Sometimes we have jobs, careers, or extracurricular activities or just everyday routines that seem to drain our soul out of us. Not always, but every once in a while we seem to hit some sort of wall, we find ourselves two hours into an eight hour shift with a feeling of extreme frustration and weariness. Usually we try to justify these feelings with incidences that took place that day, a particularly difficult customer, not enough sleep, not enough coffee, not enough alone time, and let’s be honest, all of these are perfectly valid reasons for an isolated case of a bad day. But after a solid week of unrelenting unhappiness we begin to look for other things in our life to blame for our emotions. We notice that our boss has a pretty intense napoleon complex, or we find a structural problem at work, or an issue with one of our housemates and blame our miserable state of hopelessness on it. Many times the problems that we find are of good cause for grief, and should be addressed in some way. But these issues, as frustrating as they can be, are not the true cause of the non-happiness in our life. Instead, something quite simple, in fact the true cause is simply in our heads. The problem is hopelessness.
If we lack hope for the future then we lose all appreciation for the present, no matter how comfortable or uncomfortable our situation may be. Often, problems at work or home can spark hopelessness, but what we must realize is that no matter what the catalyst may be, the true problem in these situations is hopelessness in and of itself. Hopelessness is a simple beast. By definition it is just a lack of hope, which I think is slightly untrue, because I disagree that there is any such thing as a lack of hope, but instead only closing our stubborn eyes to the hope that is always there. Hopelessness is what happens when we abandon who we are and where we are going. Hopelessness is choosing something other than the promises we have been given. Hopelessness is forgetting who our Daddy is. Hopelessness must be chosen before it can be experienced, and choosing hopelessness over hope is like using our plane ticket to paradise as toilet paper. Hope is not hard to find, much of the time looking at our past and realizing that we made it this far is enough to remind us that we are in good hands. We realize that those hands are the only two reasons we still have the ability to stand and ingest food without medical assistance. Hope is realizing that those hands will never let us go. Hope is one of the greatest gifts that our Father has given us, and we have a choice to embrace it and experience the most radical of loves and the most intoxicating of joys, or we have a choice to choose something other than hope. Something directly opposed to the will of the one person who cares the most about you, something that was uniquely designed to destroy you. I don’t mean to state the obvious, but hope is the better choice. Don’t let circumstances dictate your internal joy and serenity. Peace and joy come from hope and relationship; they are not the result of magical circumstances.
Having peace about a situation does not mean you are going to stay in that terrible situation, or even that you are okay with that situation. It means that the safety and security that we all value so much is tied to someone more safe and secure than a job. It means that we are holding on to the hand that is guiding us. It means that your peace is unaffected in your process of progressing on to the next thing. We can advance through the levels and stages of life in one of two ways. One, we can constantly be jumping from job to job, school to school, or city to city because no matter where we go or what we do, we hate everything around us. No matter what the circumstances are we fight like hell to make sure it doesn’t last for more than six months. Or we can advance from job to job school to school, and city to city, not because of discontentment, but because we are holding onto our hope. We are holding onto our promises of a better tomorrow. We are no longer retreating from our circumstances and insecurities but instead we are traveling toward the next open door, following the loving advice of our omniscient Father. It’s the difference between running scared and leading the charge.
Living a life of hope and peace is easy; it’s not normal, but it should be. Following your heart is not safe, but what adventure worth pursuing is safe? Living an extraordinary life can be intimidating at first, but when put in the right perspective, it seems much more manageable.
I was spending some alone time with God a few weeks ago. He directed my attention to a small bird fluttering around my back yard, and I felt Him tell me how that bird was born and raised normally just like every other bird of his species. How he lives a normal life and yet that bird is uniquely happy. It made me realize that living an adventurous life is not about condemning normalcy or doing extraordinary things, it’s about living with a sense of adventure, it’s about facing each task as a quest, it’s about trusting the guide. When you embrace the everyday and the ordinary things in life, they no longer seem so mundane; you will see the life in them. Big things are nothing more than a bunch of small things put in perspective. A blizzard is just a bunch of individual snow-flakes, this blog is nothing more than a bunch of individual words. In the same way, an extraordinary life is nothing more than a bunch of individual days. This perspective, coupled with unshakable hope, will change your life, can take you anywhere, and more importantly will change the world. The only thing standing between you and your ideal life is absolutely nothing.