What if I told you that you already have the life you long for? You know, the one you dream about? Would you believe me? Chances are, if you haven’t paid much attention to your life, you probably wouldn’t believe me.
We all have expectations for ourselves, and our lives; we have dreams we seek to attain. We have images of who we think we should be. In and of themselves these are not bad things- these dreams. They can make us seek to live differently than we are, and make us change in some good ways.
But when something that isn’t a reality becomes your focus, you lose the ability to accept the life you have. In my experience, when chasing a life you think you want, you tend towards living a hustled, worn-out, and discontented existence.
Expectations for a life we SHOULD be living will always rob us for the life we actually have.
Here’s the thing: I’m all about crafting an intentional life, making time and putting your resources towards the things that MATTER. But in order to do this we need to stop trying to live in the should’s and start living in NOW.
How the Fear of Missing Out Robs You
Living to meet the expectations of SHOULD will always rob you of the heart of why you are doing something. SHOULD is an external expectation put on you, often by someone else, and sometimes put on you by… you.
Maybe, you are an excellent marketer, but your parents or spouse or mentors believe you SHOULD work your way up to senior management. So, you work with these expectations weighing on your shoulders, each day, unable to fully put yourself into your work as a marketer, because you’re striving for something beyond your real actual life, NOW.
Or you believe that to truly live out your faith, you have to something big and public FOR God. So, you live with the burden that you’re never enough, and are never going to match up to the ‘great’ people who have lived sacrificially. You fill your life with seemingly good things, but all under the guise of needing to do something public and great for God.
And then here’s what happens: Maybe you’ve lived into that SHOULD. Maybe you work hard, and finally get what you’ve been longing for- that job, that house, a baby, a marriage. And then you find that reality doesn’t match your dreams of what it would be like when you finally ARRIVED. So, you start longing for the next stage, and the next thing, and you miss what’s right in front of you.
Not only is the fear of missing out real, it’s so real that it can rob you from living your actual life. Somewhere along the way, we stopped believing in the power of our actual lives. When we don’t believe in the power of our everyday, ordinary lives, we forsake the gifts right in front of us.
The life you long to live is possible. You long to live connected to those around you, present to the joys and the challenges of the day, and wide awake to the lessons that inevitably come in life. This is possible, and not only that, but it’s possible in the life you have right now.
You Don't Need Someone Else's Life
If you’re like me, and many people I know, somewhere along the way you started believing that in order to truly live, you had to have a DIFFERENT life- like someone else’s life. You envied their life, or lived in shame and guilt at the life you actually have, because well, it wasn’t theirs… it… was… yours.
But you don’t need someone else’s life or the lives you see on Instagram.
You need to live your life. Your actual life is where God longs to form you. His formation of you, happens not in someone else’s life, but in YOURS. In the heartache and anxiety, in the joy and laughter.
You see, the people God surrounds you with are the people God wants to use to form you. Not someone down the road, not the image of the person in your mind. But the actual people. We gloss over this so much.
We think we need to have different friends, a different boss, different kids, or a different family- because those in our lives right now just aren’t the people we thought they would be. We think “this is all there is?” And miss the power of these relationships to be the material for our formation, our being drawn towards God, and our ability to live wide awake.
Comparison Is Robbing You of Your Life
Your actual life is the only life you have. So, why are you longing for someone else’s? I’ll let you in on a little secret…their life isn’t as good as their pictures looks- just like yours isn’t just like the life you have in your mind.
But, giving up these images- this comparison to other people’s life is key towards living YOUR real life. We can’t live our real lives, when we’re constantly comparing and seeking to live up to someone else’s expectations for ourselves.
So, give up the comparison.
It’s hard at first, doing this. But starting to live your actual life means you start paying attention to the life right in front you- something you can’t do when you’re seeking to live up to an unattainable expectation, or when you constantly tell yourself someone else’s life is better or more fulfilled than yours.
You have the life you long for. But you have to accept your actual life for what it is- in all its mundane ordinariness. Living someone else’s life, or someone else’s illusion of your life, will always rob you of the goodness of your real life. So, start living contented.
Living contented starts today. You can do it.
Your actual life, can become the life you’ve always wanted-when held, turned over and examined for what it is- a gift through which you are changed, formed, and used for the sake of others.
If you're longing to find meaning in the midst of the mundane in your own life, I have a gift written just for you. My e- book called Jesus and Spit: Seeing the Miracle in the Mundane is yours FREE when you sign up here. Join me on this journey to discover the miracles God has in your ordinary life!