We all want it.
Some kind of rest from the crazy world we live in. An alleviation of fallen symptoms. A promise that things will improve and stay that way. And yet, what leads us there goes beyond a change of circumstances. It’s a place we choose to occupy in Christ, a decision we make in everything we face.
This psychological principle applies to big, intense things and average, daily things. It’s not resignation or a lazy cop-out. It a choice to take life as it comes.
But when embraced in Christ, radical acceptance involves living step by step with God in each moment, afraid of nothing, enjoying everything, placing every desire before Him in prayer but refusing to frustrate over the results.
This mindset and lifestyle (when based in an abiding relationship with Christ) actually enables you to conquer your worst fears, embrace more God-given pleasure and enjoyment, release desires before they become burdens, and make more of a difference in the world.
This is because you’re not living in the stress and strain of frustration, trying to make people and circumstances how you’d like them to be. (It never works. Because everyone else is also playing the same game and never quite satisfied.)
Let's break down a few things radical acceptance in Christ makes possible for us.
Afraid of Nothing:
Consistent worry destroys our lives and makes fear our focus rather than God, enticing us to give away our time and mental space to something that may or may not even be real or controllable.
Radical acceptance in Christ helps us face our worst fears (or at least the possibility of them) and give Him their implications so that whether or not they ever occur in real time, they stop ruling our lives and influencing our decisions. Radical acceptance can manifest as the action of our faith, choosing to remember that no matter what happens, God will never leave us and will maintain His good plans for us.
It’s not all negative. When we live moment by moment with the Lord, we’re awakened to the beauty and joys all around us because God richly provides so much for our enjoyment. By opening our eyes to the gifts God has provided, we sanctify our pursuit of pleasure to the point where it isn’t in opposition to God but a perk we enjoy along the way, free from the tarnish of comparison and covetousness.
Too many of us join the worldly rat race that insists we must pursue something we want whether it’s killing us or not. When we place our dreams in God’s hands, He enables us to know which ones are worth pursuing and what steps we need to take. Therefore, we are able to appreciate the progress we’re making in the process rather than living our lives striving after one big thing that probably will not satisfy when it happens.
Making a Difference:
Radical acceptance does not mean inaction. It simply enables us to jettison the baggage so we can focus on the right action. When we accept that we aren’t going to always feel like we’re changing the world but can still do it via consistent obedience before God, we’re on our way to actually making a difference for eternity (without comparison or striving). Our simple duty and delight is to continue doing what 1 Timothy 6 outlines: "do good, be rich in good works, be generous/ready and willing to share, storing up treasure and a good foundation for the future, taking hold of that which is truly life."
The true life that God gives us is free of anxiety, torment, and endless fixations. It’s all focused on the Lord--His endless mercies, unstoppable goodness, and expansive character and plans. When we live with our focus there and our actions develop from that place, radical acceptance becomes the only logical way of life, our rational worship and service (Romans 12:1).
This is because it’s less an acceptance of circumstances and more an acceptance of Him—and the radical transformation His love brings.