Saturday, December 8, 2012

Don't let them steal your joy

The other day, I did a radio interview. When I was brought on air, I asked the host how he was doing.

"Well, I could give the socially acceptable answer and say, 'Fine,' but, I'm really not doing too good."

He went on to chronicle all of the things going horribly wrong in the country to justify his ill-humor.

I have to admit, most of his observations where spot-on.

The radio show host was just one of many liberty-minded folks that expressed a sense of despair as I spoke with them over the last few weeks. I guess it's pretty easy to become disillusioned, defeated and depressed if you love liberty in this day an age.

But seriously folks, look up and pull yourself out of the mud! Don't let the bastards steal your joy!

I fight for liberty and freedom because I love life. I want the opportunity to live it to the fullest. Not just for me, but for my children. That being the case, how can I justify living my life in a fog of depression every day? If I do that, I've let tyranny win. They can limit my liberty to some degree, but if I let them cage me in a pit of despair, they've truly already won. 

I believe in the importance of political activism. I spend hours every day working within the political realm. I am constantly reading about, writing about and discussing political philosophy, tactics and policy. But this doesn't define who I am.

I am a father. I am a husband. I am a friend. I am a hockey player. I am a musician. I am a jokester. I am a photographer. I am a writer.

Most significantly, I am a child of God.

There are an awful lot of reasons there to be joyful!

The apostle Paul wrote, "I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles, my joy knows no bounds."

That sounds like a much better way to live life than "woe is me."

One of the hard lessons I've learned through 45 years on planet earth is that an awful lot of things happen that I cannot control. Spending time and energy focused on things I have no control over wastes an awful lot of time and energy. So I try to live like this: focus on what I can control, and let the rest take care of itself.

People often ask me, "Doesn't all of the political activism wear you down? Don't you feel like you're just beating your head against a wall?"

Yup.

But here's the thing; I am only responsible for doing what I feel called and led to do. I can't make people listen or act. I can only spread the message. The rest lies in their hands. If I do my part, my responsibility ends. I have to let the rest go. Ezekiel provides the basis of my view on this.

33 The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, speak to your people and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword against a land, and the people of the land choose one of their men and make him their watchman, and he sees the sword coming against the land and blows the trumpet to warn the people, then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not heed the warning and the sword comes and takes their life, their blood will be on their own head. Since they heard the sound of the trumpet but did not heed the warning, their blood will be on their own head. If they had heeded the warning, they would have saved themselves. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes someone’s life, that person’s life will be taken because of their sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood.’

I view my work with the Tenth Amendment Center as vital. I will continue to fight for liberty and constitutional fidelity as long as I have breath. It's that important. But I refuse to let those who would try to steal my liberty steal my joy as well. My joy comes from a greater source. No human being can steal my joy unless I let them.

And I won't.

Who knows what will happen down the road? My hope is that the people will wake up and reestablish constitutional restraints, that we will devolve power away from centralized, tyrannical structures, that we will stop the runaway spending and restore civil liberties. But that may never happen. It may get worse. Heck, somebody may decide I'm dangerous someday and lock me in a cage.

But you know what? Even then, I will still have joy. And I will live free. Because nobody can shackle my spirit. It has been set free for all eternity!

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and DO NOT LET yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery."

5 comments:

  1. Well said, Mike. Like you, I understand that liberty-minded folks have heaps of reasons to be grumpy, but if you let grumpy overwhelm the joy, the bad guys (i.e., socialists, central planners, Orwellians, progressives, Obamatrons and Paul Krugman) win.

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  2. Plus, being miserable is...well...miserable!

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  3. Hi there. I am neither a Christian, a Libertarian, nor a communist. I am an American citizen. It seems to me that many folk who claim to understand our history fail to comprehend basic historical fact about who our Founders were. They were not Christians. That said, we are ALL in the fight for freedom together-pagans, Jews, people of color, immigrants, the whole lot of us as well as people who pay attention to the core message of Jesus-to love thy neighbor as thyself, and to give up judgement. I call THAT a true Christian. The less time we spend calling each other names, the more time we spend gathering all allies in the effort to end the rampant overstepping of boundaries and trashing of the Constiution, the sooner our goals will be achieved.

    Let's face it. Government is a runaway train. Too many CITIZENS are justifying corruption, containment, and violations of the Law and the Constitution. They are using the I will get mine justification becausr our economic structure is inherently unequal and unfair. DemoRats and Rethuglicans alike are in on the fix and ALL OF US are paying their bloated salaries.

    It is time to impeach the whole lot of the Washington DC thieves, clean house in every state, establish state banks and publicly funded elections and figure out a better way to run this country. But we are ALL responsible for the mess we are in and blaming the group of the day is both counterproductive to the cause and puts us all right in the position that the Controller Class (Powers That Be, whatever you wanna call them) want us to be in. If we all consider the Us vs. Them mentality to be effective then we simply haven't learned the most basic tactic all fascists use to keep the people from exercising their GOD-GIVEN RIGHT to self determination.

    That tactic is Divide and Conquer. SURELY you have heard of this? We The People have more in common than the differences we should be celebrating. Get out a little and talk to those you imagine to be the Enemies of Freedom and you might be shocked to discover that you have been sadly misled. Love, light & liberty! From a fellow citizen, human being, woman, pagan, Truther, treelover activist!

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  4. And thank you for saying THE MOST IMPORTANT THING. Living inside the joy of every breath is what makes life worth living. That is what I really wanted to say. But I got caught up by the person criticising others and using terms that I question deeply. Please forgive me for that! The great work you are doing far overshadows the other issue I addressed but I also feel that keeping us apart and our failure to communicate kindly and compassionately with one another is one way that we are kept from achieving our true goal-to live in peace!!!

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  5. Thanks Mike! re: People often ask me, "Doesn't all of the political activism wear you down? Don't you feel like you're just beating your head against a wall?"

    Yup. -
    I used to work for an Aerospace division in Albuquerque, where trying to produce high quality electronics at a profit in a bean-counting mentality corporate world, we used the phrase: beating our heads against a wall ALL the time, and it used to be in a negative tone, until...
    I related a story from a friend who lived in the neighborhood just south of us where each backyard is separated from the next by cinder block walls. My friend had a pair of pit bulls that he kept in a kennel, consisting of an area chain link fenced off against the wall, with chain link over the top, and including their doghouse. A neighbor cat used to tease them by walking along the top of the wall making them bark like crazy! The dogs would then start banging their heads against the brick wall. Eventually the cat started defecating on the dogs through the chain link , which drove the dogs more wild, banging their heads against the wall, furiously taking turns hitting hit right under where the cat would perch. One day my friend came home and looked out his back window to find the cinder block wall crumbled and the dogs wandering the neighborhood... the cat could not be found!
    From that point on, when we faced bureaucratic idiocy, we would look at each other and say, "well, if we don't give up, then They are the cat!"

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