Disclaimer: This is a top-of-mind post. It’s not completely thought through, but I wanted to get it down on paper before I lost it.
Here’s my contention – that we speak and act from one of three places: Defeat, Defiance, or Faith.
Do these three cover everything?
Probably not, but I’m going to try and make them 🙂 The other places I imagine we could categorize as the origin of our motives are fear and possibly bewilderment. But for the sake of a three-pronged title, I’m going to lump fear into defeat and bewilderment into defiance.
The emotional and spiritual state of defeat comes with the realization that one is trapped and there is no hope for a better future. This usually looks like the man or woman stuck in a crummy job or relationship, and because of fear, has resigned himself or herself to the idea that life has peaked and it’s just time to “accept things the way they are”.
The ‘Defeateds’ have a different tone in their voice. It’s a sadness mixed with bitterness mixed with an edge that comes from someone who has chosen to accept their circumstances.
The symptoms look like a constant sarcasm, a refusal to believe that anyone is truly happy, and a distrust of those who appear to have hope in their lives. These are often the people who are depressed and use various methods to escape from reality, only to find that the escape route has further entrapped them.
The way out for the Defeateds is different for each person, but it will include sacrifice of some sort. The Defeateds feel entitled to partake of the world’s pleasures, because after all, you might as well take advantage of what makes you feel good if this is all there is. This is the ultimate form of selfishness and can only be combated by acts of conscious sacrifice.
The Defiance stance is a mixture of denial, a leaning toward hope, and a lack of emotional and spiritual confidence in their ability. They believe that they are largely alone in the world, feel misunderstood and are willing to strive for something better but don’t find themselves reaching that point.
Defiance people may use humor to lift themselves up, but it’s a humor that rests in carnality. They have an appearance of doing well, but a little probing reveals great distress. They fit well with a crowd, have good friends, speak with an upbeat tone, but don’t experience victory over their own shortcomings.
The path out of a Defiance mode looks like surrender. They have created walls of ‘protection’ around their heart and don’t really let people inside due to the pain they experience regularly, so the path to Truth and Freedom requires forgiveness and a willingness to trust again. Healing life’s wounds may take time, but it’s possible. The only trouble is that Defiance people probably don’t realize they are deceiving themselves to survive each and every day. Only the sick need a doctor.
These people have been through Hell and back. ‘Faiths’ speak with a smile that comes from a place of deep satisfaction with life. Their circumstances have little affect on their attitude and they tend to listen more than they talk. However, when they do speak, they speak with wisdom and compassion.
Faiths are prone to looking out of place in a ‘normal’ society, but they are also leaders in their own right. Many will quietly give gifts, encourage others and find joy in the little things in life.
Their history has involved being a Defeated and a Defiance, but they have made it through and now live in a place of confident rest that God is in control. Their scars are filled with stories and their eyes understand your pain. These people will laugh a lot and cry a lot.
The Faiths’ concerns are for others, but not in a controlling way. Faiths enjoy watching others go through the process of Defeated to Defiance to Faith and understand that it’s the journey that makes being a Faith valuable. They realize that true joy comes from fellowship with everyone, regardless of their individual state and that life is about unconditional love, not ability, appearance or performance.
What Are You?
Where do you fall on the scale of Defeat, Defiance or Faith? Are you happy where you are? How do you see yourself getting from one state to the next?