I am so prone to striving it’s a crime. Against myself and my better judgment. Even though I know my limits and recognise the dangers of chasing the wind I still catch myself hustling for more, even when I don’t need it. It’s amazing how conformed I am to the prevailing culture of competition that goads us ever onwards toward the elusive moment when we feel whole and complete. Completely burned out is more often the destination for this kind of madness.
It’s a cultural disease. The pursuit of more.
How about instead we pursue contentment. Recognise that we have already arrived and begin to enjoy the journey?
Simplicity – the Cure For Materialism
Materialism and the chasing of money and possessions grips our culture.
The desire for accolades and affirmation by society drives many to distraction.
Productivity is applauded, and peace is pushed aside.
But let me ask you? Who is the winner, the one who crosses the line first and reaches the peak before the rest, or the one who savours every step of the journey with childlike wonder?
I’m voting for contentment next time the ballots are open. Remember simplicity!
Simplifying Rearranges Priorities and Brings Me Home
Most often I find that it’s when my priorities are out of whack that the striving takes over. I forget that the real value of life is in my relationships, and sacrifice them in the name of accomplishments.
Again, let’s ask ourselves the hard questions.
Happy marriage for burgeoning bank account? If it is a choice, which one do we daily choose as revealed in our actions?
Children who grow up in a warm home knowing their father and mother’s lavish love and attention, or a well paid nanny who takes the place of overworked parents seeking the best for their kids (not knowing that they are the best gift for their kids, not the things they can give). Check out this article from Joshua Becker, http://www.becomingminimalist.com/35-gifts-your-children-will-never-forget/ for a little inspiration.
I’m not wanting to judge anyone here, I’m a recovering comparison-freak myself. A self-confessed would-be-high-achiever in whatever 12-step program back to realty there might be. I have made al of the mistakes in the book, and continue to catch myself falling into those same pervasive traps way too often.
All I want to do is stand here in the confessional and ask some questions. Why do I do what I do, and act out is accordance with values that are not really rooted at my core? Why is it that a driven culture so grips my own should despite knowing it is hurtling headlong over a precipice?
Let Yourself Off The Hook
Life is meant to be lived. That does not necessarily mean packing every nano-second with as much activity as we can muster. It means drinking in each moment as if it were our last. Recognising the miracle in every breath and every touch. Knowing that being able to see is a gift beyond description. That having ears to hear is a marvel without price. Remembering that the small things are actually the big things. The hug from your toddler. The kiss on the cheek and soft-hearted recognition of worth you receive from your spouse. The warmth of the sun on your face, or the heat of the fire whilst the wind howls outside.
How often do we unhook from the madness to honestly and fully enjoy the multitude of gifts pile on our doorsteps each and every day.
Food on our table.
Warm running water!
Clothes to wear and friends to call.
Truth to read, and church to bless.
Hope to share, and money to give.
Dump the Desire For More and Delight in What You Already Have
I have no issue with abundance. I embrace it and welcome it every day of my life. I believe in more than enough, but I also what to know when enough is enough. That’s the problem many folks face, myself included. Enough becomes the carrot on the end of the proverbial stick that we follow to our deathbed of regret.
A truly abundant life is not about accumulation, it’s not about accomplishment. It’s about becoming. It’s about being content and confident with who you are right now. It’s about living in a way that aligns with your values, regardless of what anyone else says or does.
Let’s become experts in thanksgiving. Become the go-to guy or gal for love and joy. Let’s hone our generosity skills and build our blessing muscles.
Other skills my be more celebrated on the world’s billboards, and splashed across the pages or Cosmo and the Wall Street Times – but heaven’s estimations run deep and eternal.
Love. Joy. Peace. Goodness. Kindness. Self-Control. Faithfulness. Patience and Long Suffering. The rich man or woman has mined the real diamonds of life and discovered eternal treasures that cannot be robbed by crisis or crash.
Stop for a moment right now and remember simplicity. If all were stripped away what would be the things that would remain? Are you placing value on those things today, or neglecting them? Sometimes it is the most valuable things in life that we take the most for granted.
Can you breathe today? Thank God. Take a moment to appreciate how incredible that is.
Can you walk? Let every step be one of thanksgiving for legs that work so wonderfully.
Can you offer help to another? How amazing that you have the means to do so!
NEVER FORGET. Small things are the BIG things!