepared to leave the house, and …I choked on some food. I have Spring time asthma, so my windpipe was already constricted. It doesn’t take much food to clog a constricted windpipe. It was dumb to eat while hurrying to get ready to leave.
It was a bad choke. (as if there are any good ones) It was very bad. After a few minutes of barely being able to breathe, I was thinking, as my face was turning deeper shades of red…well…you know…I was thinking…”this isn’t a very noble way to enter into Heaven.” I don’t know how close I came to…you know…but it kinda ruined my day. I finally rescued myself. Actually, I think my guardian angel karate chopped me on the back. MMA to the rescue.
God almost had another Psalm 116:15 moment. Read more »
We all want progress.
But progress means getting nearer to the place you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.
We have all seen this when doing arithmetic. When I have started a sum the wrong way, the sooner I admit this and go back and start over again, the faster I shall get on. There is nothing progressive about being pigheaded and refusing to admit a mistake.
And I think that if you look at the present state of the world, it is pretty plain that humanity has been making some big mistake. We are on the wrong road. And if that is so, we must go back. Going back is the quickest way on.
C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, 1943 Read more »