Series: Friday Humor #7
The first axiomatic statement is this: Almost all frustration and anxiety come from a refusal to be what one is. In other words, frustration and anxiety are the result of playing a part other than the one you have been given.
Someone tells the story of a man who was out of work. His unemployment compensation benefits had run out, and he was desperate. He went to the zoo to ask for work, and the zoo keeper told him they didn’t really have any work, but he could make a few extra dollars by taking the place of a gorilla who had died the day before.
Ordinarily the man would not have done it, but he really needed money. He accepted the job, put on the gorilla suit, and made his way back to the gorilla cage. It really wasn’t a bad job. All he had to do was to eat bananas and swing from a rope, and after a while he began to like the job. But alas, all good things must come to an end. One day his rope broke and he fell over the fence into the lion’s cage. He started yelling for help, and the closer the lion came to him, the louder he yelled. Finally the lion came right up next to him, nudged him, and said, “Hey Buddy, will you shut up! We are both going to be out of a job!”
Now the difference between some Christians and the man in the gorilla outfit is that whereas he was forced into his role, we aren’t. We choose a role for which we are not suited, and in that choice is the source of much of our misery and frustration.
Have you ever seen Christians who seemed to be very pure and very spiritual—and very miserable? The problem with those Christians is that they were playing a role for which they were not suited. Jesus said, “No one is good except God” (Mark 10:18). If Jesus was right, and I have every reason to believe He was, then we pretend to be good and pure, we have just climbed into a gorilla suit.
And then there are those Christians who feel that everything they say comes as if from Sinai. They make all sorts of political and social pronouncements as if God Himself had given them a corner on truth. They are very serious—and very miserable. God says, “The heart is more deceitful than all else” (Jeremiah 17:9a). If that is true, then the person who believes and acts as if he or she had a corner on truth (when only God has that corner) has started wearing a gorilla costume.
We see countless examples of Christian men and women who play parts for which they were not created in the pride that so often is the a mark of modern Christianity, in the anger we feel when our plans are crossed, or in the way we want the world to revolve around our selfish desires. It is important that we understand that the source of much of our frustration and anxiety is our proclivity toward being something we aren’t.
*This humorous anecdote was adapted from the excellent book by Stephen Brown. If God is In Charge. Thomas Nelson: Nashville, 1983. Pages 61-62.