What's Your Regret?
This year I turn 50 years old. I can’t believe how fast time goes by when you think you have so long to expend the time you think you have.
For as long as I can remember, I have always had big goals and dreams. I can’t think of a time in my adult life where there wasn’t something I was preparing to pursue, in the middle of pursuing, or planning to eventually pursue – that’s just who I am, an incredible dreamer and goal oriented person. If I wasn’t pursuing education, I was pursuing a business venture – there was something about the smell of success that would always get me motivated to achieve.
But if I’m honest, just as there is a supreme motivation that accompanies the thrive to success, there is also a feeling of exhaustion that parallels its weight. Exhaustion because after a while, you wonder if all the effort you put into chasing dreams and accomplishments was actually effort put forth in the direction of personal ambition and not your life's true calling. I know it’s not a popular thought, but a good one to consider nonetheless.
Are you consumed with the idea of glorifying yourself rather than glorifying God? Are you more obligated to the feeling of having been successful in this life because you believe that a life lived without the satisfaction of personal achievement is one that has failed in the area of stewardship? If so, it’s possible that you’re not lacking in stewardship, you're lacking in purpose and obedience.
One of the things that I had to learn was that even though my intentions were pure, I was being motivated by the ambition of personal gain & ambition. There was nothing hidden in the crevices of my accomplishments that even vaguely resembled what God wanted for me, or even needed from me to fulfill my earthly reason for being here – I just wanted to do it! I think we get so caught up in our existence here on earth as humans embracing the freedom God gives us to live abundant lives, that we confuse those lives as actually being our own… and they’re not. So we eliminate God from the equation and overly invest ourselves in pursuing shiny lives that make us happy, when that was never the objective of the life He gave to us.
Don’t get me wrong, God does want us to enjoy the life that He has given us here on earth, but He doesn't want us to do so separate and apart from Him. His expectation is that everything concerning us, He contributes to. When we get ahead of that or even disallow Him the courtesy of consideration when making decisions, pursuing goals, or chasing dreams, we find ourselves in situations that cost us more than we have to give.
And then when we are in over our heads, we ask God to fix the product of our choices, when all we had to do was consider Him first.
It took me to approach the mature, yet tender age of 50 before I fully understood this principle. While I am grateful for the many colorful accomplishments I have achieved, I do regret not embracing God’s perfect will for those seasons of my life. The beauty of God however, is such that when you do embrace understanding, He can use everything for your good and for His glory.