Self-Talk for Two

Self-Talk for Two

Do you ever feel like a slave?

You mean to my career, to my responsibilities? Yeah, sometimes.

I mean, more like feeling bound to how you think, to what you want and are still trying to get. More like that.

I’m okay with who I am, if that’s what you’re asking. Most of the time, anyway. But I get your question. We’re stuck with these bodies and their limitations, with this life and what we have to do.

Exactly. I don’t think it’s fair. We have free will, but to me it’s kind of a ruse, more like a sly form of bondage.

Growing pains are part of the deal, but having free will lets me decide if, when, and how I want to handle what comes my way. If my attitude is good, what seems bad gets better.

What do you think of this idea that life is a gift from God and that we’re supposed to use it to seek only Him? The way I see it, I didn’t ask to be born in the first place, and now I have to live in a certain way, or I get swatted down. What kind of a gift is that?

I look at the gift as a lease. Maybe I don’t remember that I signed it, and maybe I can’t break it, but in living by its terms, I can make the most of it, and it will serve me well.

Those terms are awfully strict. Indulge a desire, and suddenly there’s a gift tax.

Yeah, that’s true. Most of us run up quite a bill before we see the mistake of it.

But why is it a mistake? God has booby-trapped the gift. If He loves us so much, why would He do that? Why would He rig the game?

Maybe the better question is when and why did we decide that we should make the rules? There’s a flip side to every desire we pursue. That’s a given, as it has been from the beginning. Highs come with lows. There’s no getting around it. The slave is the one who keeps thinking he can.

It still feels like a forced march to me. “Here’s your gift. There’s a million ways to use it, but if you choose any of them that isn’t God-approved, you’re going to suffer.”

That’s about it. But the upside is that in choosing to act in ways that are God-approved, we not only don’t suffer, our experience of freedom and happiness continues to grow. The downside disappears.

How’s that working for you?

It works when I do the work, and it doesn’t when I don’t. I know how to talk the talk, and I know all about the sword of discrimination that I need to apply to my unsevered desires, but old habits die hard. It’s still an uphill climb.

That’s what gripes me. I have no real choice in the matter, free will or not. God put me here, and I can’t get out. If I end my life prematurely, I’ll be worse off the next time. The game is rigged. I have to make the uphill climb, or suffer for as long I refuse.

Seems to me a pretty good time to make the only good choice you have. It might even start to feel like a gift.

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