Words To Die By

‘Better to burn out than fade away’.

I heard this on the radio earlier and thought to myself, ‘What a pile of crap’. Sorry, but it is.

As a line on a t-shirt it might look alright, but as a life strategy it stinks. It stinks if you’re comparing yourself to supermum, trying to take your kids to tai chi and maintain your sanity. It stinks if you’re director of the board, siphoning your strength into a company that’ll spit you out as soon as you’re past it. It stinks if you’re pounding pavements and necking dung-juice in an attempt to stay beautiful. It stinks if you’re snorting, gulping, starving or slicing yourself into oblivion. It stinks if you’re a church worker, ‘burning out for the Lord’. It stinks if you’re a rock star or a doorman. And it stinks for those around you, picking up the pieces.

‘All or nothing’, ‘perfection or death’ ‘live fast, die young’. Lies, lies, lies.

I’m angry about this because I’ve fallen for it myself, over and over. No-one wants to be mediocre. But the quest for perfection never ends. And whose perfection do we want?

If we’re good-looking, then it’s about appearances and sex. Palpable eroticism – the glossy lips that scream look, LOOK. Just don’t touch. The power of the brushed contact. The lingering glances. The wedding ring, dropped in the pocket. Modesty? Modesty is for the ugly. Use it, or lose it.

Madness. Yeah, those floosies are pathetic, tarting themselves up and pimping their bodies out. Disgusting. Not like you. You’re smart. Educated, ambitious, a thinker. Able to prove yourself in the boardroom, just like you did in the classroom.  There’s no article you haven’t read. No argument your brain can’t skewer. Results, that’s what matters. You’re going to get to the top – and then you’ll rest.

Or maybe you’re a bit deeper.  For you, it’s all about people. You pour yourself into others and you’ll never stop.You’re the mother every child deserves, the trophy wife, the devoted daughter. Relationships, that’s the point. You need to be needed and to do. If you can’t be a helper, you’re nothing. But who are you helping?

Busy, busy, busy. Keep the wheels going, keep striving, earn your worth. Life’s short, so make the most of it. Choose your purpose and then sink everything into making it happen. Whatever you do, don’t stop. Don’t settle for average. Better to burn out than fade away.

(Image: ‘Live Fast, Die Young’ by Leo Cohen. http://leocohen.visualartist.blogspot.com)

5 thoughts on “Words To Die By

  1. There’s not peace, is there with ’All or nothing’, ‘perfection or death’ or, the one I tend to live by: 2nd place is LOSING.
    God, please give us your grace, peace and wisdom…

  2. No – no peace at all. But like you’ve prayed, peace is possible – as a free gift from God, not something we can ever earn.

  3. “…and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which he had made.”Gen.2:2-3 Isn’t it amazing how we ignore one of the basic foundations of our faith, as if God was just kidding? Resting in God is not just a command, it is his gift to us! An opportunity to retell the creation story to ourselves and others. A reminder that we are man, made in the image of God, the crown of all creation. But how often we prefer to be our own god, ” burning out” on our own alters. Great post!

  4. Absolutely – so often I equate rest with weakness, when actually it sometimes takes more to stop than to keep going. I’m clear on God’s commands re: murder etc., but rest can seem like an optional extra.

  5. Only losers need a break, right? For me this is connected to that other lie about earned salvation, and if I’m good enough I have the right to be here, breathing air. I resist believing that God is good and gives stuff away. Yes, this “burning” business reveals a certain worldview, from the lips of Satan if you ask me.

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