|2008-04-24 Columns |
Yost Chooses Heaven Instead Of Flo Rida
|April 24, 2008|
Never cut loose from your longings.
I have set before you life and death
now choose life.
Deuteronomy 30:19 (New International Version)
I think there were about 10 people last week who asked me if I was going to go see Flo Rida at N Club. In fact, I don't think they actually even asked I think they just presumed I was going because I almost always make it to N Club concerts because I like seeing concerts there.
So, when I indicated that I wasn't going, everyone was surprised, but they were even more surprised when I told them why I wasn't going to Flo Rida.
"You're not going?" they'd ask. "Why not?"
"Well," I'd say, "the concert's Friday night, and I'm taking my mom to see Joel Osteen that night."
Now, at this point I'd usually get one of two reactions.
(1) Some people would say: "Joel Osteen? Who's Joel Osteen?"
When that happened, I would tell them that he's only the most popular preacher in the country, and I would add that, if they didn't even know who Joel Osteen was, well, then I had profound concerns about the likelihood of the salvation of their eternal soul.
I mean, love him or hate him, if you don't even know the name of the most popular preacher in the country well, let's just say you're probably not going to be put at the head of the line when they're vetting people for heaven.
(2) Some of my friends did know who Joel Osteen was. Those people had a different reaction when I told them I was missing Flo Rida to take my mother to see Joel Osteen. Here's what the people in this category said
"No, Scott, seriously, what are you doing Friday night?"
Which is, incidentally, the same thing the other people the ones who didn't know who Joel Osteen was said right after I explained who he was.
So people arrived at this same point in the discussion by different routes, but eventually, everyone got around to the part where I was trying to convince them that I was serious.
Once I accomplished that, I got another question: "Well, OK, fine why are you taking your mother to see Joel Osteen?"
I was kind of offended that everyone was so utterly amazed. You know, it was like, alert the media, stop the presses, clear off A-1: Yost is doing something wholesome.
You shouldn't really need to give an explanation as to why you're taking your mother to Joel Osteen, but the answer I gave them all was this: "Because, when I die and go to meet my maker, and God is standing there looking over His notes on my life, and He looks up from them with this grim expression and asks me, considering what He's just read, to give him just one good reason why He shouldn't cast me straight into hell that very minute, I'll be able to pull out my ace in the hole
"Well, you know," I'll be able to say, "there was that time I passed up Flo Rida to take my mother to Joel Osteen."
So, while I won't have a lot to say in my defense and it might not be enough for them to let me in at least, when He asks me that, I won't have to stand there in total silence looking like the dog just ate my homework.
And God will probably respond with something like, "Well, if memory serves Me, that was in 2008 and at that time Flo Rida really only had one hit, so I mean it's not like you passed up Van Halen or whatever."
Anyway, here's the thing: I don't really think the single act of taking my mom to Joel Osteen will get me into heaven. The real reason I went was to get some inspiration.
Everyone, myself included, needs inspiration once in a while, and Joel Osteen is one of the few people who is constantly reminding people that even impossible things happen all the time and, no matter how bleak things look, everything can always turn on a dime.
And I'll tell you what he really did deliver inspiration to the packed Coliseum. I mean, it was just fantastic. Joel Osteen tells me the same things I know deep down and am constantly trying to remind myself of but it was just nice to hear it from someone else for a change.
Because the message you get from him is the exact opposite of the message you get every day from nearly everyone else in the world.
Each week I get free advice from Joel Osteen on Sunday nights at midnight on channel 20. And, every other week, I get advice from my therapist on Thursday mornings at 10:30 at a rate of $120 an hour.
The two of them usually give diametrically opposed advice and I almost always end up following the free advice from the TV evangelist rather than the $120-an-hour advice from the trained professional.
If you watch Joel Osteen, you already know his advice: You can have your best life now, the one God wants you to have. Nothing is impossible. If God has placed a desire inside you, then ignore the mountain of evidence in front of you that proves what you're attempting is impossible.
Joel Osteen calls it "waiting expectantly for a miracle." He doesn't say you should hope for a miracle he says you should expect one.
My therapist has a different phrase to describe that philosophy. He calls it "being in denial."
When my therapist talks about being in denial, he always makes it sound like that's a bad thing, but my point and I tell him this often is that sometimes being in denial is a good thing.
Anytime someone tells you you need to "face reality" regarding something very important to you, big warning signs should go off in your head, and you should be very skeptical of that advice. Reality is like everything else in life: If it doesn't feel right to you at the deepest level, it's a mistake to accept it.
I've written it before; God is not a cruel God, and He wouldn't put these things in your heart just to torture you. Joel has said it over and over again too, and he kept saying it last Friday night: The immense desires you have in your heart, the ones you can't shake no matter what, even though they conflict with reality well, they were put there for a reason. They were put there to give you drive and direction. God wouldn't make them so strong and intractable unless you were supposed to pursue them and unless there were some purpose in doing so.
The truth is that reality is one of the most overrated things in the world, and that's why often the best course of action is just to ignore reality completely. It's true that reality is often a big hurdle to get over; I just think people should stop making it out to be this giant, overwhelming monster that so many people make it to out to be.
Most people think that if you want something badly and it's impossible for you to have it, then you have to let go of what you want.
But, as with so many things in life, we have the whole thing exactly backward. The funny thing is that, when it comes to reality versus the deep desires God has put in your heart, there is something in the equation that's impossible to change, but it's not reality you can't change, it's the desire. That's the thing that you absolutely cannot budge.
Go ahead, try it.
Stop yourself from dreaming about that life you want. Stop wanting all those things you've always wanted for your life.
Good luck with any of that.
Also, pay attention to how sad and lifeless you become when you do that.
Now, try it the other way, and see how everything clears up. Say to yourself, it's not what I want what I desire that needs to change, it's reality that needs to change.
It's OK to say that, because reality is a lot softer and more malleable a lot more like warm butter than you think it is; it's not remotely as solid as it looks on first glance.
Someone once said it this way: "Reality always forms around commitment."
"In the natural," as Joel says, something might seem impossible but, "do everything you can do, and God will do what you can't do."
There's a great scene in the movie Creator, where the lead character, a medical research assistant named Boris, has a fiancee who ends up in a coma and the doctors have said it's irreversible and they're ready to take her off life support and let her die. And, right before they do, when he's on his knees begging them not to, Peter O'Toole, the brilliant but slightly off-the-wall research scientist, comes into the hospital room, a room that is filled with death and sadness, and he's smiling and hopeful and he's carrying a judge's order that buys them a little more time.
And he looks at the girl and then he looks at Boris and says, "Comas confuse me; she is not asleep; she is not dead." And then he adds, "So she must be alive, don't you think?"
And Boris says, "Yes," and smiles a little bit and suddenly everything is starting to change because of inspiration and hope, and that, of course, is the turning point.
Once hope walks into the room, everything changes; all bets are off.
If you look at the ancient origins of the word "inspiration," it means, "to breathe into" as in, to breathe life into something.
It's the vital ingredient in that shift from the moment when everything is hopeless to the moment when you say, "Maybe just maybe."
Almost 10 years ago, God put it in my heart, completely out of the blue, to work for a radio show. I was inspired out of nowhere to work for The Murphy in the Morning Show. And essentially, I just showed up at the station saying, "I'm here for my job," and everyone was nice but confused as to why I was even talking to them, and they would say stuff like, "Uh, well we don't have a job for you and, even if we did, you have absolutely no qualifications whatsoever," and I was completely unphased, and I was like, "Oh, I understand all that it's just that I'm here for my job."
I tried to let them know that I didn't understand the situation one bit either.
And it took awhile but eventually I was able to take the job that they didn't have for me and that I had no qualifications for.
Around that same time, my mother had stage four ovarian cancer and she was in a very bad way and getting worse every single day.
And my mother said to herself, "I'm not through taking care of my children, so I'm not gonna die yet."
And I know some people who saw her at the worst of it thought, even if they didn't say it, "You really need to face the reality of this
And I'm sure she understood the situation
it's just that she wasn't going to die yet because she wasn't through taking care of her children.
That was 10 years ago and now she's never been better.
I could go on and on with examples, but you know in your heart that what I'm saying is true and you see it all around you everyday if you're paying any attention at all: God is watching us, helping out.
Sometimes you simply need to tell reality no you need to let it know who's boss and reject it out of hand. The truth is that sometimes what reality has planned is totally unacceptable.
So instead of attempting the impossible that is, instead of trying to kill a desire God put in you just go with it, accept it, give it some life, let it breathe life into you; believe in it even though you can't see how it could possibly all work out.
And notice how, instantly, you get energy and then you're ready for the big fight that's coming.
Lock and load. Focus. Then just do whatever it takes. Start fighting. Run, walk, crawl toward what you want. Ignore the skeptics. Dodge and weave. Work. Outwit. Outlast. Outplay. Scramble, improvise. Get the puck to the net and start slamming away. Scrap. Refuse to lose. Endure. Persevere. Claw your way out. It's not over; all is not lost. Pray. Ask God to take note of how hard you're working and ask if He won't please help you out with some of the more impossible parts of the plan.
And stay at it until you feel reality start to give way under your pressure.
Your world can be the way it was meant to be. In fact, God wants it for you.
Here's another quote I like, "The only thing that stands between a person and what they want in life is the will to try it and the faith to believe it possible."
Amen, brother, amen.
Hold up your Bibles and say it with me