The Maze: Part 2, Going In

Inside the building for the maze, I didn’t see anything too alarming.  Yes, I knew the maze was based on a horror movie, but there were black-and-white TV screens showing people inside the maze, and it just looked to me like your regular, ordinary, everyday cornstalk maze, only without the cornstalks.  I could handle that.

I remember Mom asking a wise question at this timely moment like, “Are you sure you want to do this?  It might be scary.”

I hate scary.

For most of my life, I did not do life.

I had a good start.  I had a childhood full of friends and adventures, but all of the sudden, at about 10, there came this sharp cut-off point.  I tried to be popular and it just didn’t work.  I tried to be liked and that worked even less, I think because I struggled so much with my own self-worth.

By my teenage years, no one needed to ask me about life, “Are you sure you want to do this?  It might be scary.”  No one needed to ask me, because I didn’t do life.

My “life” was video games, TV, and hoping for what I didn’t have.  I was lonely, lonely, lonely.  I became afraid of being around peers, and I wanted to avoid social situations altogether.  On the outside, I don’t think people saw me as who I was at all.  Around people, I was usually very outgoing.  I grinned all the time.  I had a grin on my face that was became so much a part of who I was pretending to be, I wouldn’t even realize I would be grinning as I talked about serious stuff.  I had more and more anxiety about social situations.

College gave me a chance to “start over”–or so I thought.  I was better fitting in at college, but, unfortunately, many of the few guys who liked me liked me more like a toy than a human being.  I actually was pretty disappointing to them, because, even though I was a pleaser, I didn’t give myself away.  I can’t tell you why I didn’t other than the pure grace of God.

When my dad got sick, it gave me an excuse to be socially reclusive.  I could tell people I needed to spend time with him.  Really, I would go home and watch anime cartoons and play computer games to earn points for digital pets.  That was my “life”.  I didn’t go out with people, and the less I did, the more anxious I got about trying.  I was careful to go into churches after they started and leave before they ended, even though I really desperately wanted someone to come over and befriend me.  I tried to make it in a college outreach program, but, it didn’t work.  Even though there were people who liked me–including a close friend I still have today–I didn’t believe it was possible.  I didn’t like myself.

I didn’t know what life was supposed to be, but I knew I didn’t want to do it.  I didn’t feel good and I didn’t want to feel good.  I was in a real mess, all right.

Then there came this sudden changing point in my life.  It wasn’t where I decided I wanted to do life–it wasn’t that at all.  Instead, it was where I saw someone else wanting to do life–wanting to do a very dangerous life–and I heard myself asking, warning, “Are you sure you want to do this?  It’s going to be scary.”

That person was Jesus Christ.  I was beginning to realize that He had chosen to go into the most wretched maze of life of all–one that would end in sure death.  And, even though I knew the cross had already happened, I felt myself asking, “Are you sure you want to do this?”

I wondered, when Jesus had died on that cross, could He really have possibly meant that death was also for me?

I became surer and surer, and not because I got smarter and smarter on my own or read a bunch of self-help books or went to counseling.  None of that stuff worked for me, not for what I needed most, and what I needed only: for someone to have gone in my own maze ahead of me, and to have made an exit.

Because the reason why I didn’t want to enter into my own life was that I knew there was no exit.  I knew it.  So why would I ever want to go into a maze knowing there was no way back out?

When I knew Jesus had gone into the maze ahead of me . . . when I knew He had made an exit . . . it didn’t require one bit of bravery on my part to enter into life.

I simply followed Him.

“Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (Jesus, quoted in John 16:33B, NLT)

Published in: on October 23, 2011 at 8:45 pm  Leave a Comment  
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