It’s reached that inevitable stage of life, the one that finds you in your twenties, on the verge of closing out the college chapter. And the whole world is before you, filled with hundreds upon hundreds of options, or so they always seem to be saying. Possibilities so endless that it makes you want to reach out and grab hold of everything. To do all the things, set up all the dreams, achieve everything you’ve so vividly imagined becoming reality one day.
And the dreaded question that slips its way into all the conversations and thoughts:
It’s followed in rapid succession by items in a similar vein of thought : where do you want to live? what are your hopes for the future? what do you see yourself doing in twenty years?
Then the internal conflict: should you further your education or find a job? should you stay close to home or explore new places? should you do what you love or what will give the greatest success? what really is success anyways? and so on it goes.
You’re no stranger to this, since you’ve long been fascinated by the concept of the “perfect” routines, saving everything on Pinterest within sight, desperately trying to form the best version of life possible, sure you’re missing something. You’ve grown up in a world where “what is your dream job?” is a legitimately fun question to consider – and you should be grateful for that.
But what takes place when the sheer volume of ideas rises above your head? When you look up to realize you’re swimming in an ocean of choices and have no ideas about which direction will bring relevance and meaning in an ever-increasing world of irrelevance and shallow living?
This has been the year of a million goodbyes. A million uncertainties. Losing long held hopes, almost but not yet plans, relationships as they once were, and that sense of direction that seemed so sure. Now, you’re thrown into the whirlwind of the unknown. And so you try and try your best to keep things right side up, headed towards all of the best things life has to offer.
Along, the way, this note to self is typed:
To the girl with a million planners in her hand, a never-ending stream of to do lists, obsessively making new goals to achieve ideals. The indecisive one who takes five minutes to pick a coffee flavor, puts too much weight on every thing she does, who views everything as a movement towards the illusive perfect. The one always curating photos, simplifying possessions and inboxes, trying to choose only the best quality areas.
What if living wasn’t ever designed to be this way? What if perfect, state of the art, beyond dreams condition wasn’t the end goal? What if it all was meant to leave us hoping not for more hours or more options or more all the best here and now, but for something beyond the present?
And tired of this ceaseless pursuit, you hope beyond hope this might be true.
Later you are buried in the piles of summer reading that push you to explore the world and to reconsider perspectives on living. And these words jump from the page and tattoo themselves into your brain.
But as a counterweight to the “make your dreams come true” stuff of graduation speeches, we need the firm reminder that many of us expect too much out of life. We’ve assumed that we’ll experience heaven on earth, and then we get disappointed when earth seems so unheavenly. We have little longing left for our reward in the next life because we’ve come to expect such rewarding experiences in this life. And when every experience and situation must be rewarding and put us on the road to complete fulfillment, then suddenly the decisions about where we live, what house we buy, what dorm we’re in, and whether we go with tile or laminate take on weight significance. There is just too much riding on every decision. I’m pretty sure most of us would be more fulfilled if we didn’t fixate on fulfillment so much.
Just Do Something | Kevin DeYoung
I’m pretty sure most of us would be more fulfilled if we didn’t fixate on fulfillment so much.
The thought strikes quickly and settles in, moving with you throughout the next weeks. What if you’ve had it backwards? What if all this striving – attempting to capture the right angles, have all the right answers to every question, always find the best, the things you find full of beauty, this life-is-short so get all you can from it mentality, is not the answer to all the restlessness?
You feel the vastness of the world and all the adventures it holds in your bones. Colors swirling in vibrant shades, sounds rich and soft, cultures colliding, and views breathtaking. A symphony of wonder that unfolds around you. The potential to move into it, to reach into the broken places, the shadows, the celebrations and the light; leaving an impact with your own heart and two hands. And it leaves you restless, desperately at a loss for MORE, always searching. You’ve been fixated on fulfillment.
It starts sinking in. That no matter how hard you try, it will never be enough. You will never be satisfied chasing this ellusive perfection. Your life will never have the dream job, in the best community, in the ideal location, with everything you love close by. And you shouldn’t want it that way, or else you won’t be left wanting something better.
When did I forget this? That my heart was made for something more?
In the face of the future and all the unknowns of living, this is freeing. Because this world is not what you live for, and that shifts literally everything in the paradigm.
There is now less weight on each decision and opportunity, because you know there is more than this world has to offer. A place with E N O U G H.
So if this life is not all we have, the way we live should be changed. If fulfillment isn’t the goal, then what is? Instead of constantly spinning in circles, making pro con lists of what to do, stuck in repeated prayers of uncertainty, we move forward. We go and love others with everything in us, we pour into community, we seek first the kingdom.
While it is only human to wish for a roadmap, all the waiting for it to be revealed means nothing happening. And we already know that we arrive on this planet with a departure date, making time of the essence. As the book ellaborated:
God doesn’t tell us the future for this simple, yet profound reason: We become what we behold. God wants us to behold Him in His glory so that we can be transformed into His likeness. If God figured everything out for us, we wouldn’t need to focus on Him and learn to delight in His glory.
To learn to be dependent on Him, without control. This has been a recurring theme of your life lately. As we learn to do so, we make sure to do these few things in everything.
Seek His kingdom, seek His righteousness.
Love God, love others.
Then all else falls into place. This should be where the focus sits. So instead of sitting around paraylzed for fear of missing out, seek wise advice, look at past growth + interests, then get in motion. Attempt things, even if they scare you. Life is over before we know it, so why are we wasting our lives on being dead certain it’s the right path, effectively avoiding ANY path?
Surrender the future, control to the One who knows it best, who knows you and your story best. I’ve spent the better part of this year, of my life, frantically grasping for some sense of familiar, of fulfillment. From favorite places to visit, to favorite songs, to getting rid of everything except the things truly loved, to revisiting old and new dreams, holding on to it all with a death grip. But I am realizing, this world is not our home, I shouldn’t expect to find fulfillment here.
the song runs through your mind // When I try to take control fear and terror grip my soul. I need joy, I need peace, I need rest, I need relief. I look to You and You teach me to seek Your kingdom, seek Your righteousness.
So friends, here’s to a year of learning to just do something, of not letting the future paralyze, of focusing + being dependent on Him, of seeking His kingdom first, of not forever searching for satisfication when this was never meant to give it.