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Vicarious Living

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March 11, 2012 by Michael Vuke

I love people watching; it is a great way to entertain yourself, learn about others, and even break writer’s block! One of the great things about people-watching is the variety—people look and act differently and their reactions to various stimuli never cease to interest me. With all that variety, there is still one constant. Whenever I start to watch people, I always end up watching a couple for a little while. Something about the way two people who are in love or trying to discover if they are in love interact is magical, and it certainly makes for an entertaining time.

In the past, I have caught myself trying to live vicariously through those couples, trying to let their experiences with love and each other fill that spot inside myself that another person should fill. It isn’t fulfilling, and it leaves you down and can leave you bitter.

This exact scenario plays out in the spiritual world too—we just aren’t as aware of it.A lot of us go to church, and when we are there, we people-watch. We look at those around us who seem to have a thriving connection with God and who are in love with Him. It is a beautiful thing that is well worth watching. However, sometimes we choose to experience God vicariously instead of actually having a relationship ourselves. We only experience God through a pastor, a parent, a spouse, or a friend and pretend that it satisfies the hole in ourselves that only a real relationship with God can fulfill. We bluff our way through life, picking up enough bits and pieces of what it’s like to have a relationship with God that we can fool others (and sometimes even ourselves) that we have it.

Sometimes this is an unintentional thing, and we don’t want it. We say we are ‘in a desert place’ and that ‘God is being silent’ and try to get through it. We don’t realize that it isn’t that our relationship with God is going through a hard time but instead that our relationship is non-existent. We seek other’s advice and hear their experiences with sort of thing. This acts as a pain killer; it doesn’t fix the problem, it just numbs us to the problems affects a little.

Sometimes we choose to only know God through others. Why would we do this?

Because God is scary.

It is incredibly unsettling to have a thriving relationship with God, because in order for that to happen, we have to give up control of our lives. We have to listen to God and do what He says, and sometimes that is weird stuff or things we aren’t comfortable with. So we trade in the unsettling but amazing relationship with God for a comfortable but unfulfilling seat watching others interact with God.

The Israelites did this back in the day. They came out of Egypt, and God told Moses, “Hey, get everybody ready, cause tomorrow, I’m showing up and we’re talking.” Everybody got ready, God came down, and it freaked them out. It terrified them, and they told Moses, “Dude, we can’t handle this—its too much. We’re all going to die. Look, tell God to go up on the mountain, and then you can talk to him, and the rest of us will just listen to you talk about what he’s like and what he said.” This continued on with the High Priest interacting with God and telling everyone else. But when Jesus came, he ripped the veil that “separated” God from us and gave us the opportunity to actually know God ourselves instead of depending on a priest, prophet, or pastor.

Ask a couple if it is more fulfilling to be seeing someone or to just watch others and hear their friends talk about dating. The majority of the time, I believe they will say that it is better to be with someone who loves you/you love. The same thing with God. It is so much more fulfilling to be with Him and listen to what He says yourself than to just watch others have lives with Him.

For a while, I had a great relationship with God, but lately I’ve let it get to the point that I’m just watching others and living through those experiences. Let’s experience God for ourselves. 

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2 thoughts on “Vicarious Living

  1. Enjoyed the post! Thanks for sharing! And nice blog theme! :)

  2. michaelvuke says:

    Thanks Jonathan! I’m glad you enjoyed it; it is always good to hear that something you wrote connected with someone–hope you enjoy other things I put up to!

    And I like your theme as well ;)

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