It is often very easy to get caught up in the moments of life, whether it’s a season of pain, a season of life change, or a season of success. We, as human beings, tend to get lost in the present reality, whatever that might be, often forgetting the larger story going on around us and losing a greater perspective, of which I’m just as guilty as the next person.
In my own life I’ve experienced a drastic dose of life change over the past decade since graduating from college, which has been both to my benefit and my detriment. To top it off, most of my personal life change has been brought about by my own choosing, directly or indirectly – both the good and the bad. I’ve held a significant number of jobs (probably more than most retirees can claim at the end of their career), I’ve relocated multiple times, and I’ve found myself feeling more akin to a nomad journeying to who-knows-where than I originally intended at the onset of my pursuits.
As an artist, my investment into my creative career has fluctuated over the past 10 years, often depending on the financial climate of that season and always causing me to question if I should have taken a safer road. Relationships have come and gone, dreams have evolved, some dreams have faded, and questions have consistently been available in abundance. In my spiritual journey there have been chapters of life when I’ve been on the mountaintops of faith, full of hope and trust in God’s purpose for my life. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there have also been horribly bleak chapters in my life where the narrative was unclear, the road was lost, and the fear inescapable.
Maybe this resonates with you and maybe it does not. Your life story may consist of constant change, or it could be the story of a person who never ventured out of the unknown. Neither case is necessarily the better story; they’re just different narratives that create a different life experience.
Within the constant change of my life I’ve found myself continuing to ask questions of meaning, of intention, of time, and of the true definition of what makes a successful life well lived.
As Psalm 49:12-14 says, “People, despite their wealth, do not endure; they are like the beasts that perish. This is the fate of those who trust in themselves, and of their followers, who approve their sayings. They are like sheep and are destined to die; death will be their shepherd (but the upright will prevail over them in the morning).”
We all know it deep down, inside the the caverns of the soul that are longing for more than this mere existence: our lives are worth much more than any worldly success or achievement. Our lives were always intended for a greater purpose than just merely to populate the earth and to create civilizations.
This is going to sound cheesy and impossibly simple, but the truth is, I genuinely believe our lives were always meant for love, for relationship with God and for connection to each other. Any accomplishment, success, gain, or aspiration is secondary and always has been.
Each day I’m unsure as to what my next moment holds, despite my best efforts at dreaming and planning for the future. Every choice I make is building a path towards the future, but it is still full of uncertainties that are often beyond my control. But as I sit here writing and thinking about the mysterious journey ahead, I am more confident than I was yesterday that my God is more interested in who I am becoming than what I am achieving. This, even, is not the sum total of the human experience, but it is a refreshing reality that is awakening in me ever more each day.
Questions to ponder:
- Where do you often find your identity placed?
- Is the person/achievement/object where you’ve placed your identity something or someone you could lose?
- How often do you take time to reflect on the larger story going on all around you?
- If you are honest between yourself and God, what would an authentic relationship with your Creator change about your identity, your life, your relationships, and your perspective?