A long time ago, before I became a follower of Jesus, I came across an inspirational poem:
Dance as if you have nothing to hide
Sing as if you have nothing to prove
Love as if you have nothing to lose.
The idea appealed to me, a person who often felt racked with anxious insecurity and undermining thoughts of self-doubt. One day in 1993, I began a journey. I quit my high-paying vice-president of sales job. It was a fork in the road of life for me.
Ten years later, I gave an award-winning speech on this theme of the three nothings. I called it A Bottle of Nothing. I encouraged audiences to take three drinks from the Bottle of Nothing and they would be rewarded with wisdom to see clear answers to difficult troubles, and courage to act on that wisdom.
The three drinks are what I later realized are the key to having the Jesus Attitude. It is to live as if you have nothing to hide, nothing to prove, nothing to lose. My journey has become twenty years now. With the benefit of hindsight, I can see clearly that the first third was all about mastering nothing to hide. I needed to expose my authentic self – the good, the bad and the ugly. I wanted my public self to be the same as my private self. Along the way, Jesus became my role model. His life was the epitome of the three nothings. His embodiment of that attitude added up to love – spiritual love – that lasts.
The second phase of the journey was living as if I had nothing to prove. I had already settled old resentments with my father, the man whom I had spent my first thirty-some years trying to prove my self-worth. The real test was my second wife who left me twice and came back both times. When you have nothing to hide, your imperfections are exposed. People find a lot of things to criticize and judge. When you respond to the unhappiness of others with an attitude of nothing to prove, you overcome your need to Deny, Defend and Deflect. These three comprise the DDD virus that kills communication and relationships. Instead, you draw loved ones into being authentic and bliss becomes possible.
The third phase of the journey is living as if you have nothing to lose. The only way to experience this is to actually lose things you value greatly- like love, sex and money. These are humanity’s greatest desires. In this stage of the journey, I suffered a loss that I would describe as ego-death. Jesus described it this way: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” [Luke 9:23] The result was a healing of my deepest fears and insecurities.
Nothing to hide is self-awareness. Nothing to prove is self-acceptance. Nothing to lose is self-healing. “Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it,” Jesus said. I now get what he means by that phrase, though I do not pretend to have plumbed its full depths. Who can know how far one can go to know that God loves you, even if life itself is hammering you? Spirituality is an upside-down experience.
British writer G.K. Chesterton wrote that we need to love the unlovable, pardon the unpardonable and believe the unbelievable. True personal freedom and the peace that surpasses all knowing is possible when you let go of your human attitude and embrace the same attitude as Jesus.
NOTE: If inner peace is a priority in your life, you may wish to go on your own inner peace mission.