A new mobile phone will not quell the longing for intimacy in your heart. The most filling meal will not satisfy your hunger for purpose. Settling for the immediate gratification will not deliver us long term freedom. Each has its place. Yes, sometimes even immediate gratification serves an important purpose. Something that may not seem like an example of this, but is in my opinion, is treatment for serious injuries or illnesses. Correctly administered pain medication and properly performed emergency surgery can save lives, limbs, and offer short-term peace while a more permanent solution is sought.
The people around us are interested in what we have to offer. Time and effort put into learning a craft or planning an experience can be shared with them. It can be a journey taken together, made better by people who look forward to sharing the time it with us. Being present where we are, turning our attention to the real world and the physical people with us, increases the opportunity we will be looking the right direction whenever there is a beautiful moment. Having a camera handy to capture a sunrise is nice, but taking it in with someone we care about will give us so much more than words can say or a photograph can show. Going to our favourite restaurant can be a treat, but talking over novel ideas with someone we trust, eating only soup and toast, can be the start of changing the world. Seeking short term satisfaction for ourselves often is a sacrifice, sometimes chosen at the expense of relationship with others. Asking “what’s in it for me?” is one reason our world is in the precarious state it is.
I don’t have all the answers to the world’s problems. I don’t even know half the right questions to ask to start looking for them. My life is a mess, but each day I get closer to knowing who I am, and some of the things I have been out on this earth to do. Each day I pray to God for guidance and hope, to draw closer to Him, to accept life’s inconsistencies and be thankful for them.
Your life is different to mine. You will face different challenges. One thing I know is true for us all.also happens to be the title of a Breaking Benjamin album: We are not alone.
Embrace your uniqueness. Approach things differently. Even if that means sticking out from the crowd around you. At worst you’ll have a funny story to tell. At best you will be living the most amazing success story. Tell this story by living your life, not someone else’s. Inhabit each moment in your life with honesty and kindness, the good and the bad.
I was lucky enough to attend a seminar by Alex Marestaing at the New Wine conference on Kapiti Coast this past weekend. He talked about a movement called “Choose kind” referring to a quote by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, which serves as a reminder of an important choice we will all make many times in our lives:
“When given the choice between being right and being kind, choose kind.”
I see this not as encouragement to “be the bigger person” by giving up what we want, nor as an opportunity to neglect our duty of care to tell honest stories, but as a challenge to put pride aside and live in the experiences that lie in front of us every day. God, family, friends, ourselves. None live in our phones, though these devices help with communication. Relationship with them is not sustained by food alone, though a good home-cooked meal helps. Constantly seeking attention is not the way to their heart, though noticing important changes and caring deeply for them is.
No one is a better you, than you. Value your experiences. The ones you’ve had and the ones yet to come. Value the stories of others with all your heart, and never stop sharing them. It is within these stories we realise how we can change the world – how we have changed the world – for the better.
Get to it. Get out there, and keep on keeping on.
Be good, keep good, and sleep good, dear readers. Peace.