Former Vice-president Dick Cheney is quoted as saying, “if this is dying, I remember thinking, it’s not all that bad.”
I remember pausing as I heard those words spoken and staring at the television screen mesmerized by the thought of dying. I was wondering why this comment turned my head like a magnet to metal, drawn fast to Mr. Cheney’s face.
Questions begin to blow through my mind like pages of a book in the wind.
Is physical dying a manifestation of dying to self?
Could it be that dying to self is not really so bad?
My mind recalls sitting by a woman who was dying a few years ago. She said there were days when she would open her eyes and see both the spirit world and the physical world as though they were one.
“Dying is easy,” she whispers to me as she searches my eyes to see if I am okay with her passing, “it’s the living that’s difficult.”
When my aunt died several years ago, she would also tell us as she stretched one foot into the Promised Land, “dying is easy, you just let go, and Christ does the rest.”
I think about dying to self. It seems so very difficult to stay dead!
Grabbing hold to navigate, to hold on, to control.
The living… it calls to those trying to die. It asks you, “where do you fit in? What is in it for all of your hard work? Is it really necessary to die to live?”
Thinking back on my life, it seems that the Lord is placing people who struggle with depression into my path – People who fight for control to rise out of a deep dark pit. To live, for them, is difficult.
Some have chemical imbalance problems, and some have been abused. I too have had a few bouts with depression. Most people do.
The one thing that I find in common with all of us is that when the depression hits we fight for control. We are hammer with questions like, “Well, what about me? Can anyone see me? Do I count? Do I matter? Am I good enough? Am I likeable just as I am?”
Or the declaratives, “I’m worthless; I’ll never accomplish anything; none like me; I will never accomplish anything like she has and the list goes on and on.
‘I’ “I”, “I”, “I”… that is what I hear from a person who is depressed. “I”, “I”, “I”.
When we turn our thoughts inward and think of ourselves, to hold on to and try to control all that is around us, it is easy to walk that path holding hands with depression.
In Isaiah, we hear the king of Babylon declaring, “”I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon.I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High. But you are brought down to the realm of the dead, to the depths of the pit.”
Many theologians believe this is a reference to the mentality of Satan and why he was thrown from heaven.
All of his declaratives… “I”, “I”, “I”. He must be the most depressed of all of God’s creations. How appropriate that his eternal abode will is a deep dark miserable pit.
Dying to self is not about consigning ourselves to a life of misery. It about being commissioned to write your portion of God’s great Adventure with people here on earth. It is about a life that reaches out past our own life to reach others.
Dying to self is a life that is confident that God will make provision for you, as you advance for Him.
It is leaning on Jehovah-Jireh and believing with confidence that He is the faithful Provider for all you need. You can call on him. You can say to him, I need…and he will do what needs to be done because He loves us.
Dying to self is letting go of our self, our “I” and giving of yourself to help others.
It is living as one who is provided for by the one who calls him the true, I Am.
It is noticing and caring for others, instead of spending your efforts trying to be noticed and cared for by others.
Dying to self is easy because it brings joy.
Dying to self is living for Christ.
Dying to self is living dimensionally, in this life but for a reward in a spiritual life.
It is living for our self that is difficult.
“Dying,” as Mr. Cheney puts is so well, “is not all that bad.”
As the woman, on whose bed I sat, and whose hand I held as she comforted me in her passing, “It is easy.”
As my aunt said, “It’s just letting go, Christ will do the rest.”
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