A warrior cry escaped from my burdened chest last night as I watched the story of freedom, defeat and self-discovery unfold on the movie screen. Genres of movies range from comedic to horrific but last night the movie “Into the Wild” was life changing. As young person living in a consumer driven society I identified with the simplicity of being a “leather-tramp.” I was able to learn something about the inherent need of man to be free while still being bound by the sin of this world, and I learned what it is to count all things as loss before my King.
The pursuit to living a simple life began last year at exactly this time. My desire is to be free from materialism, the fear of people’s opinions of me and my choices, and to not be tied down by “stuff.” As I labor in this world I want to enjoy the fruit of my toil, but not in things I can acquire. Rewards for my work as a wife are knowing I’m fulfilling my husband’s need to be taken care of and appreciated, seeing my children smile, learn, and grow, and having the satisfaction that everything I own can be gone tomorrow but I would still have a life of abundance.
Last night as I watched the movie I identified with so many of the choices Alexander, the protagonist, made. After his college graduation Alexander’s mother was anxious to share their plans of buying him a new car, but he vehemently argued to keep his Dotson. That night as he sat in his room, finalizing his college experience, he wrote a $24,000 check from his savings to a charity, shredded every piece of identification. and released himself from the bondage of possessions. Soon after he sacrificed the car he fought for by beginning his journey in a rushing flood in the desert.
We live in a fallen and depraved world and all of Creation is looking for release. Our souls cry out to be free, and we try to pacify our longing with things, experiences, and people. I watched last night as Alexander went searching for answers and fleeing from the norm; however, he always had to face the reality of himself and his history.
I can long for a different time and place, for different people and circumstance, but wherever I go there I am. The only freedoms I will ever have on Earth are knowing Christ, Him crucified, and my identity according to His sacrifice. As I watched Alex standing before the great Alaskan mountains I felt the diminutiveness of man compared to the greatness of God, and the humility of the realization caused my spirit to tremble.
In watching the film I learned how to breathe. I’m not going to backpack across the states or live in a bus on the side of a mountain, but I can surrender to the Creator who challenges me to lay down my idols. I can generously give and sacrificially live. What I have I can share and I can minimize my desires.
Simplicity isn’t in what I own, the size of my house, or in my appearance. Simplicity is where I put my value. My “wild” is the life I know here in suburbia. It is not tackling a bear, but my ability as a housewife. The challenge is to battle my demons and fight a good fight so my children don’t have to. To love and invest in both my friends and my enemies as Jesus Himself would. My “wild” is being fiercely intimate with people in ways that my fears have always kept me from. Sharing in the joy and sorrows of man as I give a voice to the atrocities of man against creation. If I lose sight of the importance, and fail to praise my wondrous God, I pray that the points of distraction will be stripped from me, and I will be pulled from my comfort.