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The Deep Dive

The Deep Dive October 7, 2021

Currently sitting up in my bed overlooking the resort pool in Las Vegas.

Last day here.

Time is so messed up in my head.

The three hour difference has caught up.

Just when we are ready to head home.

So I sit here.

Contemplating life,

Like ya do.

Shin splints from walking so much.

In the last four days, we’ve seen it all.

And the thoughts turn over and over in my head.

What is this all about?

What are we doing here?

Is any of this real?

I remember having a good friend of ours explain Vegas to us years ago.

She said it’s all beautiful on the outside.

The lights, the money, the glamour.

But, as you go deeper in?

It gets darker.

The deeper you go, the darker it gets.

Satan likes to dress up the lies.

Make it all look real good on the outside.

Lure us in.

And then take us all for a ride.

Jesus on the other hand?

He was nothing to look at.

On the outside, no beauty to be seen.

But, the deeper you go with him?

The lighter it gets.

Yep.

I see this.

But… and this is a big BUT…

Last night when I couldn’t sleep,

I got to thinking about the institution of the church.

What it has been built up to be.

See where I’m going with this?

It’s all glamorous on the outside.

Dressed up real pretty.

Looking in?

What’s not to love?

So we jump.

Head first into the deep end.

Leadership roles.

Theology courses.

Conferences and podcasts.

And at first, it feels so good.

For me?

I just wanted to go deeper.

Give me more and more Jesus.

However, it wasn’t so much about Jesus.

It was about building a kingdom…

Just not Jesus’ kingdom.

One time we had a sweet lady tell us not to get to close to the leadership at a certain mega church.

She had been on the inside.

“Admire it from afar”.

Wait, what?

Why?

The preaching is amazing.

The songs make me feel close to God.

They are telling us if we give up everything for Jesus, we will find life.

They are saying how blessed we will be if we just give our time and treasure.

And they all look pretty blessed, ya know?

The leadership is looking happy.

The spotlight makes them look real good.

I want that.

I want that life.

That spotlight.

That kind of “living for Jesus”.

Blessed beyond measure.

Popular.

Thriving.

Ok, Kev… let’s sell our house.

Move to a new city.

Live a radical life.

Whatever it takes.

Wait… it isn’t adding up.

They are lying.

Even if they don’t mean to be.

They are caught up in the fame.

Why wouldn’t they be?

I am too.

I need to give more.

Sacrifice more.

Submit to the leadership.

Do what they say.

Even if it isn’t adding up.

I’m sure I just need to go in deeper.

Die to self.

If I die to myself, then I can live.

Then they will see me dying to myself.

And then I can be a leader like them.

Live a life them.

A little longer, a little more sacrifice.

The way up?

Is down.

Give more to get more.

Pray more.

Tithe more.

Sing more.

Sever more.

Have more faith.

The burdens are heavy.

We are giving our all.

Volunteering all we can.

The leadership gets paid.

We don’t.

Which is fine, because someday we will be them.

On the other side.

It will be so nice.

So fun.

And should I say “glamorous”?

Except?

It just isn’t.

We ended up having some leadership roles.

We led some people.

Told them to follow us.

Go deeper.

Give more.

Sacrifice it all.

Promised them a life of freedom…

Just on the other side.

Instead of helping them see they are already free.

How could we help them?

We weren’t free yet either.

Or so we thought.

Until we realized for ourselves.

The freedom is here.

The freedom is now.

The kingdom of Jesus is here and now.

And it isn’t about the institution.

It’s not about all the glamour and fame.

It’s simply about living loved.

Knowing we are loved.

Right in this moment.

No more seeking.

No more striving.

Being able to look out the window of the hotel, knowing I already have it all.

And being able to look you in the eye.

Not wanting anything from you.

Not needing you to help me be a leader.

Not needing to help you be famous.

Just be loved.

It’s so simple.

Not all dressed up in lights and fame.

Not about what others think of us.

All about living loved.

Jesus loves me this I know.

Simple and easy.

Maybe for today?

We can cease striving.

Enjoy the moment.

Look up and look around.

No more lies.

No more scams.

No more trying to get to the top.

Living life today.

Loving others.

Living loved.

 

Karen R Shock resides in Fort Wayne, IN with her husband and their youngest son. She had three more children who are married and four beautiful grandchildren. Oh, and a dog name JT Barrett (Go Bucks). She is a retired homeschool mom and is now a high school teacher and cheer coach. Life is hard, but fun.


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