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Intersection of Life and Faith

Be Assertive

  • Rich Mullins Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2003 1 Jan
Be Assertive
Recorded in February 1993 during a two-day seminar led by Rich Mullins and Beaker at LeSEA Broadcasting Studios in South Bend, Indiana.

So this father, this really nice, gentle looking man who has all the answers – he's the father figure, a real Ronald Reagan type – and he says, "Son, if you see what you want, you gotta go out there and get it!"

Have you ever heard that? Anyone ever tell you that? Have you ever told anyone that? You know, "when you see what you want, you've just got to go get it."

This is a remarkable thing. And this isn't peculiar only to our culture. Pretty much across the board people think this in a lot of ways. And you know what? The more we pursue what we think we want, the more it eludes us. Or we get what we think we want, and we find out we didn't really want it in the first place. Everything that we go after will disappoint us.

I don't think there's a whole lot of advantage of being terrifically assertive. I know very few people who are my age (and I'm, say, edging ever so slightly toward 40) and I know a lot of people older than me–'cause there are, for those college kids [in the audience], people older than 40. I've met a few. Very few of them ever found any real satisfaction in accomplishing anything. It's an amazing, remarkable thing. Most people's satisfaction comes not from what they've accomplished. I love the John Lennon quote where he says, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." I think, "Wow! That is exactly true."

We think that we're going to find happiness because we see something happiness is supposedly contained in and we go for it and we get it and we all live happily ever after. But that's not the way life works out. Even our own experiences tell us that. And yet we continue to be tolerant of the view of life that says nothing is more important in the world than that you get what you want.

That is why there's so much hurt in the world, because there are too many fathers that have decided that their kids cannot stand in the way, that they're going out and finding themselves. So they abandon their kids and they go out to find out who they really are. Twenty years later when their kids have grown up and don't know them, 20 years later when they've been through a couple more marriages with a couple younger women that were really not all that satisfying, when they're about 60 years old, they realize the folly of their thinking. They realize what a ridiculously stupid thing it was.

We do not find happiness by being assertive. We don't find happiness by running over people because we see what we want and they are in the way of that happiness so we either abandon them or we smash them. The Scriptures don't teach us to be assertive. The Scriptures teach us – and this is remarkable – the Scriptures teach us to be submissive.

This is not a popular idea.

The preceding monologue was taken from the CD and DVD scrapbook entitled Here in America. Visit our artist page for Rich Mullins to read learn more about his life, view his discography, and read some of his other monologues. Also be sure to read our review of Here in America for full details on that album. You can listen to song clips and purchase his music at