(an excerpt from my personal blog)
It feels good for the moment, but in the end I wonder if it will only be another path, another daunting option of life… teasing me for not knowing which I will truly take. Will this be just another door that feels good as I grip the door handle, but devastating as it leaves yet another door dauntingly open.
Will I be Pilates instructor?
Will I work in higher education?
Will I be an author?
Will I be a professor?
Will I be a mental health professional?
Will I be a foster parent?
Will I love well the people that are put in my path?
Will I be present and mindful in the stage I am in?
Will I have good and diligent work ethic?
Will I have character and integrity in the tiny and the huge parts of my life?
Will I look after those who God has placed in my care?
Will I have integrity where it doesn’t make sense and nobody is watching?
Will I place my ideas of success and value in heavenly terms?
Will I care as much about who I am today, as I can about the pinnacle of who I want to become?
[Sidenote: Thank you for bearing with me as I self-indulgently typed my selfishness out a bit. Why does that feel so darn good?]
It all is quite pointless in the BIG picture. I mean, the career, the door the whole shebang. In the big picture it matters who I am today, because THAT is building who I am for tomorrow and eternity. The MEANS in which I do it [my job/my city/my circumstances] are all relatively of little importance.
Did you get that? WHO you are TODAY, is more important than your PLANS for tomorrow.
Sure, I can stress/plan/worry about it and OF COURSE my favorite ‘means’ by which I feel I have control control over things; ORGANIZE IT!
Did you get that? While it can be good to plan for the future, we must be aware of the ways that we distract ourselves with our futures and neglect our present identities.
BUT really, these too matter little. In the MEANS [the scenario, the season, the people] all that is important is my faithfulness & my purposeful response to each moment.
Did you get that? Despite the automatic REACTION that occurs to life’s circumstances and people’s actions, we can CHOOSE OUR RESPONSE.
In all the MEANS, and the life variables may I keep a big picture focus on the purpose and vision for my life.
In the end we all can agree that WHO we are is far more important than WHAT we do. AND yet, there is the pressure to STRIVE and BECOME and rush to the end. As pastor Nate said; we do and sacrifice everything and everyone to get to the ‘successful’ end result of fame and success and money.
Did you get that? We often sacrifice who we are, the very core of our being, so that we can have the world’s version of success.
Then, we get there and the emptiness, if it hasn’t already, sets in and we realize that all those annoying little time consuming things like ethics, vulnerability, character and purpose along the way that we’d be numbing were just a teesy bit important after all.
Did you get that? The sacrifices we make are in attempt to be HAPPY, and they often produce the opposite.
…and by this point not only are we used to numbing but we are GOOD at numbing. So, so good at numbing. We have our music and our media and our wakeup-and-check-your-instragram-first-thing-in-the-morning (guilty)… we have our alcohol and our chocolate and our french fries… we have our manicures and our target-dollar sections (guilty)… we have our bitterness and our excuses and our gossip and our resentment (guilty)…
Did you get that? Our life is surrounded with numbing-agents. We buy them, seek them and become addicted to them.
It is so easy to numb. If we aren’t purposeful with the way that we fill our time, the way that we live our life, the way that we DEAL WITH EMOTION, the world is ready to tell & show us convenient ways to do this and all in 5 easy steps! 1 quick diet pill! 2 workshops! A cruise to the bahamas! 17 facebook likes! A bottle of red Zinfandel!
Because it’s (whining style) haarrrdddd to be vulnerable, and be disciplined, and face reality, and trust others, and sacrifice present pleasure for future gain, and think outside of ourselves, and disappoint others, and be uncomfortable.
Did you get that? Future gain often takes place through sacrificing pleasures of the present.
BUT, there’s one tiny problem with numbing all the hard emotions …with numbing out the difficult past, numbing out our unbearable present, numbing out the foreboding future…
As we numb those BAD feelings [hurt, rejection, fear, loneliness rather then taking care of them [often slow painful healing], we are also numbing the GOOD we can feel [freedom, love, peace, redemption].
We cannot pick and choose what we NUMB.
WE NUMB IT ALL. Woops.
It’s that point, where we are at the top, pushing through all this murky numbness because the movies and our peers are telling us it may suck now but it will BE SO WORTH IT IN THE END, and we realize… it’s not. It’s not worth it, because here I am in the material high and I CAN’T FEEL ANYTHING.
Did you get that? We take shortcuts to attempt a happy future… this doesn’t work. We numb bad feelings to attempt a happy present… this doesn’t work.
So, before you get there.
Let me tell you, don’t go there.
LOOK at the parts of your life where you already are there.
Did you get that? You have an infinite amount of work that you can do today with your present self. Focus on that before you worry about your future plans.
Look at the things you are numbing away. Stop yourself in the target parking lot and drive to a park instead. Don’t stop at the bar, call up a friend and be honest and real about the feelings of loneliness and isolation. It will be painful for a minute, but I promise it will get better.
Did you get that? Look at the way you numb things.
Get real today, don’t wait for tomorrow. I read this really great book once that said not to worry about tomorrow because today has enough of it’s own troubles for you to think about.
Did you get that? The work and effort you put into your character and who you are today is guaranteed to change who you are, the work and effort you put into planning tomorrow is not guaranteed to change anything at all.
Look at the MEANS of your life [job/ city/ circumstances/ scenario/ season/ people] as just that, means to accomplish the PURPOSE you were called to, in any-old-means of life. Don’t let the means distract you from your life purpose. Exude the peace, character, love, identity, faithfulness, kindness, truth and passion TODAY that you want to have at the ‘top’… whatever that is anyway.
Did you get that? Influence and invest in your character and identity TODAY no matter what your circumstances.
May our life’s tops be measured by a different measuring stick as we come to reality of accepting our responsibility to each day. In fact I’m convinced that looking back on our lives as 90-year-olds, the potential ‘tops’ for influence, impact, true inner peace and joy in life’s destiny, in heaven’s perspective will happen in the seasons of our lives we would never expect it… perhaps the one you’re in right now.
Did you get that? You may have more power and influence TODAY, in your current life season, than in your idealized future.
Let me know your thoughts/convictions/reactions below…