Have you ever found yourself falling into a role that you were so sure you had transcended? Do you feel compelled to meet people under the circumstances that are comfortable to them rather than showing up as your “authentic self”? Yes, the whole “authentic self” thing is starting to get cliche, but you know what I mean. You’re sick of being fake and holding yourself in.
Unfortunately most of us feel that way and are afraid of being the odd person out in a situation that calls for being real. Most of us just give up and give in and play the role expected of us and deal with the mini-deaths that those bring about. We “Role Over and Die”. And why shouldn’t we? That’s what we have been programmed to do. A lot of thought, time, and energy has been put into telling us “how to be” in the systems that we are a part of. Every time one of us “gets real” the whole system falls apart. That’s why we reject those people. To the degree that we are invested in the system, that is the degree to which we will reject hard realities.
Of course there are people who see the realities and do not reject it wholeheartedly. They just try to work within the system to correct the system. Of course that is insane, but at least they are trying. But the fact is the “system will not let you change without a fight. We all know this. That’s why we give in to the roles. Reality is beyond the system. The system cannot keep up with reality. It just tries to mimic it and limit it. That’s why Jesus said in Luke 17:20-37:
“The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”Then He said to the disciples, “The days will come when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. And they will say to you, ‘Look here!’ or ‘Look there!’ Do not go after them or follow them. For as the lightning that flashes out of one part under heaven shines to the other part under heaven, so also the Son of Man will be in His day. But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.
“In that day, he who is on the housetop, and his goods are in the house, let him not come down to take them away. And likewise the one who is in the field, let him not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife. Whoever seeks to save his [or her] life will lose it, and whoever loses his [or her] life will preserve it. I tell you, in that night there will be two men in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left. Two women will be grinding [grain] together: the one will be taken and the other left. Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left.”And they answered and said to Him, “Where, Lord?”
So He said to them, “Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together.”
I know this is often interpreted as Jesus talking about “Judgment Day” and the end of the world and I cannot say that this is not the case since I am not God. According to Mark 13:32-36 even Jesus doesn’t know when that Day is coming. So I don’t even concern myself with that.
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is. It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch. Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning—lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!”
The fact is that regardless of a final Judgment Day for the world, we all will have mini judgment days moment by moment throughout our entire lives and one day we are going to die. So when I read this passage I understand it in the context of my life moment by moment. To me this means that moments will come out of nowhere when we will have to make choices of whether we will live God’s reality of who we are or live like what the world tells us about ourselves and who we are supposed to be. If we choose the world’s prescription we will lose but if we lose in the world we will gain more knowledge of how God sees us.
When we find ourselves playing these sorry roles in order to be part of something that we secretly judge as false, the kingdom of God within us shakes us to the core. Each of us knows who we really are in God’s reality, but we have allowed false perceptions, material attachments, and temporary cravings and desires to lure us deeper and deeper into illusion. Then we feel guilty for playing roles simply to get what the world tells us gives our life meaning. Like Jesus said, “Wherever the body is, there the eagles (scavengers) will be gathered together.” In other words wherever we are attached to solely material relationships to people, places, things, ideas, philosophies, etc. we will be at risk of being torn apart. Trying to hold onto those things when we encounter God’s reality is going to be painful.
This is not because God’s reality is painful. It is because we feel the pain from making ourselves so small in order to fit into these boxes that the world wants to limit us to. How big does a box have to be to contain a being who has the kingdom of God within them? You see, God is calling us to a more expansive reality of who we ALL are and the world is trying to get us to “get in where we fit in”. I am not saying this to condemn the world or even to condemn roles. “God has made everything beautiful in its time. Also God has put eternity in our hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end (Ecclesiastes 3:11)”. I just encourage each of us to be mindful that there is always a moment of judgment when it comes time to drop the roles and get really real. Those are the moments that shape our experiences and our contributions to Life. Remember, “For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” The question is, Will you reveal it to the world when the opportunity arises or will you just be what you are “supposed” to be?