Every day is an act of grace, giving us the opportunity to choose better things, to dream new dreams, and to love others more today than we did yesterday. But how often we forget the most essential things in life while pursuing things that don’t last.
This thought hit me this morning while I was praying: quit striving so hard at things that don’t matter and start living with a clear focus on what matters most.
Maybe this will resonate with you and maybe it won’t, but in my case I’ve always been caught up with the future self, the person that I want to be. In fact, I’ve been consumed with that person so much that I’ve missed out on opportunities to make a difference in the lives around me in the present. More often than not, tomorrow consumes my today.
I often compare myself to others who are succeeding at their dreams, which causes me even greater distress over the future and why I’m not having so-called “success” at my ambitions. Comparison breeds worry, which breeds discontentment, which breeds despair, which breeds self-destruction.
The American dream and popular culture have lied to us. They say, “Work harder, build yourself up, look out for numero uno, you’re not a success until you have _______, you’re nobody until you’re somebody, keep that perfect figure to impress those people you don’t like, resting from weariness is for weak people, healthy people don’t struggle with ______, wealth is of ultimate importance…” What we aren’t told is that at the end of that list we will find ourselves exhausted, despairing, greedy, bitter, selfish, broken, frustrated, discontent, and restless.
Don’t get me wrong, striving towards better things should always be of utmost importance, but what I’m asking is this: what are you striving for? If you’re broken (like the rest of us), then are you striving for healing, or are you striving to cover your brokenness with a facade? If you are working towards a dream, is it one where you’re going to make a lasting impact on others for the good, or is it just for selfish ambition and personal glory? If you’ve got financial goals, is it for personal benefit, or is it for margin to be more generous?
We’re all striving. But outside of all the external striving in our daily lives, we also need to strive for rest when we’re weary and worn down. We need to strive for help when we’re hurting. We need to strive for truth when all we hear are lies. We need to strive to bring hope to the hurting world around us.
Today we have the opportunity to live for better things, to dream of better things, and to strive for better things. We’re not in competition with each other; we’re in a battle for our lives WITH each other. Love someone today, give to someone today, and dream of ways to make today a better place for those around you.