So much time is spent thinking about what I want. And there comes a certain point in life when you start to feel like your ability to perform and make a living are threatened. You’re getting older. You feel like your opportunities are shrinking. And then you start hanging on so dearly to what you want.
I confess, lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want out of life. I have some specific goals that are dear to me. Things I’ve wanted to do ever since I was 12 years old. And why haven’t I accomplished those things yet? The standard, boilerplate answer: Because I don’t have enough time and money. But that’s really all we have – our time, our space (or positioning), and our resources (which includes money). These are limited, and we all have them. But the question is, where do they go? What is my time going to? Where is my money being spent? The Answer? Whatever we most value.
Why I got picked last in sports
We may have the things that we value, but I believe that above all, we want to be valued ourselves. This is coming from a guy who was always picked last or second-to-last in sports. And I’ve come to realize that people are valued for three things:
- Their strength – in other words, their performance and/or appearance
- Their wisdom – their ideas, their way of framing reality and solving problems
- Their riches – their physical assets
You guessed it – these three things are exactly what “resources” are. And how do you increase your resources in any of these areas? With your time and your positioning. These allow you to conduct trial-and-error. And trial-and-error is the cost of achieving what we want.
God Doesn’t Care
But how does God see us? He does not care about the stuff people care about. He has more strength, wisdom, and riches than we can ever dream of. Yet He values us, not just a little bit, but more than anything else – more than His strength, His wisdom, and His riches. And as far as I can tell, He values us for two reasons:
- Because we are His creation,
- and because we are made in His image.
What a mystery. But it’s because of this that He tends to pick the unexpected, unassuming people to do what He wants. People without the strength, wisdom, and riches to do His work. Why should He care? He can equip those people with enough strength, wisdom, and riches to do anything He wants them to do – after all, He created them, didn’t He?
Stop Worshiping People
So it’s important for us to be careful not to elevate other people because of their strength, wisdom, or riches. Yes, we should commend them and encourage them – that’s love, that’s a good thing. But we should not worship them, we should not esteem them higher in value than ourselves or others.
Yet, it’s also important for us never to diminish our own value based on our own strength, wisdom, or riches. God doesn’t do that, so who are we to do that? And guess what? When we diminish our own value, it’s just a hop, skip, and a jump before we start diminishing other people’s value.
Is it OK to have what I want?
So what about what I want? On one end, you feel like you can’t possibly ask for what you want in life. You’re a weak and sinful human being, and God is good and holy, so only He can choose for you what you should do. So you want whatever it is He wants. At least you say you do. But in reality, you only do what you think He wants, and in return, you expect Him and others just to give you what you want. Or worse, you try to take it from them. All without doing the trial-and-error, the work, necessary to achieve what you want.
On the other end, you set goals for yourself. Some are reasonable, some are far-fetched. And you end up getting disappointed, you get knocked down. But you can get back up and learn from your mistakes. You can set new goals. And here’s the thing: God not only wants you to achieve your goals, He’s personally invested in your success. He cares. This is how God chose to do things, as a partnership. If we were simply His slaves, then we would do His bidding, and only that. But He loves us, and wants us to partner with Him in this. It’s a mystery. But as we grow, as we mature, as we draw near to Him, our goals become more and more aligned with His will. So in the end, what we truly want is the same as what He truly wants. That’s beautiful.
Why you’re not famous (and that’s a good thing)
You are no less valuable than anyone else. You are no less talented than anyone else. You are no less creative than anyone else. But you do not have the same strengths, wisdom, and riches as other people. You’re different. This is in part because you choose to spend your time and positioning in other ways. You are not exercising trial-and-error in the same way as others. And that’s a good thing.
So why do we spend our time and positioning and trial-and-error on some things and others not as much? Because of the cost. If the cost is too high, we give up. What we want to do is reach that place where the cost is manageable for us. In other words, we seek the “sweet spot” where the forces of motivation and resistance meet.
Good values vs bad values
I want to be a better skateboarder. I want to be a better musician. I want to be a better artist. But if I don’t choose to do these things, then I’m just left with longing. And why didn’t I choose to do these things in the past? Because I valued other things more. Some of those things have been good, some have been bad. Many times I valued my own comfort above anything else. Many times I valued the opinions of others (which is really just worrying about myself) above anything else.
But some of the things I valued were not bad at all, in fact, they were, and are, quite good. The bible clearly states:
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. – Matthew 6:33
This implies that there’s actually something that must be valued first before we pursue other things. And as far as I can tell, those things are:
- My Family – choosing life, including health choices
- My Country – embracing my national identity (hint: no matter where you’re from, this involves your country’s relationship with Israel)
- My God – acknowledging that my life is not my own, because I was bought with a price
I know that any choice I made to spend time, positioning, and resources towards those things was a good choice. And I know that doing so will make a way for me to pursue the other things I value, in time. And I’m so cool with that, you have no idea.
So, who wants to be a millionaire?
Here’s the truth about you:
- You chose to position yourself and exercise trial and error in the pursuit of certain values. Those values may have been good (constructive, life) or bad (destructive, death).
- If you find yourself longing for some other pursuit, you need to position yourself for that pursuit, and exercise trial and error.
So, are you still thinking about what you want? Ask yourself this final question: What is the cost? Make no mistake, getting what you want in life will come at the cost of the other things you value. If the cost is manageable, than you are free to engage in your desired pursuit. But if the cost is unmanageable, you will lose one of the things you value at the expense of the other, or you’ll lose both, or you’ll lose your life. And nobody wants that. Seriously.
What is one specific thing you want out of life? Have you chosen to pursue it? If so, how? Let me know in the comments below!