I have obtained in my adult life nearly every thing my simple teenage mind could have wished for. I have a husband who loves and supports me, two beautiful children, a successful career that provides security and professional respect, a faith community where I can serve and lead in unique and fun ways. If I had created a checklist in high school of what my life should look like 20 years later, I think I could mark off the whole list. I have it all!
OK – I’ll admit one thing is missing… my young heart desired to own a boat! We’d use it for summer vacations, pulling me back into the memories of trips as a young child with my grandparents. But alas, my practical adult self understands that owning a boat in Nebraska with no easy lake access is not logical. So, the boat dream of my youth is unfulfilled – and I’m OK with that!
My teenage self would think that with “it all” there should be constant pride, peace with my life choices and a continued sense of high personal achievement. My teenage self was dead wrong. I may have “it all,” but on many days I am running around between work, kids’ activities and church meetings feeling as if I’m only partially present; not able to give my whole attention to any one thing.
I set high standards for myself. I want to keep everyone happy; I want to get that “gold star” for exceeding expectations. I want to be the perfect mom, wife, employee, citizen.
What I must tell myself – over and over again – is that marking off my internal checklist is not my purpose in life. I was created a child of God, to do God’s work and show God’s love in this insane world. If I can’t do that amidst the many events of my day, then those events are either not worth doing or I’m doing them wrong!
Easier said than done. Those overwhelming days are inevitable; a product of this fast-paced, demanding society we live in. And of course pushed by own excessive internal drive to be the best.
So a message to myself – pause and breathe! Don’t let human expectations – both your own and those of society around you – control how you live your life, or control the decisions made for your family. Having “it all” is not the goal!
Give God control of your day, remember WHO your life is for and where the focus should be! Love God, serve others – and that is all!
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. Proverbs 19:21