The Desire of a Broken Generation...






If I’m just being honest, a couple things should be said right from the start: first of all, I hate the fact that time passes by and seems to leave so little in its path; second, I tend to judge my life by what I’ve accomplished since the first time I watched the Lord of the Rings back in 2002. Flash forward 12 years when I watched the last installment from Peter Jackson in the cinematic universe of Tolkien’s fantastic worlds and characters, I cried. Not because the overly stretched out, completely unnecessary and poorly paced third installment of the Hobbit trilogy (that should have just been one movie, come on guys) was good; rather because it marked12 years. 12 years of my life since I watched the amazing Fellowship of the Ring. All the things that happened within that time frame, the people I’ve meet, the places I’d seen and the things I’d accomplished. But they weren’t necessarily tears of joy, instead I felt that strange pressure/struggle in my chest that usually accompanies what all to many of my week minded brothers and sisters know as ‘anxiety’.

Anxiety is a real dilemma and problem with my generation. In a way it's the epitome of ungratefulness and the end result of misguided entitlement. While this can’t be used as an example for a ‘case study’ or anything, during my brief stint in EMS I was shocked at how many millennials we treated for psychiatric problems. Namely, depression and anxiety. I talked with Medics, EMTs, ER docs and Nurses who had been in the business longer then I had been breathing God’s fresh air and they all agreed that this sudden rise in suicide and depression in my generation was unprecedented. Both of my parents don’t remember many of their friends having these problems when they were growing up - or hearing news like, ‘Well, Molly is back in the Psych Ward…’ or, ‘Alex went to the ER again because he tried to cut his wrists and his parents caught him…’. Whatever is happening to my generation is real and it’s causing a problematic overflow in ER rooms and a saturation of 911 calls from one end of the country to the other. 

After dealing with my own anxieties and fears I think I can honestly say that you can’t pin down the reason to one general thing that’s wrong with society. However, I do want to talk about something that I think contributes (at least in my own life). I think that we (being my generation and younger) are the most gifted generation in the history of mankind. Even now I’m writing this on an iPad Pro that ways less then 2 pounds and yet is the equivalent of a Death Star technology wise compared to anything my parents had growing up. We have more given to us then any generation - and this is coming from the guy who works a low end job to pay rent, but I still have a car with air conditioning, go to a good school because the government helps me with loans and I honestly can’t remember the last time I was genuinely hungry? (Did I also mention I'm in love with run-on-sentences and hyphens?)

But with everything we’re given, so little is expected of us. I think that eats away at who we are as a generation. From a young age we’re told to become what ever we want - and that leads us to follow the path of least resistance. While I’ll admit that maybe the majority of us want to accomplish great things, it doesn't stop the cold hard truth that great things require hard work - and lets be honest! who really likes hard work? So, the same society that says ‘become whatever you want’ is the same society that encourages us to be apathetic when we want to be…which maybe I’m just a lone fading star in a sea of bright diamonds, but my teen years were marked by long sequences of apathy. 

Take into account the few (compared to the overwhelming many) who do work hard in their youth, push themselves to the point of exhaustion for their dreams and actually achieve great things, mix all that into a bag and dump it out - and the result is something akin to shame. While on the one hand you have a group of people who were content to spend their developmental years ingesting reality TV instead of Shakespeare and Locke, and learning how to sleep in till 1 p.m. instead of waking up and working on personal discipline - on the other you have a small minority that did the opposite. Now, here’s what’s interesting - society does no favors to the child it told to become whatever it wanted. Because they’re whole life they wanted to be apathetic, so society encouraged it and SHAZAM like a magician pulling a bunny rabbit from the seeming nothing of his top hat, out came an apathetic, spoiled and entitled generation. We weren’t honestly expected to be good boy friends or girlfriends - so we cheat when we want and have no idea what integrity means. We weren’t expected to be good children but instead encouraged to scream and kick for whatever we saw that tickled our fancy in the supermarket so we don’t know what respect or honor mean either. Yet the whole time, every step taken to develop this entitled wave of useful idiots was done under the guise of giving us a ‘better life’ then the generation before. When that same generation gets to a point where they realize the first part of their life is behind them (early to mid twenties) and they have little to show for it, depression and anxiety set in. Because they have been told they can become ‘whatever they want’ their whole life - when they start feeling those harsh emotions of depression and self-depreciation, the lack of personal discipline doesn’t help and they become the fears and anxieties that plague them. 

So what am I getting at here, because there’s nothing more annoying then someone point out the obvious with nothing more to add. 

My point, I guess, is that I’m not immune to this. I struggle as much as anyone else. Anxiety and depression are all real. The questions like, ‘What does my life mean?’, or ‘Does anything I do matter?’, or the most terrifying, ‘Am I just a waste?’ Permeate my mind space as much as the next, but how do I deal with that?

I suggest Psalm 37.

Being a kid that struggled with depression his whole life, Psalm 37 was nothing short of a life giving chapter for me. Five years after being introduced to its deep wells of encouragement - I’m still struck by how fresh it is to my aching and thirsty soul. 

Vs. 3 "Trust in the Lord, and do good:"

This first part - so simple, so wise and truly the beginning. If I'm not trusting right off the bat by not attempting projects in my strength but in His then why in the world would I do anything? Also, if I start to tell others about Jesus, I need to start walking the walk and not just talking the talk - '...do good', this isn’t subjective - it’s imperative. You want to start living a better life - do good. Literally, the stuff you learned back in Sunday School about sharing, caring, and being nice, those things are simple keys to actually living a full and fulfilling life. I need to start living more godly (which is honestly what I want because the promises to the godly man are the things that I truly desire, stability of mind, peace of heart and strength of character, Philippians 4:7).

Vs. 3"Dwell in the Land…."

Here comes the discipline. First off, dwell. That means BE HERE. Look at the people around you, the job you have, the school you go to, the street you live on, the roommates you live with - and be content with them. BE in the place. Not on your phone, Snapchat, back home, not anywhere else - BE HERE. THIS IS WHERE GOD HAS YOU. BE HERE.

Vs. 3 "….Befriend Faithfulness..."

Nothing is accomplished without some kind of discipline. The root word of discipline is *disciple*. So that means dragging myself out of bed to be at a prayer meeting at 8  which gave me life while staying in bed and being lazy would have taken it away (funny how my flesh tells me that it would be the other way around). It means reading my Bible as often as I can and getting the life and nourishment from it for myself, before trying to lead others to it. It also means admitting that I need from God daily. Dependency is something we live our whole lives misplacing and it takes us to terrifying places.

Vs. 4 "Delight yourself in the Lord..."

Right here is the how! How do I keep going? How do I do the discipline? How do I over come my fears and anxiety? Where does my faith come from?

- It comes from what I like about God, about Jesus. A runner puts his or her body through tremendous stress because of what they like about running and it's results. Same with a scholar with mental exertion, or even the opposite example of a glutton with eating. Why do I do the things I do for Jesus? Because He is delightful. 

POSITIVE DISCIPLINE. 

Focusing on what I love about Jesus and looking at every decision as a decision to get closer to my goals of living for God and having life, joy and peace and all of that more abundantly today then I did yesterday. 

Vs. 4 "He will give you the desires of your hearts..."

The old testament is full of 'if you - then I' promises and this is my favorite one. It's my favorite, because the things that are required of me are simple:

1. Love life 
2. Love where you're at 
3. Love God

-- and He's going to take the desires of your heart and make them come true! WHAT?! How awesome is that??? 

Notice with me some key points: I don’t have to join a monastery and butcher my already receding hair line into a bowl cut; I don't have to worry about personality conflicts; my own shortcomings (and trust me - they is many) aren’t even an issue here; the shortcomings of those around me - NONE OF IT. If I have a goal, a dream in my heart for God and I'm 1) loving life 2) living in the now and accepting the places and people I'm around 3) loving and living for God.

Lastly -- Let Go and Enjoy

I think my problem is I get so caught up in trying to make the 'vision' that I have from God WORK and I spend all this time Shia Labeoufing it (JUST DO IT), that I become miserable and panicked. When it's simple - Love God, love the people in you're life, genuinely live for Him --- and He'll handle every aspect of that dream coming true in ways you could never even begin to imagine possible. 

So yeah, anxiety and depression suck, but I want to be a voice in my generation pointing people toward life more abundant. 

So why do I chose hope on my down days and sometimes just focus on putting one foot in front of the other instead of just staying bed with the curtain drawn? 

I’ll be honest - I want to get as much as I can out of my stay on this ole blue and green marble, don’t you?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

What Matters in Life