Escaping Pleasure Island
Confession Time: I am as indecisive as they come.
Seriously. It’s bad.
And I feel a little uncomfortable broadcasting this flaw to the entire world because admitting that you’re not perfect is such a taboo thing to do in our American culture… but here I am. Completely unperfect, entirely not put together, and hopelessly indecisive.
Let me just stop for a moment to give you a fair warning: this blog post is going to be messy because, well, life is messy. So if you’re not really in the mood to be real for a few minutes, then you should probably click away now. But, if you’re imperfect and a little messy like me then, by all means, keep on reading.
The frustrating thing about being an indecisive 20-something is that it goes against the cultural standard. What I mean by that is, we, as young Americans, are expected to have it all together now. We are expected to have our whole lives planned and “figured out” by the time we hit our 20’s, and there is not a lot of grace for those who don’t.
This cultural expectation is something that the media feeds off of. “Buy this”, “do that”, “go here” — they capitalize on the indecisive by making everything sound appealing, and they are really good at what they do.
It kind of reminds me of the scene from Disney’s “Pinocchio” when all of the kidnapped children are taken to Pleasure Island. The fat guy in the red coat whisks them away to a place where anything and everything goes. But, as they are enjoying their new-found freedom and all of the riches Pleasure Island has to offer, he instructs his shadow-minions to “shut the doors and lock them tight and get their crates ready”.
Upon first impression, Pleasure Island looks like the greatest place on earth, but in reality? It’s just a glorified prison cell. That movie scene is, sadly, a very accurate representation of the world we live in. In our shameless pursuit of pleasure, happiness, and success, we have unknowingly submitted ourselves to life in our glorified prison cells under the banner of “normality”.
Do you know why suicide rates are increasing in America? Normal. Do you know why depression is the fastest spreading disease in our nation? Normal. Do you know why so many teenagers are ending up in psych wards from self-harm? Normal. Do you know why no one bats an eye at government corruption? Normal.
Why are we so content living in our glorified prison cells? Because it’s normal.
Normal. Normal. Normal. What an ugly, gut-wrenching word.
And the reason why I’m beginning to hate that word so much is this: there is no such thing as normal in the Kingdom of God.
“The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.” — Luke 17:20–21
Miracles? Not normal. Healing? Not normal. Agape (unconditional) love? Not normal. Loving neighbors as yourself? Not normal. Giving up everything to follow Jesus? Absolutely not normal.
The Kingdom of God is in our midst and it is anything but normal.
I think that the reason that I am often so indecisive — the reason why I overthink so much — is that I refuse to be put in a glorified prison cell. I have decided to leave behind all of the “normal” things that the world has to offer in pursuit of the extraordinary, for the extraordinary is found only in the Kingdom of God.
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” — Matthew 7:13–14
If you like what you’ve read so far, you can find this article and many like it at mmessickblog.wordpress.com :)