Friday, May 2, 2014

In Defense of the Pursuit

A long piece, and one that has been simmering in my head for quite a while, shaping my day-to-day life. It pertains quite specifically to the masculine nature, which I feel I’ve been missing for much of my life. In my choices in life, I've left danger and uncertainty to others, ascribing instead to vent my ideologies and understandings to the abstract – so that nobody can directly challenge my knowledge or understanding. This has led me to be quite amateur in the standard masculine field of experience – not devoid of any particular skill (though I lament the inability to wield and understand many heavy and light tools, and have a myriad of skills I am devoid of knowledge of), but rather an innocence in the field altogether. Much like a child initially shies away from things, I've developed a deep-rooted sense of security in pacifism.

In short, I saw the masculine nature of danger and responsibility and became frightened with it. I hid – and because I was quite amazing at avoiding responsibility, I excelled at hiding. I don't know how, but at any possible moment in my childhood that responsibility beckoned, I saw it as the possibility of mistake and cried “begone!” and hid.

In later years, I subconsciously realized this fear – and parodied it in my life. Instead of hiding and being afraid of people (who were a prime source of responsibility and possibility of failure), I took a farcical approach to my fear: if I was afraid of people thinking me a failure, I would let down all preconceptions and portray myself as the failure. I would be the savior of the outcast by being happy to be the outcast.

I wasn't a very intelligent young boy.

Here I had a deeply rooted fear of challenge, and a misconception that my belittling would be my freedom. This persisted through half my high school career, then I learned about achievement. Professor Otieno was the Computer Science teacher at the school, but to me he was so much more. If you want to sign up for a computer class and have life lessons bestowed on you as an added bonus, this man will give that. In the four years at Mount Pisgah, this man's imbued me with the self-confidence that I desperately needed – but never knew I did. He was very blunt; whereas other professors did not feel the need to invest in a student's mental complications, Mr. O reveled in embracing my social ineptitude and was a source of consistent and profound comfort and support. He would always tell me to think more of myself, and he will always rank among the most influential people of my life. I get the feeling his and my lives are not yet through influencing each other, and I am anxious for the day he can continue to influence me.

This is all to say that though I missed out on much of my developmental understanding in the social field, one thing was not lost: self confidence. Were it not for Mr. O (and various other titans in my life), I would not have structured my self-worth on something other than worldly things.

So high school ended, and I found myself alone. I picked up project after project, each new one challenging myself. I found life in these challenges – finally the ineptitude of my youth was being addressed in the Spring and Summer of my collegiate years. It was in these years that I came to a realization: in my youth, I had no pursuit.

A man requires a pursuit: that's one of the many reasons Christ is so appealing to me. My pursuit for Him ends with my last breath, and so he will always be a source of life for me. A man's pursuit is his life source. A project is a source, and I've engaged in many. Every project I start challenges me, and I’ve yet to finish many of them. My current project is also my most expansive, and most daunting: a narrated storyboard, utilizing animated images in an aesthetic manner to provide an engaging story. I'm alive with this pursuit now, but I know it won't last. This is not an end, but a means to an end.

A man needs pursuit. I lust for that pursuit. Pornography isn't a pursuit. Porn is the opposite – you sit, and it comes to you. Porn is the taste of orange juice and milk in my mouth, because every time I look at it, I stick another knife in my pursuit. I stick another knife in my love, in my passion, in my Jesus.

Porn, and all other sins, also damages your woman. That singularly spectacular woman that Christ Created and placed on Earth, weaving your and her life together intentionally, as if to say, “My child, here is your pursuit; this is the passion I have placed in this world for you to lust after, as I lust after you. Pursue her, as you and I pursue one another.”

I hate that porn has been in my life, and still slings to me. Because of unrighteous lust, I have been clouded. I cannot trust myself to pursue a woman, because the responsibility of such a pursuit daunts me. I have thought myself able to pursue, and been shamed into admitting I am not.

But I will not end this on a depressing note. Instead, I stand currently hopeful and expectant of freedom. I wake every day telling myself the best day of my life is today, and since then, I’ve been raising the bar on the best day of my life every day of my life. The pursuit of love and God is not dead, friends. Find a pursuit, something you are daunted by. Do it. Engage, pursue, and let that pursuit drive you.

Because a man without a pursuit is a lion in a cage. Eventually, the lion doesn't think he's a lion anymore. The lion is dangerous, and so it it kept in the cage. A lion in a cage, however, is not a lion; this large, prideful animal is not large, or prideful. The pursuit in its eyes has drowned in the drab of its cage. It longs for the plains it cannot remember.

This lion has its key, but it feels powerless – not being able to lunge, it doesn't know how; not being able to prowl, to hunt, to pursue... it forgets how and thinks it cannot. And this lion, should it be set free, will go awry many times. It may die in its pursuit. But in dying, the lion will die knowing it is a lion. Brothers, the pursuit awaits.

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