The call to be more than we currently are is everywhere. No matter your talent or skill, you have the ability to market and monetize yourself so you can fulfill your dream and get out of your mediocre life.
From television infomercials to the Christian Living section at the local bookstore, the message is clear: Your currently life can be shed for one that is much better. Of course, don’t forget to buy the latest technological tool or five-step outline to fame and fortune while you’re here.
Who doesn’t want to quit their 9-to-5 and strike it rich doing the one thing they love? I would much rather write all day than take calls from strangers in a call center. Everyone has a dream job they would jump into if they could.
But we can’t. Most of us have to work jobs we don’t like so we can pay bills, have a place to live, and bring home food to eat. Is that wrong? Are failing ourselves by living like that? Or has the call to “leave it all behind” and “be all you can be” taken a turn into dangerous territory?
While we are developing as people and improving our skills so we can get to that dream job, we have to keep our heads where we are. There must be balance between dreaming and preparing for who we want to be, while maintaining focus on who we have to be for now.
Living in frustrated disappointment
If we approach our current situation wishing we could take the shortcut to our ideal life, we set ourselves up for a terrible life. Nothing is good enough now because who we are, what we have, and what we do is so different from what we wish it could be.
We look at our lives or our work and all we can see is failure. This isn’t what I learned to do. This isn’t what my dream is. I don’t want to be here. This job stinks and my life stinks. I can’t be any good at this, so just get me out of here.
Everything around us disappoints us because it is a reminder of how we haven’t arrived at our preferred destination in life. Maybe we made poor decisions, or life might have thrown us a curve ball no one could ever expect. For whatever reason, we are where we are, but it isn’t good enough for us.
So we wake up to jobs we want to quit. We keep the same friends and relationships because we don’t want to be without any. We complain, we beat ourselves up, and we do it over and over again. Our life is constant frustration because all we see is disappointment.
The power of contentment
Do you know exactly where in the Bible we are told that we can jump straight to our dream and forget about everything else along the way? How did we come up with the idea that we deserve our dream and everything else is sub-par? What verse tells us we will be happy when our dreams are fulfilled?
You won’t find it. It isn’t there. In fact, the Bible promises us trouble in this life. It says to be thankful regardless of the circumstances we live in. And we are told to be content in the presence of Jesus Christ, not in the things of this life.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, NIV)
Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18, NLT)
Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5, NKJV)
Learning to embrace today
I understand how your life may not be easy or perfect today. You may wish you could wipe the slate clean and start over, but we can’t do it. Everything has brought us to now. But we can choose how to move forward.
Dream. Consider who God has made you to be, what He has prepared for you to do, and how you can fulfill your dream and God’s purpose for your life.
Just don’t get stuck there. Don’t let the future rob you of the purpose you serve here and now. You could be a dishwasher, an insurance salesman, a garbage collector, or a call center agent. What you are doing right now does not mean you are a failure at your dream. But you could be failing where you are because you are too blinded by what you long for.
While you dream about tomorrow and live in today, keep your eyes open for opportunity. A lot of the success people have seen in their lives comes from seeing the right opportunity and taking it. Too often we choose the first opportunity, which is rarely the right one. Other times we are so frustrated that we lose sight of any opportunity that comes our way. Keep your eyes open.
Eventually, as you release the frustration and begin to find a measure of contentment in the now, you will begin to see what you haven’t seen before. There are people around you who can build into your life, and others who need your presence in theirs. You are valued at the job you can’t stand to go to each day, and you’re better at it than you think.
And as you keep going, not forgetting where you are and still plodding along to where you want to be, God will be glorified. People will take notice. You’ll be a better coworker, spouse, parent, and friend. You will laugh more, have fewer headaches, and enjoy moments you didn’t know were there.
Suddenly the journey is worth living, because it isn’t just frustration and failure on the way to the goal. It has value. It’s worth it. And you end up being a better you because of it.