Most of our lives can be summed up in this…”we’re born, we exist, we die.” Two of these are out of our control…but it’s that bit in the middle where we have some wiggle room.
January is a time where we contemplate new goals and plans for the year. If we’re serious, we resolve within ourselves to see those plans through…but more often than not, life can have a way of putting on the brakes as we speed towards our new futures we envision. It’s because for many of us, we look at the new year as a chance to reset and approach living with a new sense of vigor and determination, but somewhere along the line we stop “living” and simply resort to “existing”. We lose the sense of vigor and simply allow life to pass us by. Sometimes this is a result of our resolutions being difficult and we get depressed that we’re not seeing the results we want. Other times, there will be circumstances that occur beyond our control which make it nearly impossible for us to continue spending our energy towards meeting our goals. The thing is, sometimes we just want to stop swimming against the current and simply go along for the ride.
If you’ve ever set a new year’s resolution, then you probably know exactly what I’m talking about. Goals and resolutions can require a lot of hard work to achieve, and at some point we just want the opportunity to relax and not have to think about it. This isn’t a bad thing! We all need those times of rest and relaxation to reboot and re-energize. The problem so many of us run into however is that we end up allowing the relaxation to continue for far too long. We get into a place where we’re “comfortable”. We’re able to do just enough to get by today and into tomorrow, then we wake up and repeat it all over again…just enough, just enough, just enough. We reach a point where we stop living and actively looking for ways to get more out of life and we just start existing, coasting along in our stream of comfort and hoping nothing makes any waves.
Here’s the rub, it’s at this point that we think we’re most comfortable, but it’s also the point that we’re most miserable! Many of you know what I’m talking about! You’re “stuck” in a job you hate because it requires effort to make a change and the unknowns of changing jobs (or even changing careers) is too scary…but staying in your “comfort zone” means you can just “get by” there every day. Even though you feel like you’re ready to break! Others may face physical challenges of exercise, weight loss, or rehabilitation. This is an easy one to go back on. The physical toll it takes on your mind and body is demanding…which makes it very easy to extend our period of rest to the point that we simply start coasting along again. Only to realize that months or years down the road that it’s only served to make us more miserable. Maybe you’re a new photographer and your goal for this year is to make a go out of starting your own business. That’s a great resolution to have…but let me warn you, it’s hard! So many people give up on their idea of being a full time photographer because they didn’t realize how much work would be involved!
There’s some things I think we need to understand and really think about if we’re going to pursue a life of living and avoid an existence of existing. We need to understand that anything worth doing is going to require hard work and effort. We need to understand that it’s ok to take a break from our goals and resolutions to recharge, BUT don’t overstay…get back at it before getting “comfortable” again. We need to understand that there are things in life that can seem scary, because we don’t know what some choices and decisions will lead to. But that’s a good thing! It means you’re in for new experiences that help shape the course of your life. Most importantly, we need to understand that God loves us. He has something special for each of us to do, and pursuing His goals for our life will result in an abundant life. A life filled with a sense of meaning, purpose, and direction. (…and yes, God’s goals for us will require hard work and determination as well…and even more so, will require faith. Perhaps the most difficult of all challenges is trusting God when He tells us to move, even if we don’t know the how or why.)
If you’re reading this and you know what it’s like to feel “stuck” and “miserable”, coasting in life, hating what the day brings, and wishing your life away in hopes that something will suddenly change and magically create a happier life…please take this to heart. It’s time for a change! It’s time for a new goal and a new resolution! It will be difficult, but with just a little determination you can see it through! Let God lead you into His abundant life of fulfillment and choose today to take back your life. Stop telling yourself that you can’t do it or that it’s too hard. Don’t look back on life with fear and regret, but look back with excitement and sense of accomplishment. Stop existing your life away and start living it!