This has been long in the making…
Part 1 in this series can be found here.
Part 2 in this series can be found here.
And now I present you with the stunning conclusion to this epic saga… **cue heart wrenching adventure theme music**
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Be mindful of your surroundings.
That which you are most subject to, bears the most influence upon you. That’s just basic logic. However, during this process, it was something that I had missed altogether. America is a huge proponent for unyielding social and informational consumerism with no type of restraint, and therein lies the problem. We walk around with our souls ready to receive like open gullets, and whoever is on the other side shoves in whatever they desire. It is the art of controlling a culture…
And to that end, environment is key. The only force that can conquer an environment is another environment- not the human will. That is a deception. Sooner or later the human will and personality will take on the nature of the environment it dwells in; it is a credit to a person’s wisdom to dwell in the environment most beneficial to their purpose. The reason I stated prior about only another environment being able to conquer an environment is because of this: sometimes in life we are placed in certain realms that we have no control over. Realms that we may not particularly like.
In order to not become the tool or hapless representative of said environment, we must have an even deeper one that we are connected to. Home, church, a circle of friends, a mountaintop, a studio, a creative atmosphere, etc. Somewhere that stimulates the best to come out of you in sufficient levels to combat that which would “corrupt” you in a sense.
This phenomenon affected me in particular because during the depths of my depression, my environment was conducive to depression. Drawn curtains. Darkness. Sad/angry music. Meditation upon suicidal and hopeless thoughts. Isolation. No communication. Life, and hope and encouragement simply could not pierce such a fog. My environment was too strong, and my heart and will were in accordance with it at that point.
Change began to seep through only when my environment changed- I had to babysit my sisters one day. That meant sunlight exposure, having to be happy, laughing, thinking/saying encouraging things to them… enjoying life’s simple pleasures. And in that moment- the elements of the new environment went into full scale assault. God began to show me metaphor after metaphor, and analogy after analogy in regards to my new disposition in the sunlight.
Movies that I enjoy, and that inspire began to come to mind. I suddenly had a burning desire to watch them. Overall, I was now suddenly looking for ways to inspire/encourage/uplift myself. Not because of anything special about myself or some hidden reservoir of willpower- but because the environment I had shifted into had direct influence over me.
SideThought: I feel like much in life could be accomplished (and subsequently avoided) if we played the power of environment to our advantage. We are going to conform to our environment anyway. That takes no willpower- in fact it takes more willpower to defy your environment.
So- if that’s the case- why not consciously place ourselves into environments most attuned to our purpose? To ones that bring the best out of us? That way when we are in environments that aren’t best for us, we have enough counter-environmental power to hold our own.
“Mind” your surroundings… Let your best surroundings shape your mind, and let the siege of the boorish ones fortify it.
Conquer fear by becoming.
Become the fear that your fears are afraid of… this is like a back door into courage. I realized that even with the environmental change, and my newly spawned search for mellifluous soul intake, deep down I was afraid to revert. My commitment to my future was hollowed out by my paranoia of regressing into my past.
I was watching Batman Begins when I learned this lesson on becoming fear… For Bruce Wayne, he needed to become fear itself in order to cause the hearts of mundane men to crumble, and the hearts of stouter men to tremble. Me? I just needed my afflicting fears to abate… and I flipped the principle.
The whole point of someone or something fearing you is for both preventative measures, as well as to cause a retreat on behalf of the fearful from the thing feared. What if there was a way, somehow, to make my fears fear me?
Courage in and of itself is a lofty concept- perhaps too lofty at times. In my post-depression state, it was way to terrifying to tackle. BUT. I could begin to do things to make my fears fear me. For example- I was afraid to regress and become depressed again. Well everyday I was intent on being joyful, not taking things too seriously, and recalling the lessons I had learned.
I was also afraid of contriving these various theologies, and ending up crazy. To that extent I began reading Purpose Driven Life (as mentioned in part 2), journaling almost daily, and opening up transparent and vulnerable communication with a few people around me that I identified as safe and trustworthy.
You see? And little by little, those types of thoughts have begun to flee from me. I haven’t been depressed, at all, in two months. Have I had a couple of down days? Sure. Those come and go just like the happy days. But the crippling, anti-life experience of depression? Nope. Zip. Zilch. Nada.
SideThought: Experiencing God became altogether different as well. I am not so certain as to how you, the reader, perceive Him but during this part of the journey, He began to exceed the theological limitations of biblical interpretation. I was thirsty for Him, and it was from that place that I was sometimes driven to the Bible. It’s like working out for its own sake, and then one day your mom gets mugged and you’re there to stop it.
Now you’re working out with intent. With purpose. With creativity. God saved my life, my soul, and reinstated my purpose. Now I’m pursuing relationship with and understanding of Him with intent. With purpose. With creativity. And somehow…. I think He prefers it that way. I do not believe the unmatchable, infinite, omniscient, unfathomable Creator of the universe enjoys being watered down by an arrogantly blinded culture’s shadowed expectations…
More Batman Lessons
Ra’as: “But if you become more than just a man- devout yourself to an ideal… and if they can’t stop you- then you become something else entirely.”
Bruce: “And what’s that?”
Ra’as: “A legend.“
Curious notion is it not? And yet- it rings with so much truth… It took some contemplation to verbally harness my ideal with integrity of accuracy, but I did manage it. What is the ideal to which I devout myself?
… Purpose. To live the harmonized lifestyle of synchronized body, and spirit with the full power of Jesus Christ that reigns inside of me. Never fearing to go after the impossible. Becoming content but not complacent in the uncomfortable. Becoming a transforming, creative force for good… for God. Perspective itself is not reality- but perspective can dictate reality. I call this #WinnerVision. That is my ideal… Purpose through winner vision.
What is yours? Because the truth is- whether consciously or not…. it’s there.
Training is an option… Will is EVERYthing.
These are the staple words of Liam Neeson’s character (Ra’as Al-Ghul) to Bruce, before he ascends into his Batman form. I can read all of the books on the planet. I can go to every prayer session in every country. I can receive a thousand prophecies… but if my will is not in it- it’s all for nought. Because in those trying moments where everything you have lived by is being challenged and you are tempted to throw it all away- the commitment of your will is what gets you through.
Will is the untameable, creative power – training just gives it definitive shape, and focus. Training is useful- will is imperative. It’s a timeless lesson- learn the rules, to more effectively break them for a greater good.
“Obey the principles without being bound by them.” ~Bruce Lee
Training… rules… these are guidelines. Milestones to catalogue progress…. it is the will that is most important. And that was the final key that I discovered- the one that let me successfully commit to newness of life… Harnessing my will….
The will… to act.
Thank you so much for stickin out this series!! I apologize for such a delay… life has a way of interrupting even the best intentions, when said intentions are not well disciplined.
I hope you gleaned something substantive out of this, or the other two. Comment freely!!