I like to read well-known authors to keep informed of what is popular in the present. This month my book journey led me to “Untamed” by Glennon Doyle. Her message of letting go of others’ expectations and “living in the moment” is alluring. She uses the word “free” often, as in “free from” chains that hold us. Her 21st century philosophy of “finding yourself” and “living free” is an enticing message. Her self review is honest, encouraging readers to embrace themselves and break out of the “cages of conditioning” that thwart our growth and happiness. It is a popular message to the masses.
But there’s a problem.
As Christians we are not called to embrace ourselves, but to deny ourselves. It is an unpopular view, as well as feeling, because, honestly, it’s not easy. It takes for-thought and perseverance and gumption to deny one’s self daily. It’s hard.
But so was the cross.
The second fallacy is that one is “free” when following Doyle’s philosophy. In this world, you’re going to be a slave to something. If one grasps the philosophy proposed in the book, they are merely swapping one set of “shackles” (self denial) for another (“happiness”). Happiness now becomes the slave driver, changing moment to moment and at the whim of each person. It never fills because it is ever changing.
But there is One who is never changing. His message is also a message of freedom, but it is not clothed in “easy” or “wreckless abandon.” It is real and honest, warning the listener to carefully weigh the costs before jumping in.
Because self denial is not natural. It is not human nature to “reel oneself in.” We WANT to say what we want to say and do what we want to do without having to think of the heavy weight of consequences or what pleases God. It’s so much easier and feels so much (fleshly) better to just “do what feels right” and be the master of our own fates. But the Bible warns us that the heart is deceiving. So, what is one to do?
Cling to Him. Choose to live Tamed. Jesus said those who love Him will keep His commandments. Revelation talks of those who are saved as those who fed the hungry, visited the lonely…did the hard, self denial stuff. It’s not a life that sounds very enticing or romantic, but it is the only way to true freedom.