To Be Ready or Not

Earlier this week, I was doing a reading for my Liberal Democracy class, Democracy In America by Alexis De Tocqueville. Prior to this particular reading, I will admit that I never really enjoyed this book, but the reading resonated with me. In Democracy in America, Tocqueville is basically observing America’s point of origin, democratic social state, and what makes democracy work for America. He is also trying to convince his fellow Frenchmen that democracy isn’t a bad thing and that democracy and religion can be compatible. In France, there is a group of people who oppose democracy and there is a group of people who don’t. By describing America’s democratic revolution and ascribing it to God, he hopes that he can get the two groups to stop fighting and accept that democracy is here to stay. That was just to give you some background, so back to this particular reading. 

In this reading, Tocqueville was essentially saying that religion and democracy are compatible because religion, Christianity, allows one to look towards the future. Without religion, he believes that people simply focus on the present which limits them. He then said something similar but in not those exact words of Pascal’s Wager about God which was, “If God really does not exist, and we believe that God does exist, we essentially lose nothing. If God really does not exist, and we believe that God doesn’t exist, we essentially gain nothing.” This really had me reflecting on my spiritual life and my relationship with God, and how much I do want to be ready when He returns. 

Many people will often scorn the lifestyle and the beliefs of Christians, and I will admit that there are times in my life where I’d rather have my way than God’s way. However, whenever I’m tempted to deviate or stray from God and my relationship with Him, I always present myself with a wager: Is it better to live the way you know you ought to and be ready, or to experience momentary pleasure or gratification and not be ready? There are even times when I try to convince myself that God doesn’t exist just so I can do what I want to do, but then the “what if He does ” lingers in my mind and I get mad at myself for even doing that because I know better. I know that God does exist. However, I wrote this article with those in mind that don’t believe that God exists. 

The desires of my heart may not currently be the desires of your heart, and they might not ever be, which is fine. Your choices are only your own. With that being said, I think it's good to use this time of self-isolation to really identify the priorities in your life and the changes you may need to make. Those changes for me are God-related. I’ve been using this time to study my Bible and other Christianity-related books more. I’ve also been journaling to God, which I believe has really helped me to progress. 

To be ready, or to not be ready? I think it is a difficult question, but at the same time, it is an easy one. You never know when your life will end, and contrary to pop culture, you won’t be forever young. For me, this is an easy question because when I think about life after death, I know I don’t want to spend it in an environment of eternal loss: I want to go to Heaven.  Moreover, what I find amazing about this is that God loves us so much that he gives us the choice to love him back. I’ve realized that I would rather be ready than to not be. During this time, my eyes have been [you could say] opened and I’ve learned to appreciate Him more, as well as those on whose backs our country is resting. 

FINAL THOUGHTS

In Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Win Friends & Influence People, he discovers a study on runaway wives. He discovered that wives ran away due to a “lack of appreciation”. Oftentimes, we take our families and friends for granted; we never let them know that we appreciate them and what they do for us. A woman who was a part of a self-improvement group asked her husband to let her know six things that she could do to become a better wife. The husband told her that he needed some time to think, and he would give her an answer in the morning. The next morning, the husband called a florist and had six bright red roses sent to his wife with a note saying: “I can’t think of six things I would like to change about you. I love you the way you are.” When the other women of the group found out that he did that, they came to him and said, “That was the most considerate thing I have ever heard of.” 

It is important during this pandemic to show appreciation to your loved ones, but don’t stop there. Show your appreciation and gratitude to our health care workers, teachers, custodial and sanitation workers, and grocery workers. Write thank you letters, donate to fundraisers or charities. When you show your appreciation, not only will the person feel good, you will feel good as well. Now more than ever is the time to be kind to one another, to love and to encourage each other.

 

Maya Angelou 

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people  will never forget how you made them feel.”

 

Hebrews 12:1

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”

 

Hebrews 10:24

“Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.”

 

Ephesians 4:32

“Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”

 

This article is dedicated to my friend Danielle Atangana. I appreciate you.