One down … eleven to go
“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people just exist.” – Oscar Wilde
Do you think the above quote is an accurate reflection of most people? What about those in your community? What about you? Which of these will define your life in 2017: living or existing?
Play along with me for a minute. Pretend it is next New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2017. Now look back over your year; what do you see? If you keep going the way you are today, will you have simply existed … or will you have lived an active, thriving life?
If your life is already thriving, awesome! What makes it so? If it’s not, how can you move from existing to a life that is thriving? What changes need to happen? Which of these are in your control? Which are not?
Unfortunately, too many of us are simply living day-to-day with no purpose — we just exist. It’s not necessarily anyone’s fault. Our culture teaches us that if we could just acquire more and do more we would be happy. But that’s not living your life, that’s trying to keep up with someone else’s.
The day you decide to start living your life with purpose, the purpose God designed you for, is the day you will transition from existing to living.
It’s always a scary move to step out in faith and seek what your God-given purpose is. It can be even scarier to start doing what you feel God is calling you to do. But it can mean the difference between living fully and simply existing. Wouldn’t that be worth the risk?
When you simply exist, trying to keep up with the Joneses, you push yourself to be successful and achieve what you think you are supposed to. If you go too far, you can come to dislike life’s pressure cooker—maybe even life. You might even hate the race and what it’s costing you and your family; but maybe you’re more afraid of stopping.
Or maybe you still feel like you are winning your race—it’s exhilarating, and the price to pay hasn’t hit you between the eyes with its sticker shock yet. You are in your prime, handling the strain, and gaining ground. The sky seems to be the limit.
But no matter how good the race is going for you right now, ask yourself if you feel like you’re really living when you’re just trying to keep up with the Joneses. What will your children remember more? Will it be your title, the big house, the fancy car, and the unlimited cell phone data? Or will it be your eighty-hour work weeks and that you weren’t around very much?
More money will never make you feel alive—you can make millions and feel dead inside. More stuff won’t do it—you can spend your way through a lottery jackpot and still be destitute in heart. Going faster and passing others up won’t do it—you can meet and exceed every goal you or others set for yourself and still be unfulfilled.
Living for the Joneses will always, invariably, have consequences. Yours might even be significant: children who don’t know you, health sacrificed on the altar of production, stress-induced health issues, a marriage on the rocks, a life that falters. We don’t know your consequences, but be assured, they are coming so long as the Joneses is your goal.
If you are like me before my “Joneses Moment”—afraid and unsure about taking the next step—you may be tired, burned out, and desperately thirsty from racing through a spiritual and emotional desert. But you don’t have to be. Don’t be afraid of leaning into God and asking what He has planned for your life. I’ll guarantee you one thing … it’s always much better than anything you could ever dream up.
Tackle your fears head on, conquer them, and experience a more fulfilling life! A life that makes you come alive—the kind of alive you can feel only when you are living God’s purpose for you.
Today is January 31st. One month down; don’t let the other eleven this year slip by just as fast without pausing long enough to ponder the questions this note has raised in your mind. Contact me if you want to chat. As a professional life coach, I help others get from where they are to where they want their lives to be.
Author, Coach, Friend