When I was little,
I dreamed of being older.
And I’m sure you did too.
Dreaming of being able to drive,
Eat whatever you want,
Order off the grown up menu at restaurants,
Dye my hair green if I wanted too,
And I’m sure you figured out,
Just like I did,
That growing up wasn’t as easy,
Or perfect as we all pictured it.
And so here is the age old questions we’ve all been asked,
The questions we dread,
The questions where we wish we had the answers to,
“What are you going to do with your life?”
“What are you doing next after school?”
“What are you doing now with your life?”
We dread going to family gatherings,
Seeing old friends,
Or talking to anyone who might ask us questions like these or similar ones that stop us dead in our tracks.
I know for me,
I have no idea.
And I wrestled,
Am still wrestling with the hard reality that life isn’t what I thought it would be.
It’s hard when you realize things don’t just all work out,
Or even if you do everything you’re able too,
It still might not work out.
For we grow up believing that whatever we put our mind too,
We can achieve it,
And it’s hard to deal with the curve balls, realizing that our dreams sometimes have to shift,
In proportion to what we’re capable of affording or the time and effort we’re now able to put towards it.
I wish life was as simple as those questions people ask when trying to help us figure our lives out,
“If money weren’t an issue, what would you do?”
Or “What would you do if you could do anything?”
Those questions don’t help.
Because in reality,
Even though we know our days are counting down,
And although we know we really could do anything with our one life,
We still need to pay bills,
Provide meals for ourselves (or better yet family) ,
And money is an issue unless those asking that question about if money wasn’t an issue are going to give you the funds for you to live out your dream,
It isn’t as simple as we once believed when dreaming of being anything we wanted.
And although I’ve kind of made a joke of those questions being asked,
There’s still a lot of truth in it all.
For we’ve all hit reality,
Realizing that the life you imagined doesn’t just fall into your lap,
That it doesn’t all just work out how you’ve dreamed of it happening,
And that’s okay.
Because in all honesty,
It is how it is,
And life is far from perfect.
But we can’t use that as an excuse either;
That my life turned out like this,
I can’t change it,
So I’m just going to keep living like this.
For we can still work hard,
Pursue our goals,
And live a meaningful life,
Even if we have to change our sails a bit.
We can still do a lot with our life,
Even if it isn’t going to look how we pictured it.
And even if everything isn’t turning out how we wished it would have,
But we can’t dwell on that fact,
Or live in the past,
Dreaming about the good ole’ days,
And reliving our high school glory moments.
There’s a time when,
We have to move on,
And live realizing that life is now what you make out of it.
And you’re not a failure because of it.
In all honesty,
There are lots of times where I am thankful that my life isn’t how I dreamed it would be,
Because I’ve learned a lot through the challenges I’ve faced,
Being humbled that there is more to life than just me getting what I want,
And that my life,
Although still facing hard times and these same questions,
Am so thankful my life is how it is.
So we need to stop comparing,
We need to stop wishing our life was amazing,
And like theirs.
For the sad reality is we’ve come to believe that our lives need to be amazingly perfect and movie like,
To be inspiring,
Like those we envy.
We feel we always need to be vacationing,
Able to do what we want when we want,
But truth is,
Life is far beyond just us getting what we want.
For when we live with the perspective that the majority of the world doesn’t get to live like those in Hollywood,
And a lot of people are enforced into slavery,
Or without a job,
Or fighting just to live everyday,
It may humble us a bit when we think of all the goals we want to achieve.
For there is more to living than us getting our dreams.
And I’m not saying any of that in judgment of you,
Or shaming you for feeling how you feel,
And the dreams you desire.
Because each day I forget those realities too,
Needing to be reminded of purpose in life and the privileges I have than millions don’t.
I get that we live in a different culture than those I mentioned above,
And I get that life isn’t the same for us in the western world,
But what I am trying to say is that there is more to life than just chasing dreams.
That there is more to life than trying to get The American Dream,
Which if we haven’t obtained,
Leaves us depressed,
Feeling as though we’ve failed,
Even bringing us into a slump,
As we come to realize that life isn’t always going to feel perfect,
And where we feel as though everything we do changes the world.
It’s hard when we realize,
We’re just ordinary people,
But it doesn’t just stop there my friend,
We are ordinary people with extraordinary lives,
Able to live a simple life in beautiful ways,
Making the most of what we have,
No matter how boring it may seem.
And I’m thankful for those truths that humble me,
Reminding me that my life isn’t just for me to live the dream.
Whatever the dream may be for you.
For me it’s owning our own ranch,
Having our own beautiful farm house in beautiful country,
With friends around us and always things to do.
And sometimes it’s hard thinking if that doesn’t happen (which probably won’t!),
What will we make of this one life we have?
What will we do?
Will we just live working normal jobs?
I’m learning and slowly letting the Lord hold those things which sometimes I hold too tightly.
Realizing that however our life turns out,
Our greatest hope is that it would be all for His glory and not our own.
May we lower the expectations we feel we our lives haven’t measured up to,
Or the lives we feel we have to obtain to ‘make the most out of this one life we have’,
And see that it’s how we live our life that makes the biggest impact.
It’s not necessarily the success’ we’ve made,
Or the house we live in,
Or vacations we can take that measure the riches of our lives.
But the simple acts each day that we do for others,
The little joys we notice and take thanks for,
The way we treat others,
The way we hold ourselves with integrity and perseverance,
Working hard, living humble and loving deeply,
That truly measure the depth of our life.
So may we take the weight we feel our parents placing on us to become a lawyer or neurosurgeon.
May we no longer dread those questions being asked about where we are headed after four years of university and still no job,
It’s your life,
And not theirs.
We will all have hard times and struggle,
And that’s part of life,
We can’t avoid it.
But we can make the most of it.
For most people asking that question,
It’s just because that’s a normal question to ask when you haven’t seen someone in a while,
It’s to break the awkwardness,
Create a conversation.
They’re not doing it (well most people anyways) to judge you or quiz you to make sure you’re going to make something of yourself.
Who you are isn’t based on all that you do,
Or necessarily will do once you’ve obtained all you’ve dreamed of,
It’s living your life,
Right here and now.
Regardless if you’re doing what you would if money doesn’t matter,
Or just scrapping by.
May we grieve the dreams that haven’t come to pass,
Mourn maybe what could of been if we had took that jump,
And realize the great joy there is in learning from ourselves,
And even how we have grown, been stretched and come out a more refined person from not just being handed everything.
For I have learned that we all have something beautiful within us,
A story to be told,
An adventure to be lived,
A life to be seized,
And for the most part it is able to be embraced each day.
If we’re willing to do so,
To break free from the mold we’ve placed ourselves in,
Thinking that ‘This is just how my life will be’,
And go to cross things off our list while we’re able too,
To still work hard (even if it’s at a job you’d rather not be at),
And allow the Lord to use you right where you are.
Having influence at your job,
With those you meet,
And each day breathing in the fresh air with thankfulness that there’s still another day before you,
No matter how ordinary your life may seem,
Or how routine your days may feel,
There is always something you can do,
To break free and create some adventure and joy.
For even people who seem to have it all,
Still feel as though they are lacking something.
I guess that’s just part of life,
We’re all feeling a void,
Something within us not filled,
A feeling of loss,
Or that life still hasn’t turned out as we expected.
And I guess I’m coming to realize that it’s our longing to be with whom our soul longs to be with,
Our Father in heaven that creates that whole that nothing here can fill,
No matter how much we try to fill it.
And one day we will feel that beautiful wholeness.
But until then,
May we life with an eternal mindset,
That all we do,
How we live with what we have,
We have a choice in how we can live it out.
Whether for His glory or our own,
And all of our choices,
All of our decisions,
And there’s a beautiful life we can make the most of,
Or even if right now it feels like hell,
There is always a way to begin the hard journey of turning it around.
Don’t give up,
Seek others to help,
You’re not alone.
And your life is still worth living and healing.
Going back to that answer we’re all looking for,
Whether it’s we’re hoping that someone will come save us from our pain,
Or someone will fill that void we feel,
Or hand us our dreams (or at least all the money to make it happen),
Or even if we’re looking for some ten step guideline in how to make the most out of our lives,
Or how to deal with the fact that life isn’t working out how you expected it too,
Which is super hard,
I’m working through that now.
But I pray that through all those unanswered questions,
And as you work through the reality of life turning out the way it has,
May you press into the Lord and seek His truth.
Allowing Him to renew your mind to see all the beauty around you,
And the life within your grasp that is able to be embraced and lived wholeheartedly.
For it is humbling when we realize life isn’t just easy,
Or we can’t just get what we want,
And when we realize that life maybe isn’t just for our happiness but for His glory,
That we begin to start seeing the true purpose our little lives hold,
That there is something more to do that just obtaining what we want,
But to look at Him and live so that others may come to have a glimpse of a love that sets us free,
That heals the brokenhearted,
And brings hope to the lost.
That our life isn’t just so we can succeed,
But that the gospel can be preached and the good news that although this life is far from perfect,
And we’ll deal with hurt,
Rejection and pain,
There is hope for a life that goes beyond just what we see,
And a God who loves us and knows us by name.
Also just to clarify,
In no way am I saying to not work towards dreams,
Or that life sucks and we should deal with it,
What I am saying is that life (for me at least),
Hasn’t turned out exactly as I thought it would.
Not that it’s turned out horrible at all,
But there’s still a lot to work through when it doesn’t go as planned.
And in writing this blog,
I wanted to shine light which I feel a lot of us twenty something year old’s feel,
Because of the culture we live in that glamorizes life and living it to the fullest,
Which for some of us,
Quitting work and travelling for a year,
Or living each day as if it were your last,
Isn’t quite possible.
And there there is so much beauty in life,
Regardless if you’re vacationing everyday or doing extreme things.
For your life’s greatest story isn’t just in all you do,
Or the name you make for yourself,
But how you live along the way.
The way others feel when they’re around you,
The way you step out to care for those whom others have forgotten about,
And the way you love those who are far from easy.
Receiving that grace and love that has been freely given to you by a loving King,
And giving it back out.
May your life be lived,
With your whole heart,
Each and every day my friend.