The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10 (ESV)
Every day, it seems as if we’re called to live vicariously in one way or another. Our news currently is focused on the pregnancy of Prince Andrew’s wife, Kate Middleton. We have reality TV shows that range the gamut from Parking Wars to Pawn Stars to Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. We have watercooler chats about who’s ahead in The Voice or American Idol. Especially at this time of the year, we get wrapped up in our football teams and their plays-becoming fanatics.
We live through Facebook and Twitter, creating virtual presences on the Internet. We live through our careers, our possessions, and our positions in life. For years, parents lived (and still do) through their children and their potential. Even in the Church, many of us live through our ministries; from the ushers up to the pastor, and up to higher ecclesiastical echelons.
Today, living vicariously is quite commonplace in our society. Even yours truly has done it himself. Our media-in its various forms-promotes such a living to the point that it appears to be the norm. However, this living can come at a price. We begin to lose our selves when we live through something, or someone else; being wrapped up and consumed by that “other”. Soon, we never get to know ourselves; or worse, we don’t want to know ourselves.
My theory is that we’re afraid to live authentically, even if it means being apart from the crowd. We don’t want to truly live the “abundant life” that Jesus preached about. Instead we settle for the cheap imitations we see every day. Come to think of it, we’re programming ourselves (no pun intended) to hate authenticity in ourselves. We’ve allowed the “thief” of vicariously living to steal, kill and destroy that part of us that is connected to the Divine-the authentic us. We escape into the latest “reality” stuff out there because if we have to face ourselves, we may have to come face to face with ourselves (and the Divine) which is too scary real for us.
We need to learn to live authentically by knowing ourselves and our place in the Divine Universe. We need to ascend higher to that place of truth where we know who and what we are without any external substitutes. In doing so, we’ll learn to grow and mature as human beings. We’ll truly connect with the Divine and His/Her gift of abundant living; and in turn, connect with each other as well as our selves-authentically.
Let’s be careful not to be robbed, killed and destroyed by the thief of vicarious living. Let’s instead live abundantly by living authentically.