Facing a new season seems daunting at first, but quickly becomes a challenge. Drastically different, you remind yourself, do life better this time. The plan begins, but simultaneously unravels just as it always tends to do. We think we know exactly what will be waiting for us at the end, something shinier and even more capable of building up our own, earthly accomplishments until a temporary kingdom rapidly sprawls before our greedy little eyes. We want to own this place and convince ourselves that mediocrity isn’t an option.
New opportunities often mean discovering why we believe in what we do and what we look to for finding our value.
In the overabundant land of opportunity, our journeys wind and bend and might take us down the scariest road we’ve ever experienced. But this journey also has the potential to rear its stubborn head and set us on a path of all-consuming self-interest.
Every decision we make on the path of destruction stems from the innate desire to cater to our own wants and must-haves.
The real test reveals itself in how we resist the urge to solely focus on ourselves. In a culture that constantly emboldens you to “find yourself,” it takes a determined person to resist that current and choose to learn from others and strive to meet their needs whenever possible.
I used to view the world in two groups: the “I’m-better-than-those-people” group and the “Those-people-want-nothing-to-do-with-me” group. I didn’t understand the joy in learning from others’ perspectives and the unique way in which different people piece together meaning in life, relationships, ambitions, fears, betrayal, compassion, rejection, and love. I quickly realized my impatience with others drove me to constantly nourish my selfishness and how my fear of rejection developed a nasty habit of isolating myself. To miss the opportunity of knowing someone fully, a person who thought differently than I, meant severing any chance of ever let someone strengths complement my weaknesses.
When I viewed others as superior or inferior, I constructed a narrow-minded view of the world. I experienced pride in both ways, whether it manifested itself in arrogance or in a sense of false humility; either way, I was far too occupied with myself. It caused me to surround myself with barriers as I feared being hurt. Little did I know, I was my own worst enemy.
One of my favorite books reminds me that “happiness is only real when shared” (Alexander McCandless), and it stands true as I navigate this confusing, surprising, frustrating, and joy-giving gift we call life. Ultimately, I have learned what it means to truly persevere through difficult relationships and how to best serve people who may not view the world with the same perspective. Loving people that are easy to love is a simple task, but to claim to have a love of Christ in my heart means much more than tolerating someone else.
To truly know a person well, you must walk through daily life with them and see them in their joys, sorrows, in the mundane, and in moments of tremendous success. To simply disregard someone else altogether after a bad first impression deprives us of ever knowing that person’s true self. The first impression is only a dot on a complex timeline of events in a person’s life.
Seeing the way others approach challenges and thought provoking questions provides you with the opportunity to test your own values. For me, if there was a difficult person who I did not want to deal with, I surrounded myself with friends telling me what I wanted to hear. I judged people far too quickly and feelings of unease around a person registered as discomfort rather than seeing my inability to understand them or see the ways in which I could improve my own shortcomings. If I do disregard a person completely, I look like every other person in this world who does not want their selfishness limited or tested.
Our life is subject to change depending on how God wants to mold us for His purpose. Just because you have declared your major, your future career, or your whole life plan does not mean your blueprint will completely stay on track. The Lord will allow His ultimate purpose to infiltrate our hearts and minds, and as a result, the deepest desires of our heart will align to God’s desires. He knows us better than we know ourselves and His mercy can save us from becoming our own worst enemy.
Are you willing to sacrifice your written plan so you can experience an adventure with God? He will not disappoint.
Copyright © 2017 · All Rights Reserved · Melissa Carroll
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