Individualism. I always thought this was just a snazzy word that some emo kid made up. But, apparently… I was wrong. Seriously though, at what point did we all become so engulfed in our own egocentric thoughts? The thoughts that are based around the importance of standing out… how did we all get so sucked into this idea of individualism & the importance of it? Because unfortunately, at the root of it all, I don’t think I really believe in individualism. I don’t believe for a minute that we’re all different. We all have the same motives. We are all selfish jerkos, that need to be knocked off our pedestals. We all suck.

I was doing a bit of research and found out that the idea of individualism was actually based on Christian concepts, which were renewed during the European Reformation. Individualism is a doctrine, which believes that the greater end of society is the promotion of the general welfare & recognition of man. In all reality, individualism is consumed around the moral obligation of the state to help man achieve as much as possible. St Thomas defined the individual as, “quod est in se indivisum, ab aliis vero divisum.” Which means, a being undivided in itself but separated from other beings. This definition is actually quite interesting to me, considering the teachings of the bible. Aren’t we all suppose to be bound together as brothers and sisters through Christ?

I swear I’m not trying to be a negative Nancy, or a Debbie Downer. I’m kind of just now sorting through this whole idea as I write. I’ve been feeling extremely convicted on my thoughts & some behaviors since I’ve moved back to Maine. And I’ve been so consumed in this thought that I’m so different here- that no one understands me- not even my family. To be honest, it’s not that I really had that much of a problem with this.  I mean, I’ve seen this pattern throughout my life, never really feeling like I ‘fit-it’ anywhere. I moved from California, to Texas, Virginia, Tennessee, Maine, South Carolina and Maine, again. So, from the time I was 6 months old, I’ve been bouncing around from State to State, town to town, to different groups. Never really having that one place you feel completely comfortable- and for some reason, I like that feeling. I love change, I love “newness.” However, moving back here has been significantly different than anything I’ve experienced, because I feel complete isolation from my family- and this hurts my heart. I’ve noticed those feelings of isolation have heightened my perception of individualism & it’s importance. I’m not saying it’s not important to have hobbies and yes I know everyone is “different” on some level. What I’m talking about is on a deeper level. That we all walk around thinking we have to shout how great we are, because we possess a certain skill or talent that GOD gave us. However, on a molecular level we are simply the same.

I guess these feelings were really triggered last night at FUSION. I’ve been helping out with East Point Church’s youth group. The band Ignition played and in the middle they stopped the show to play a short message. The message was based around how small, measly & insignificant our lives really are. We are small, God is huge. Yet, so often I see things backwards. I see my life as big, important & oh-my-gosh if a stick gets thrown at me on roller-blades and I fall… seriously. Everyone stop, HOLD THE PHONE, help me, make me feel better. My thoughts are important, my hobbies are important, my life is so big and important and when I’m hurt or sad… focus on me, me, me. Ugh, I can be so annoying.

I think this picture pretty much sums up how we all feel. We all feel like we are the ones holding the Earth in our hands and it’s about us. It should turn when we choose to turn it and the sun should come up when we say so. However, it’s not in our hands and going back to the sermon from last night, if you pull your nose away from your own life, look at the the big picture from far away, do you see yourself and your story anywhere on that Earth? I don’t know about you, but I don’t see myself anywhere. Sorry, I’m getting carried away. Mostly, because I am so convicted by my own selfish tendencies that I just cannot get away from.

It really is amazing to me that a perfect, sinless man came to die for each of us. Regardless, of your beliefs that Jesus was the son of God, historical accounts and Scholars agree, that Jesus in fact was a real person, who walked the earth and he was crucified. That’s not up for debate. Jesus was crucified under the Roman leader, Pontius Pilate. Pilate didn’t even want to put Jesus to death. He only did so because it was either Jesus who died, or him. This man came, lived a selfless life that was not based on individualism, but on love & unity and this is what our selfish human tendencies did to him. All because his teachings made us uncomfortable…

I’m sorry if this makes anyone uncomfortable. I’m sorry if you don’t share the same beliefs. But this image, gets me every time. That a real being, someone who walked this earth only to help us, to care & love us, died for each of us and yet we still constantly are living our lives, demanding to be put up on our darn pedestals. God, can you please take me off mine? I’m sick and tired of living for me- I’m sick and tired of thinking the entire point of this world is to satisfy my needs.

James 4: 13-15

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.