An Idol Called Security

Currently I write this story via laptop in Senegal, Africa. For the past six weeks or so, I have been interning at a local hospital here. A few weeks before that, I went to on a mission trip to Thailand with my university. The last few months have been an adventure no doubt.

Amidst my traveling, discovering, listening, and reflecting, I have learned something. In today’s world, we value something called security. We love security, dare I say worship it. And how could we not? After all, it is one of Maslow’s most important needs that must be fulfilled right? I beg to differ.

So what exactly am I referring to this idol called security?

I think often times we crave security in the form of having enough money. A 401k. Getting into the right school. The right major. The nice house. In the nice neighborhood. Getting to know the right people. Staying in our comfort zone. Where we are safe.

And for what reason? This calls for a cliche quote from a U.S. Navy Admiral Grace Hopper.

“A ship in a harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”

Thus, I challenge you reader, if your ship is staying stagnant in your port, what is it that is stopping you from opening your sails and catching the trade winds of the ocean?

Fun fact: This animal is a member of the camel family, but the more accurate name is dromedary. Camels have two humps, but a dromedary only has one.

One of the reasons I love traveling and trying new things is because it reminds me that I am indeed alive, but only can I feel this joy if I don’t get so caught up in security. The power of a plane leaping into air. Jumping off a cliff into water. Running through the streets of Africa at night with the sounds of drums in the distance. Eating sushi with a small octopus on it. Bargaining for a taxi in a foreign language. Riding on an elephant. Riding on a dromedary. Interning at hospital over seas. And hiking the terrain of Thailand.

Mind you the things I have done have not been easy. Hear me when I say, the last few months have been extremely difficult as well. I can’t emphasize that enough. It’s easy to feel loneliness being abroad. Sometimes trying new food tastes terrible. Having a language barrier sucks. A lot. And sometimes you just miss home, and that’s OK. But… It’s been incredibly worth it.

If you have read previous posts from me before, you will know that I am a Christian. But I would hope that Christians and non-Christians alike read and enjoy these posts. Anyways, I think of one the most exciting things to understand about ridding of this idol called security, is relying more on dependence from the Lord.

As a young Christian, I dare not say I have life figured out. Not even close. But I will say that by being obedient to the Lord, I have found life to be incredibly more dangerous, adventurous, and exciting. How? Does God not impose a bunch of rules that restrict fun? On the contrary.

“For the LORD says to the house of Israel: Seek Me and live.” — Amos 5:4

In the context, God is calling Israel to repentance. He is crying out to Israel to stop seeking other idols, but only Him. Just how God understands the heart of Israel, he understands us with unfathomable intimacy.

This verse spoke to me a few years ago, and still does. It’s as if God is saying, “Do you really, I mean really want to live? To live and thrive with a life of adventure, danger, and taking chances? Then follow Me.”

And I must admit when I first became a Christian I thought this meant I couldn’t have any more fun. How wrong was I. Actually life is more fun now that I walk with the Lord. The mundane comes alive, and God will take you places you never thought you would be.

I see being obedient to God as something as like riding a roller coaster. In life, we can choose to ride the roller coaster without any straps and harness. And quite frankly, we more or less may be very happy with where we are. We may even taste happiness, but never joy. Still, we may hang on for a while, decades perhaps, but eventually we will fall off the roller coaster. Yikes.

But being in relationship with Him, we have the needed harness to keep us on the roller coaster. And give us something else too. Joy. The harness isn’t meant to keep us from having fun, actually it’s meant to make us have more fun because we can actually ride the entire roller coaster without any fear of falling off. And if you ever been on the Millennium Force at Cedar Point, you know how exciting that is.

Imagine, stepping into that when you walk along side the Creator of the universe. Yeah, it’s pretty fun.

Sincerely, some thoughts from a mere college student

— J. Mann