“You don’t choose a life, you live one.” Emilio Estevez — The Way
I tend to break life into categories and subcategories. As I sift through them and test them against our spiritual and moral mores, I begin to place them within a hierarchical structure. The “king” category for Christians is two fold: living within and for God’s kingdom here on earth and in his eternal and heavenly kingdom. From this point on, things get messy.
The subcategories are endless. Based on our experiences, relationships, and denominational influences, we categorize what it actually means to fulfill the qualities of kingship. Some of the subcategories might be sacramental, missional, or moral.
Subconsciously (and sometimes consciously) I believe that my posture can only reside in one of the subcategories of life. Never, I mean never, can one foot be firmly planted in one category while the other foot is firmly and equally planted in another. Now, I commonly state that my life’s focus is the “king” and the subcategories are ways in which I, in my God-given uniqueness, manifest kingship. I say, just as St. Augustine said, “unity in the essentials, liberty in the non-essentials, and love in all things,” but in reality, I cement both feet into a subcategory.
In doing so, I make a choice about life. I view all possibilities, well, at least the ones I presently see, and choose which one fits my personality best. My mind, heart, and soul get wrapped up in this choice. Am I living by the choice I made? Is the choice I made the right choice? I see all these other people, ones who are esteemed in their subcategories, and judge myself (and them) based on their categorical choice. I mean, one of us have to be in the wrong subcategory…right?!
I think Emilio was on to something.
Obsession with the choices you make, their rightness and wrongness, cause you to lose sight of the King. “I came that they <sup class="crossreference" style="background-color: white; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(K)”>may have life, and have it abundantly. <sup class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(L)”>I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd <sup class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(M)”>lays down His life for the sheep.” This is the King’s promise and purpose. Those who rest in this truth, whose two feet are firmly planted in the category of the king, lose themselves in the rest and love of the good shepherd and live a life.
I pray God gives me the grace to forsake the subcategories of experience for the category of the King — to never choose a life, but to live one.