The Burden of Self
The maintenance and upkeep for just one person living in America is not easy. Between taxes, rent, student loans, cell-phone and car payments, medical insurance, self-image and style, clothing and appearance, peer-pressure and social or career status just to name a few major things, it’s difficult to keep up and sometimes even harder to keep track. In “The Land of The Free” we live completely under the burden of ourselves, a sort of slavery that is the furthest thing from freedom. We have no choice but to be forced into a system and a society that is utterly self-consumed and has to be in order to survive in it.
Oswald Chambers wrote that if a person gives in to selfishness, they will find it to be the most enslaving tyranny on earth. There’s nothing more incredible than having your perspective flipped on its head. When I first returned from Africa back in 2006, I realized with a new set of eyes that I had unknowingly lived in bondage. It was heartbreaking because I was suddenly made aware of the truth while others went about their lives completely unconscious of the slavery, having never known.
In 2012 it hit me even harder since I had graduated college and was truly entering into working society within western civilization. And now, in 2014, it couldn’t be more clear.
From the second I entered U.S. airspace and the plane touched down on the tarmac at Philadelphia International Airport, my cellphone buzzed and beeped with tweets, Facebook messages and notifications, unread email updates, missed calls and voice-mails while bank statements and bills waited for me in the mailbox at my apartment. This is what we define as freedom.
A self-centered culture that’s run by money to the point where its elected officials are bought and paid for and everything is for sale including the very laws of the land.
It was no wonder my heart got away from me back in 2006 on the first night in Nairobi. I had experienced the abundant life. And the more I grew up in western civilization, the more that life of freedom became more and more clear with each return trip to the African continent.
Imagine a life where you didn’t have to live under the burden of self. What immense freedom that would be, to not have to live for you but rather for the good of others. You wouldn’t have the worries and maintenance and upkeep to perpetually take care of because you would be completely free of yourself. Such a life exists, at least to some extent, and people like Rebecca have found that and have abandoned the slavery of western civilization for the riches and the freedom of the third world.
My advice to every person living in this false freedom of western culture would be to go, book a ticket, make the trip, and just do it. Break free from the chains that bind you, even though you probably don’t realize right now that you’ve been bound. But I promise, once you do, you’ll never be the same. You’ll question everything and will battle with perspective for the rest of your life. You will be ruined forever, but you will be so thankful you are and wouldn’t want it any other way. Because the truth sets a person free, even if it is dreadfully beautiful.