Friday, May 23, 2014

Why So Serious?

The line "why so serious" was made famous by Heath Ledger's portrayal of the Joker.  I am not advocating being the type of person who just wants to watch the world burn, but there is a little wisdom in the words (just not the context).  We seem to be a world who takes ourselves way too seriously.  The reason, maybe it's because we think we are so worthwhile, but I think often it's the opposite.  Here are some observations I've made about most people as I go through life.

Most people have a fragile sense of self worth, and the harder they advocate they are awesome, the more fragile it really is.  Criticism, negative feedback and even banter will shatter their carefully designed facade.  We take the words of others so seriously and have forgotten what the phrase "a grain of salt" means in dealing with other's opinions.  In reality, most people who are being critical are doing so to save and manage their fragile facade and delicate sense of self worth.  The reality is, we find ourselves comparing everyone to everyone, and then putting ourselves in the mix someplace.  If we can make someone else seem less that ideal, then we can be more ideal.  It's an attempt to level the playing field in a sense.  We want to protect our ego.

Motivation has largely become fear.  There are really two things that motivate, and I plan to write about them in another blog, so I'm not going to give away spoilers.  I will say this, too often we are motivated by fear.  We are afraid of getting hurt, of losing, of being last and being nobody.  We are afraid of getting __________ (fill in the blank with one of the thousand things).  At work, we are afraid of getting fired, yelled at, maybe demoted.  We are afraid of losing our edge in competitive activities, sometimes we are afraid of pain, suffering and of course death.  Some fear is good and some fear is healthy.  It keeps us from doing incredibly stupid things (mostly) and works together with self preservation.  Fear of God is the beginning of Wisdom, so says the scripture.  The issue isn't fear, fear can be an ally, it's the fact that motivation is fear.  When Paul says we have not been given a spirit of fear, he is talking about this very thing.  We should have boldness in approaching the world, because we know Him who runs the show.  We should embrace our passions head on and not be afraid to do what is right, what is honoring to God and what benefits others.  Fear makes us too serious.

We have began to treasure our hurt.  Things like forgiveness and letting go have become outdated.  Now we want revenge, we want vindication and we want the world to know we've been wronged.  I'll admit it, I've struggled myself with this issue.  The advent of social media has given us all an outlet for mass whining.  Yes, I have twhined (twitter + whined.  I just made that up, impressed?).  I have posted hurts on facebook for all to see.  We have taken our hurt and our injustice and made them a platform to the extent we are not sure how to function without it.  Proverbs 19:11 says that good sense makes us slow to become angry and it's good to overlook an offense.  Basically, stop being offended when you don't have to be offended.  We try to be offended so often that we walk around looking for reasons to be mad.  When we find one, we hold onto it and we cherish it.  We have failed to notice the hurt is poisoning our soul.

Solution?  Take a lesson from one of my favorite authors and speakers, Ken Davis.  It's time to Lighten Up and Live.  Take some time to enjoy some relaxation, some humor and some fun.  Do something you really want to that doesn't threaten lawsuits or jail time.  Enjoy the day, smile and laugh with friends and family.  Be nice to people, be friendly.  Try to complement someone and encourage them and be a friend.  Laugh and don't be so serious.

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