Sunday, October 2, 2011

No, I'm not alright

    I just bought Switchfoot's new CD, and I suspect there will be more than one post that results from this.  
    Whether it was purposeful or not, the CD follows a story arc.  The last song is the anthem of hope ("I still believe we can live forever..."), and the first song is a rallying cry for everyone who wants more from this life ("I've tasted fire - I'm ready to come alive.")  In between are 10 songs about the challenges and struggles of ordinary life.
     "Thrive" caught my attention this week.  I have found that I am at my worst when I think I'm okay, but I'm at my best when I know I'm not.  There's plenty of analogies.  Sports players who think they have arrived are a nightmare to coach; husbands who think their wives have no idea the quality man they have are the biggest jerks; the friend who thinks they know everything about a topic are the most obnoxious to talk to.          
     The best kid to coach is the one who thinks has nothing to offer, but wants to make a difference.  The best husband is the one who knows that the love his wife has to offer is necessarily full of grace and forgiveness; the best friend is the one who's humility permeates his approach to life.
   Here's the chorus of "Thrive":

No I'm not alright

I know that I'm not right
A steering wheel don't mean you can drive
A warm body don't mean I'm alive
No I'm not alright...

    We live in a culture that fills us with the message of self-esteem.  I'm not convinced that is the answer to the problems that plague us.  There is something freeing about being able to say, "You know what?  I'm not okay.  I'm flawed, I'm tired.  I'm not good enough."  This seems counterintuitive, but how can we find the cure for what ails us if we don't recognize the problem?  We tend to look all around us for the cause of our loneliness, our unhappiness, our depression, then assume the cure needs to be offered to others.
     But of course, if we are the problem - if "the sickness is myself" - well, that's an entirely different person who needs a cure.
      "Thrive" ends on a different note:
I get so down but I won't give up,
I get slowed down but I won't give up...
I want to thrive, not just survive.

     To thrive - to really be healthy - we must be honest enough to look at ourselves and understand our need for a cure - and a Savior.  Only then do we thrive.  Only then do we become truly alive. 

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