It’s easy to get stuck in the future. I do it all the time. I visualize myself in five years and know exactly where I want to be. Then I dream up a master plan. What will it take to get to where I want to be and how will I get there? I take the first step, with high hopes, believing everything’s going to turn out the way I want it.
But then . . .
it doesn’t. Or at least it’s not as smooth of a ride as I’d like it to be. I stop and stare at the boulder in front of me, thinking of every way I could go around it. But after I’ve made it past the first boulder, comes another one, then another one. Eventually I sit in the middle of the boulders, blaming God for not removing them.
I push my five-year plan up to a seven-year plan. But I keep thinking, “it’s going to happen.” I will get where I’m going. I get up and push another boulder out of the way, finally making progress. I keep thinking of that day, the day when all my hard work will pay off, the day when I get to stare down the road I came on and say, “I did it.” But during the traveling, I forget what it is that I’m traveling to. Where am I traveling to? What am I working toward? I get so caught up in getting there, I forget why I wanted to get there in the first place.
At fifteen, when I began to take writing seriously, I had one goal: to share the gospel with the world. That was my number one goal. But as I set out to achieve that goal, all these requirements popped up. And achieving them became a priority. If I wanted to share Jesus with the world through my writing, I had to get better at it first. No one was going to read my sloppy stories and get anything out of it, other than, “she needs to improve her writing.”
So, improving my writing became a priority. But that was all right, it’s what needed to be done. But then I realized, if people were going to find Jesus in my stories, I had to have an interesting plot. Not only that, but I had to have believable characters, with real personalities. So, I got my creative juices flowing. But what happens when your manuscript is as good as you can get it? You publish it. And once your manuscript is published, you’re supposed to get money off of it. If you don’t get any money, that means it didn’t sell and it wasn’t any good.
At this point . . .
I told myself I needed money to show that my writing was good. Because without good writing, no one would finish the manuscript and feel closer to Jesus. So, I began to view success as making a lot of money. And just like that, my goal at the end of all those boulders changed from sharing Jesus with the world, to making a living. Although everyone needs to make a living and if you can make a living off of doing what you love, go for it. But to often we lose track of what we love and focus on what we want out of it instead. Without noticing we’re no longer working toward our original goal. It got lost somewhere amongst the boulders. My love for Jesus and story-telling got lost amongst the boulders.
We focus so mush on what we want out of the deal or what we want the outcome to be, we forget what we wanted in the first place.
Whatever your goal is, don’t get so focused on reaching it that you become blind to the success you’ve already made. I’ve come to realize that success isn’t accomplishing that one final goal, it’s achieving all the little ones on the way. Every time you push away one boulder and walk on, (every time you don’t give up) you’re successful. If we stop focusing on that “single goal” we’ll notice how many little ones we’ve achieved along the way. In the end it’s not about reaching our “big goal” it’s about achieving a small goal everyday and finding joy in the road trip (the daily life). And if we look around, we’ll notice that God’s been working with us all along. Every boulder in your way wasn’t moved by you alone, God helped you with every one of them. And he will continue to help you.
We need to feel successful in life. Every human mind has the longing to achieve something, even if he doesn’t notice it early on. He wants to look back and think, “I did good. I had a good life.” But if we only focus on achieving the one thing, we think will make our life “successful,” we’ll miss every good thing in between. Live every day, don’t save it for that one day.