I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living or get busy dying. – Andy Dufresne, The Shawshank Redemption
I was inspired by Bishop McKissick’s sermon to write a devotional. Here goes:
I hate my life right now.
I’ve definitely had mornings where I wake up and I sigh and I groan and I think, “I hate my life” or “I don’t want to go through with this day.” Instead of “Good morning Lord!” it’s “Lord, it’s morning.”
Gah – there are so many reasons why I hate my life right now. Some days I roll over and try to go back to sleep. Other days I come home, roll into bed and think, “I’ll try again tomorrow.” I have days where I can’t face my life, and in the times where I manage to muster the wherewithal to face it, I still hate it. I hate my life.
What about you? Do you hate your life? Why do you hate your life? Maybe it’s divorce or separation. Maybe it’s the death of a child or a parent or a loved one. Maybe it’s the loss of a job or the death of a dream or a disease that just won’t quit. Maybe it’s pain, plain and simple. Whatever it is, when you try to peer into your future, all you see is doom and gloom. Your future looks bleak.
I know how that feels. Lepers know how that feels too.
The lepers in 2 Kings 7: 3-10 also probably had a reason to hate their lives. Chances are they did. They had no fingers, no food, and no friends — well, they had each other. But their future still looked bleak. They had no hope. Death was definite. But they got to thinking and they began a conversation. They started to talk amongst themselves. They weighed their options. They said, “Why sit we here til we die?”
“Now there were four men with leprosy[a] at the entrance of the city gate. They said to each other, “Why stay here until we die? 4 If we say, ‘We’ll go into the city’—the famine is there, and we will die. And if we stay here, we will die. So let’s go over to the camp of the Arameans and surrender. If they spare us, we live; if they kill us, then we die.”
Read 2 Kings 7: 3-10. There are two lessons we can learn here: 1) When you are going through a tough time, find people who are like you. I’m not necessarily saying to find people who are depressed — after all misery loves company. But it is important that you don’t isolate yourself and you find people who can empathize with you and who can help you think of solutions. 2) If you don’t like your life, change it (even if you can’t find or don’t have your fellow lepers to help you). You have options.
Death is not the only option. Resignation is not the only option. Giving up is not the only option. Search for any possibilities and hopes and ideas and act on them. You may fail. You may even die. But you were going to die anyway (how’s that for optimism, huh? Lol). Might as well die trying. I mean, if you have already found yourself in a situation where you are contemplating death or resignation, chances are you have nothing else to lose (and nothing better to do). If you don’t try, you’ll never know if your efforts could have been met with success.
Notice, the lepers weren’t defeatist either. They didn’t say, “If we stay here we’ll die and if we go we’ll die so might as well stay here.” No. They dared to hope, and they dared to move. They acted on the slightest possibility of a better outcome, and their faith was rewarded.
I know you may want to lie in bed and wallow in grief or self-pity or disbelief or depression (as I write to you I write to myself). But evaluate your options. Staying in bed won’t make life any better. By staying in bed, you ensure that your life stays the same. Staying at the job you hate will not secure your happiness. Staying in one place won’t necessarily be the safest option. By staying in place, you guarantee that nothing will change and your life will be what it is. Don’t just sit there. If you sit there, your outcome is certain: death (physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, financial…). But if you move, there is hope. And if the story of the lepers is any indication, when you move, He moves (the lepers got up at twilight and the camp of the Arameans was also vacated at twilight).
Ask God to help you see your options today. Ask God to give you insight and strength to move forward.
Follow your curiosity. Try something new. Do something differently. Go somewhere else. Get out of bed. Get out of your head.
Get up. Give the day a chance. You never know what good can come as a result.