One Thing I Know for Sure

November 22, 2013 — 3 Comments

we-are-all-addicted

by Mike Friesen

You all know my friend Mike by now, he’s a frequent guest contributor. I really love his post below, mostly because it does what all great writing does: it provides both an invitation and a confrontation. Enjoy! You can follow Mike on twitter here.

One thing I know for certain in life is that every human being is an addict. We’re all addicted to something: Drugs, Alcohol, Sex, Money, Power, Status, especially our own ways of thinking. Addiction is just a way of providing ourselves with a self-cure. We don’t know how to live with the pain and frustration of life and so we create ways to self-cure. We make an idol out of these things because we don’t know how to deal with the fact that life is painful, frustrating, ambivalent, and hard.

One thing I also know is that while we all try to protect ourselves from ourselves with a self-cure, we also protect ourselves from others. We hide ourselves from others because the shame is too messy and we don’t want other people to be offended by our mess. What things like shame and addiction and violence reveal are the ways in which we protect ourselves from others and them from us. The famous Philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre once said that, “Hell is other people.” I don’t think we really believe that. I think what we really believe is, Hell is our need and dependence upon other people.

The Apostle Paul, in Philippians, shares an interesting tidbit about Jesus when he says,

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;

 Rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

Paul uses an interesting word when he says he made himself nothing. In Greek, this is translated kenosis. Kenosis is a word that describes self-emptying. On the Cross, Jesus empties himself for the sake of humanity.

Story telling is an interesting thing because if we are self-protective and if we protect ourselves from others, then our stories will often negate the things that we ourselves don’t want to see and we shape it to how others want to hear. But when we tell our stories honestly, truly honestly, like when we sit before a therapist two things occur:

  1. The fragments of our stories our picked up when we have our, “A-HA” moments. When we tell ours stories, sometimes unconscious things become conscious and we finally see with clarity. Storytelling becomes a cure for our self-protection.
  2. Storytelling becomes the way in which we are known. All of our intimacy issues are being worked through when we honestly tell our stories. All of the things in which we are ashamed of, guilty of, and all of our addictions and violence are revealed.

The other interesting thing about story is that when we tell our stories, when we empty ourselves and give the gift of our stories to others, The Crucified Christ shows up. Because when we empty ourselves out, God shows up to pick up the fragments of ourselves and God shows up to the pick up the fragments of our relationships. Storytelling is one of God’s cures for the idols we make in our self-cures.

When we honestly tell our stories about our addictions and struggles and frustrations, God shows up to pick up the fragments of our lives and delivers us from all the self-destructive things we do to protect ourselves from ourselves. When we tell our stories The Crucified Christ is there to meet us and deliver us. When we tell our stories about the things that we have done and how they have made us hide from others, The Crucified Christ meets us there and brings us together.

Photo Source

by Mike Friesen

You all know my friend Mike by now, he’s a frequent guest contributor. I really love his post below, mostly because it does what all great writing does: it provides both an invitation and a confrontation. Enjoy! You can follow Mike on twitter here.

3 responses to One Thing I Know for Sure

  1. To make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves and admit the exact nature of our wrongs to God and to another person is a critical process in recovery from any addiction. As an Alcoholic in Recovery, When I went through a thorough and honest 4th step it was like a weight was lifted… I cannot express how freeing looking in the mirror at who I REALLY am and admitting that to God and another person was. It was me sharing my story or a part of myself that I have never revealed in the past. Praise Jesus!

  2. Mike -

    Powerful, powerful, POWERFUL!!! Let us not be afraid to reveal ourselves to God. After all, He already knows. And as we hunger to press further in to God so that we might be used by Him, let us not be afraid to reveal ourselves to others as God leads us. This post brings so many key things together that God is attempting to teach me.

    “Serving suggestion”: Rather than the word “self-cure”, we might use the word “self-medicate”, since when we use these addictions to mask our pain, we are curing nothing.

    Salam.

  3. “Storytelling is one of God’s cures for the idols we make in our self-cures.”

    Thank you. It’s tough to feel compelled to tell your stories while being plagued with doubt about whether what you’re sharing ought to be kept to yourself. This puts it in a positive light and gives us a good guide for knowing what to share. Beautiful post.

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