Monday, 7 January 2013

Do it anyway

Tell me what I said I'd never do
Tell me what I said I'd never say
Read me off a list of the things I used to not like but now I think are ok
Sometimes it's not subjective: wrong and right
Deep down you know it's downright wrong but you're invincible tonight
So you
Do it anyway
It's done
You did it

Ben Folds has a knack of stating quite perceptive truths in songs where you're not really looking for them and can easily miss them. This is a prime example of this.  

I've spent a bit of time over Christmas thinking about this issue of our inability to live up to our own standards and I guess this song is all about that experience we have. We make our internal rules in our heads - I will do X, I will do W but I will never do Y or Z
- X is o.k. but Y is definitely not
but then all of a sudden we find that we have done Y. It's the truth of life. Sometimes it's not subjective wrong or right. It's not something which other people think is wrong but we think is ok it's something which we think is wrong but which we do anyway. The big question is why is this? Why do we not even live up to the standards which we have decided? After all if we've decided them then surely it should only be natural for us to keep them.

I guess there are a number of reasons for this. Sometimes we just don't care, sometimes we want to feel bad, sometimes we simple capitulate to external pressures. However, I wonder if one of the key reasons is our desire to maintain control over our lives. As we desperately try to stay in control of our ever more chaotic lives all of a sudden someone at work says 'did you do that thing which I asked you to' you can feel control slipping out of your fingers so you say 'yes' and move on. Then on the way home you clip a car and you know you should stop but it didn't look like anything serious and you know it'll cost you a fortune and so you just keep driving. We may have decided that lying is wrong and that clipping a car and not stopping is wrong but when faced with the reality that this will threaten both my degree of control and appearance of control we just do it anyway.  

The truth is that if you make yourself the ruler of your own life you will surprise yourself with the things you are willing to do in order to desparately try to maintain that position. The Bible suggests that our desire to rule our own lives will always lead to these conflicts between the things we say we'd never do and the things we need to do to try to keep control. The Bible asserts that actually when we finally abandon that need for control and allow Jesus to rule our lives we ironically find freedom from the tyranny caused by trying to attain a control which is never more than an illusion.