Too many times, our own expectations subvert the very task we set out to achieve. It doesn’t start out like that, of course, but it inevitably always sways in that direction. Our expectations impact our resolve. If left unchecked, our rigid expectations drive us to the brink of quitting.
We all start with a good workable plan.
Next, we get to work. Tirelessly. Enthusiastically, executing our plan.
And things go well.
The sun shines. Little birds serenade our many efforts. Sweat pours out of our pores. We dig our ditches with much purpose, and we can smell or taste where we are going. We imaginatively grasp the lucidity of our dreams.
Life begins to test our resolve.
Suddenly, we realize that fall has come and winter is coming. We find ourselves in an unwarranted change in our routine. Perhaps we are faced with an illness. We grow tired. We become restless. We embrace being tired.
At first, we push back harder. Or we begin to grow every wearier and look for any seemingly significant reason to quit.
We look for ways out.
For some kind of a justification that what we are doing can wait a little while. A divine reprieve. An excuse, that will allow us to ease our efforts, and eliminate the tension we felt, so many times before.
We begin to run toward the familiar. We begin to retreat.
We make the mistake of not letting life unfold on its own terms.
But why do we set limits on our ideas?
Create deadlines? Give our dreams ultimatums?
Why do we think of ourselves as failures, unless we have a certain number of followers, or diplomas on our wall?
Why do we measure our success by the money in our bank account? Or by how beautiful people think we are?
Why not resist becoming a commodity?
Why not fight being a tradable and replaceable cog in a wheel?
Why don’t we just take life as it comes?
We not live with the inevitable tension of change.
We cannot plan for it.
We have enough time to chase our dreams, but we don’t have time to work our plan B. Then why do we go to work on plan B, C and D?
Life is about letting go of what was or what might have been. Failure is an event. Past tense. Living happens in the present. It is always meaningful. It is always worth the effort.
You will wake up one of these mornings and your wife will leave you. Your son will be picked on again at school. Your animals will get sick or old. You best friend will be killed by a drunk driver.
You will lose your mind and tell your co-worker to take a leap of a cliff. Perhaps you’ll give them a gentle nudge or a firm push in the right direction.
But even if all hell breaks loose, stand still and take life as it comes.
Accept the permanent tension of living.
It is that very unwarranted and uncomfortable tension that makes everything possible.
Begin to believe in the magic of possibilities.
For twenty-seven years, Nelson Mandela patiently took life as it came. He took in inside the confines of a prison wall. He remained vigilant and dreamt of a South Africa that only existed in his heart.
Throughout her life, Mother Teresa woke up before anyone else, and went into the streets of Calcutta, to help the dying and the untouchable. She was never satisfied and battled depression her entire life. Why? Because there was always one more hand to hold. One more human story to break your heart.
She took life as it came. Arms wide open. One moment at a time.
What about you?
How will you handle your upset stomach? Your coffee stained shirt? The unexpected staff meeting? An angry customer? Your unreasonable and demanding boss? The rain? Snow? Unexpected heat?
There is always something, isn’t it?
If you take the time to think about it, no matter what you do, or how hard you prepare, there is always something that doesn’t go right. Something always mucks up everything.
Change is inevitable.
Change is the one constant in life.
Be grateful for it.
Don’t fight it.
Smile when the unexpected happens.
See the opportunity in everything.
Because God dreams bigger than you!