‘Shallow’, Oscars, and the Giant Void

I skipped out on the Oscars, truth be told I saw exactly zero of the films nominated this year. The creepy Hollywood worship just weirds me out. The more people go ‘gaga’ over Lady Gaga, the more want to put my fingers in my ears and yell “La la la la!! I can’t hear you!!”  There’s something embarrassing about making already narcissistic people even more puffed up in themselves. I digress…

I read a little article this morning about the universal void we all feel and try to fill… even Lady Gaga herself said she has to leave the TV on so she doesn’t feel so alone. Her song with Bradley Cooper is now the most awarded song in history, for whatever thats worth. I think it speaks volumes of our emptiness and longing for something more.

Tell me somethin’, girl, are you happy in this modern world? Or do you need more? Is there somethin’ else you’re searchin’ for?”

Tell me something, boy, aren’t you tired tryin’ to fill that void? Or do you need more? Ain’t it hard keeping it so hardcore?” SHALLOW 

This song won all the awards and gives us all the feels. People like having all the feels. Sometimes I find it hard to listen to things like this precisely for that reason. The emotion is too raw, I become acutely aware of this horrible void inside me, but have nowhere to go with those feelings other than to keep listening to lyrics that make me even more introspective.

The author gives us a sobering analogy of life that stopped me in my tracks:

“If your age is 15, it is 10:25 in the morning in your life. If you are 20, it is 11:34 in the morning. If you are 25, it is 12:42. If you are 30, the time of your life is 1:51 P.M. If you are 35, it is 3:00 in the afternoon. If you are 40, it is 4:08 in the afternoon. If you are 45, it is 5:15 in the evening. If you are 50, it is 6:25. 55 is 7:34. If you are 60, the time is 8:40 p.m. If you are 65, it is 9:55 p.m. If you are 70, it is 11:00 at night. “

Oh my gosh, for me it’s already after 4PM! What kind of rude wake up call is this? Now is not the time to be floundering around bouncing from one little success to another hoping to find some elusive happiness.

If we can learn anything from watching the Hollywood circus, it’s that the human longing for significance is a deep one. CS Lewis said:

“What Satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they could ‘be like gods’—could set up on their own as if they had created themselves—be their own masters—invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside God, apart from God. And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history—money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery—the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”

We cling to our short-lived successes because they give us a jolt of happiness for a moment and push us through to the next thing. But we are always left wanting more. Who won an Oscar five years ago? Who won the World Series twelve years ago? Most people don’t remember and they don’t care.

Paul says something in 1 Corinthians that I find so fitting for this situation:
“Run your race in such a way that you obtain the prize. Everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into submission, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” (9:24-27)

We are all on the clock, and no amount of money or fame or awards can change that. Paul wanted to make sure we understand that going after the temporary stuff is like flailing about with your fists hitting the air. He says go after the real prize… remember what you’re doing here.

The bar is set high for us in our culture. We see winners plastered all over the place and feel deficient. Women and girls spend obscene amounts of time on their appearance, boys I’m learning just compete with everyone to the point of madness to be top dog… we don’t even know what we are chasing after, we just charge ahead with our big egos at the wheel.

I want so badly to be able to run confidently past it all and not be sidetracked by what is basically just a glittering pile of garbage. I want to take Paul’s words to heart and know that I don’t have to run with uncertainty or angst in my heart. He said you can’t mix the spirit and the flesh, it just doesn’t work (1 Corinthians 2:13). The Psalmist wrote “I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked” (84:10). 

That’s something to think about. God or the earthly good life? Where do we look for our significance? Let’s choose the real over the phony. The lasting over the temporary. God over Lady Gaga.

Sorry, I had to say it…

9 thoughts on “‘Shallow’, Oscars, and the Giant Void

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  1. Absolutely!! What you wrote reminds me of what I have been studying in Ecclesiastes that all our pursuits are merely vanities which will not endure. “Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun? One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.” (1:2-4). Great post!!

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