a lion shorn

Dr, Gary, Davis, Clueless, Christianity, NEEDinc, new, year, aslan, Narnia, resolve, resolutions, help, strength, setback, despairFacing a new year always brings hope for new beginnings, fresh starts, and a revived spirit. We make resolutions to change things, to do the right thing, to gain in character and lose in poundage. This is right and good. The real test comes at the first setback, the first impediment to our efforts; that alarm clock, the snow storm, the pain that doesn’t seem to work its magic on the gain (weight, that is).

We start off as a great lion, ready to defend our pride, ready to battle the aggressor, ready to provide and persevere. We roar; ready to take on all who might thwart us in our dreams. Though the hunters be many, we will avoid their assaults and elude their snares. Our hearts are steeled on what lies ahead!

Nonetheless, within the next 12 months something will come upon you that will crush your strength, undermine your resolve, and quench your spirit. Your roar will be quelled to a pathetic meow and you will cower in a corner somewhere, trying to escape or slink into anonymity. You will be tempted to give up and call it quits.

But that is not what you were designed for.

Remember Aslan of the C.S. Lewis NARNIA books. A lion, shorn of his mane, emptied of his strength, bound and lying powerless on the ancient table of sacrifice. Then…, slain. But he did not stay there. He rose up, greater than before. Ready to do battle. Ready to protect his own. Full of power and might. THIS is what we are made for! Not whimpering, nor cowering. Rather, for overcoming and conquering, in strength and with great graciousness.

So, this year, when the conflicts come, when the confusion overwhelms, and entering a cloister seems the only sensible thing to do, remember Aslan, who eschewed retreat, and reentered the fray. You may despair and believe you are a lion shorn of his mane and strength. But you can arise from the ancient alter and once again rise to greatness. You may need a little help doing it; but that is true for all of us.

For what it’s worth,



Since we’re on the topic..

I was talking with a friend, and we got on the subject of life’s baggage.  We both remarked at the amount of “life baggage” we can build and have to drag along with us year after year. He was acutely aware of how his own baggage had recently affected his life and those he loved. He wished so much had been different. I understood.

A lot of us, as we accumulate our own little pile of life-baggage, get to a point when we just want to dump it all. So we quit: we quit our jobs, we quit our relationships, we move, re “re-make” ourselves.  We think we have jettisoned our past, our baggage; but it’s still there, weighing us down. I spoke with a writer today, just a casual conversation on the streets of Northampton, who had so much to give, so much creativity, so much life left. But at 50 years old (or so) there seemed to be Gordian knots all intertwined within, binding him in his own frustration.

Baggage, left unchecked, gets heavier as time passes.

For my friend, he felt like his whole past was dragging him down, holding him back, weighing on him. How about you? Do you feel like your life’s baggage is piling up—on top of you?

In some ways, I think our baggage is just other people unwilling to forgive us: then again, it may also be us, unwilling to forgive ourselves. We can be dumb that way, always beating ourselves up and then acting surprised that we have bruises. Duh.

But, more realistically, a lot of our life-baggage are the mistakes, the screw-ups, the devastation, the unresolved relationships we have left behind us that haunt us. And there is nobody to blame but ourselves. WE are the ones who packed our own bags with all that crap. Admit it—you’re not as perfect as you would like to think you are, or what you want others to think you are. Neither am I.

But frankly, sometimes, as the saying goes, “shit-happens.” You get the point. You feel like the whole world just comes down on you and you’ve done nothing to deserve “this.”

At other times people whom we believed to be true friends, have betrayed us, used us, or abandoned us in our hour of need. This is one of the most devastating scenarios in the world. It hurts deeply. But we have to deal with it. We have to! It’s a heavy piece of luggage.

So, here is a little “Baggage-Check” for you.

1)     Make sure it’s YOUR baggage. If you’re got to drag around life-baggage, at least make sure it’s really yours—your mess-ups, your wrecked relationships, your lies, and not someone else’s.

2)     Own up to your past. If you have made a mess of things in the past admit it. If you’re not sure you made a mess of things—ask. You could be carrying around someone else’s bags.

3)     Forgive yourself—finally. You cannot correct the past. You can seek forgiveness; you can offer reparation, make amends, etc, but you cannot change what was done.

4)     It could be that some things have happened in the past, a tragic experience, a loss of a loved one, an accident, something, that you need to move beyond. You may want to seek some professional help for that. At least start to pray about it. God does listen; you may not like his advice, but he listens like a friend.

5)     Similarly, some things may have been done to you in the past that turned you bitter, resentful, or just defeated you in general. They’re hard to let go of, aren’t they? Many people seek revenge for the rest of their lives; or they just cut off all communication with the offending party. I guess I would ask, “Why?” Carrying this kind of baggage will not only weaken your right arm, it will eventually cripple you, and kill you. Aren’t you more of a person than that? I think so.  Ask yourself, “Can I forgive this person, deep down? Even if they never know it?” Or maybe they do need to know it. Healing is a wonderful thing.

6)     You CAN change the future, and yourself. What is it, exactly, that you want to change? How are you going to do it? Do you need a friend who can help you out?  Friends are cool. [Remember, a friend will help you move. But a true friend will help you move a body.]

7)     Let it go. I think some people let their past gnaw away at them, eating away at their souls. Don’t let the dumb things you’ve done in your past drag you down and eat you up.

Dump the baggage. You need to move on to whatever it is God has designed you for next.

By the way, LL Bean makes a nice set of Ballistic Luggage; really sturdy stuff that can take a lot of beating. Great for future travels.