I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about the words of Jesus when he said that those who lose their lives will find them. I feel like my understanding of those words has always been something along the lines of “when you die to yourself and don’t do the things you want to do, you’ll lose your life in order to find a better life.” Yes, I think losing your life sometimes involves sacrifice, and it may look exactly like I described above. It may involve spending less of your money on coffee so you can be more generous. However, I also think that perhaps Jesus was talking about something deeper. I don’t think losing our lives to find them always looks the same. I don’t think we can anticipate what it means to lose our lives. I don’t think anyone ever chooses to lose their life. Who would want to? I’m in a season of life right now where it, at times, feels like I’m losing it, but not in the way I ever would have expected. The belief system I once held so tightly to is slipping between my fingers like sand. My understanding of God and a lot of life has evolved. I don’t say that lightly either. Things really have been shaken and shifted. There’s a reason why I see 3 different mental health professionals at this point…
I have a few good friends who are currently on the journey of losing their lives. Of course, they’re not literally dying, but there’s a lot of loss going on. My hope right now is that in the process of losing life we will, in fact, find it. My hope is that the lives we find will be vibrant and abundantly more fulfilling than the lives we lost. If we have to continue this process again and again and again, then so be it. Sometimes losing and finding are simultaneous. At least that’s the way I’m experiencing it at the moment. I’m learning to live and die, to celebrate and mourn, to bury and give birth, all at once.
I can’t say enough about how comforting Barbara Brown Taylor’s book “Leaving Church” has been during this whole season. She truly has spoken right into my soul. In reference to these words of Jesus she says this:
“In Greek the word is psyche, meaning not only ‘life’ but also the conscious self, the personality, the soul. You do not have to die in order to discover the truth of this teaching, in other words. You only need to lose track of who you are, or who you thought you were supposed to be, so that you end up flat on the dirt floor basement of your heart. Do this, Jesus says, and you will live.”
I can never quite get over how beautifully she describes this state. Flat on the dirt floor basement of your heart. This is where we find life again.