We make our own luck in this world?

Driving with my kids last week I heard 15-year old Bea’s Miller’s hit, Youngblood.   Have you heard it?  She’s got a feisty spirit and a great voice, and her chorus rings out:BeaMillerYoungBlood

We’ve got young blood / Can’t destroy us / We make our own luck in this world / We’ve got young blood / No one chose us/ We make our own life in this world

I’m pondering her sentiments.  I think they reflect some of her generation’s response to the uncertainty they encounter in a post 9/11, post-economic downturn of 2008, postmodern world.  She sings:

But in dark times when we close our eyes / It’s a nightmare, it’s a nightmare / When the sun don’t shine we lose our mind / But I swear, we can get there

For her and her friends, some systems have crumbled.  There’s violence in places that didn’t used to be so violent—-schools, for example.  It’s confusing to try and cobble meaning together from millions of disconnected sound-bytes and images and hashtags a day.  It’s hard to know who to trust.

I think she’s also channeling a popular philosophy that I think puts a great deal of pressure on modern people:  the social construction of reality that forms identity.  If we swallow this, in an individualistic and capitalistic culture such as ours, it means that we all must work to invent and define and present ourselves in a way that “sells.”  

What I learn from Jesus is different.  We receive our life from God.  We don’t have to construct it.  It’s given to us.  Yes, we’re all making choices, but they can be a response to our belovedness and chosenness.  Then they are more than a reaction to our broken systems.  We are loved by God.  We’re worthwhile simply because we….are.  All of us are, in fact, chosen—-not chosen in the sense that others are not chosen, as our competitive world might suggest.  We are chosen in the way that Henri Nouwen describes:

” The great spiritual battle begins—and never ends—with the reclaiming (or rejecting) of our chosenness.  Long before any human being saw us, we are seen by God’s loving eyes.  Long before anyone heard us cry or laugh, we are heard by our God who is all ears for us.  Long before any person spoke to us in this world, we are spoken to by the voice of eternal love.  Our preciousness, uniqueness, and individuality are not given to us by those who meet us in our brief chronological existence, but by the One who has chosen us with an everlasting love, a love that existed from all eternity and will last through all eternity.”

Maybe that’s hard for us cynical, intelligent, ironic modern people to swallow, according to how much we’ve been hurt or lied to.  But I know it to be true in the same way that plants come up in my garden.   Life is from God.  We are from God.  God is for us.  Living with that gift frees me to just be me—beyond my ability to make my own luck or a fabulously constructed identity.   And I think it opens up the possibility of restoring what’s broken in this world (not just reacting to it), no matter how young or old we are.