A Golden Globe and the Bloodshed of Autonomy

Michelle Williams’ recent Golden Globes acceptance speech has gained a great deal of attention (likely her aim). Pro-abortion advocates are lauding her, Pro-life advocates are criticizing her. Rightly so, as she argued that it was her abortion that led to her success.

Her speech caught my attention not only because she claimed that the life of her child was a fair trade-off for the gold plated trinket she held aloft in her speech, but it was her leading statement, perhaps less shocking, but no less insidious, that made me stop and listen. It is precisely the line of thinking that brings a woman to the place where she joyfully discards her baby to cuddle a golden statue and thinks she has made the best choice. She said:

I’ve tried my best to live a life of my own making, and not just a series of events that happened to me. But one that I could stand back and look at and recognize my handwriting all over

one that I had carved with my own hand.

Michelle Williams

Her words are reminiscent of William Ernest Henley’s final lines to his poem, Invictus,

I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul

She, like Henley, echos the siren call we are all prone to. It is a song that has haunted humanity since its inception in the garden, the words have changed slightly, but it is the same melody: you will be like God.

Williams’ concluded her speech with the proverbial, and literal, nail in the coffin:

And I wouldn’t have been able to do this without employing a woman’s right to choose.

Michelle Williams

She is referring to the sacrifice of her child to her career timeline. Of course, she could still have been a successful actress and had a baby, like so many other women in Hollywood, including her present self–she was visibly pregnant during her speech–but her success would not have been on her terms. Her career would not have been, as she said, written with her handwriting, someone else would have been writing her story for her. So she did the only thing we can do when we demand we be the captain of our own fate and we find our ship has veered off our planned course, she killed.

This is how the story ends in all such instances. Autonomy from God always ends violently. Asserting ourselves as god of our own lives always results in destruction. When we insist on denying the reality that we are not God, and we are not truly in control of our own destiny, we must violently bend reality to our illusion.

We dismiss the destruction as a necessity to maintaining our control, we must control our fate, we must turn the tides to fit our destiny–nevermind that we are actually helpless to control the tides that move of their own accord. We must do whatever it takes to make our stories our stories. Even if it means death. We rise up, standing on the carnage of our delusion, and we deny the blood puddled at our feet.

Michelle Williams truly believes the choice she made was a necessary one. After all, how else could she be god? How else could she control her fate when it had already steered from the plans she had made?

Despite our constant destructive struggle to determine our own fate, things happen to us in our lives that we don’t want, that we don’t plan for, that we cannot control, they always will. We are not gods, despite our desperation to prove that we are. As Nancy Pearcey writes,

Humans are not self-creating, self-existent, self-defining beings.

Love Thy Body

As much as we would like to believe, like Williams, that we write our own story, we don’t. And when we try to cling to the delusion that we do, our “carving with our own hand”, tends to result in bodies carved by the blood-thirst of self assertion. This is because our denial of reality is our denial of the true God,

When a person chooses her supposed self as the authority, she models Satan in his rebellion against God.

Jessica Hooten Wilson, Giving the Devil His Due

We know what happened when Satan was followed the first time: death entered the garden, and so, death follows us every time we heed his siren call. There is no greater example of this than in the abortion industry, where women hear Satan say, “you are god”, and blood flows from the bodies of the innocent to satisfy our god-selves.

Our distant ancestors appeased their gods by casting their children into flames, they thought they could control the weather, sickness, and their future by killing their offspring. How superstitious, we think, how could they think their handmade gods could actually do anything for them?

Yet here we are, not so different, casting our children at the feet of “success”, believing that we can control our future by controlling our wombs. We, who cannot even stave off the common cold, who cannot make the sky rain, who cannot even keep death at bay, we think we can dictate our future if only we sacrifice enough innocence along the way.

We will never find freedom this way. We will no more find peace than those who cut out the hearts of children to bring a good harvest.

The only way to find peace in our uncertain futures, our unexpected situations, and in all the things that happen to us–because despite Williams’ insistence that they don’t, we know they will–is to surrender ourselves to the one who actually writes our story. The God who does control the rains, who keeps planets in their orbit, who holds the whole world–that he alone created–together, he promises to hold our future too, lovingly, with only our good in mind. The God who was the sacrifice for us, to undo our foolish attempts at taking his place, merely wants us to acknowledge him for who he is. When we relinquish our illusion of autonomy we find our future fixed in the hands–the hands we carved holes in–and we find it is much better place to be, whatever may come. It is only in his hands that we will find that letting him write our story is the only way to have any story to tell.

But if we insist on listening to the siren call, if we keep insisting that we captain our own souls, like so many travelers before us, we will find ourselves at the bottom of the sea with only bones to keep us company…or maybe rusted golden globes.

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