January 2012


I could sense something stirring in November. I wasn’t sure what I was anticipating, but I knew it would bring change. A major life event? Maybe an epiphany? A meaningful relationship? I waited, patiently, trying to sort out my surroundings, my environment, to see if I could deduce what was rumbling around inside my soul.

The moment of realization was smooth. Immense enough to be a climax but prolonged enough to settle into. It was one of those moments, when, upon peering over your shoulder to the past you can see the steps that lead you there, though at the time you felt like you were walking blindly.

The realization happened in timing that could be no more cliché. Arriving home on New Year’s Eve from my church’s youth retreat, I knew. I just knew. My conviction was too deep. I can’t go back now.

Damn those moments that bring your life to a new level of conscientiousness and responsibility.

The new knowingness that invaded my life was this: I have to play the game.

I have to play the game, not for myself but for my self that is all other humanity. I have to play the game, and I have to become damn good at it or else I might as well not try at all. I have to play the game, but I cannot lose myself in it.

I’ve been fighting against this for a long time.

To play the game means doing things I don’t want to do, being someone I don’t want to be, working for something I don’t always desire. To play the game means a sort of benign manipulation. Inauthentic flattery. Generous greed.

I’m mostly concerned about losing myself in the process. As an expert in numbing out and shutting down, the idea of creating a character to functionally play the game is almost appealing. But I’ve worked too hard to let myself dissolve in this process now.

Playing the game means strategy. Intentionality. Purpose. It means building myself to be exactly what is needed in order to affect change. It means living for something bigger than my life, my plans, myself. It means knowing that others will come behind me to pound on doors that were slammed to me. It means passing my momentum on to others who will carry change farther than was possible for me.

It means expanding the Kingdom. Expanding the Kingdom in the context of this world.

And in the end, it will be sweet.