it's not about what you want.

i read an article a couple of weeks ago that brought up a good point. i had thought about it before, but not in the way it was presented. the premise is basically this: it's not about what you want for your life; it's about how much pain you're willing to go through to get there.

we tend to think about the end, not the process. we think about what we want, and expect to have it in two weeks or less. and really the question we should ask ourselves is not what we want, but what it will take to get there. we should ask ourselves: how much pain am i willing to put myself through to get where i want to go?

because it will take work. it will take pushing through some kind of pain. and most people don't really want it enough to go through the pain of it. most of us don't love the process enough.

for me? there are certain processes i really legitimately enjoy that a lot of people don't. for instance: i enjoy working out. i enjoy the process. some days more than others, but i actually need to work out a bunch of times a week so i don't go crazy. i'm one of those weirdos who enjoys pushing myself to the brink.

and writing. frankly, i haven't put the time in to be a great writer. i get distracted from blog posts far too easily - it's a challenge to make it through any one no matter how much time i think i've given myself. {granted, some of that has to do with my children waking up, and waking up again, and waking up again... but the point still stands}

to get good at something, really good, you have to put in the time and the effort. if i really hate the process to get somewhere i probably won't see it through. i can love the dream of the life i would have if only i could get there, but if i can't survive the pain it takes to get there, then i won't do it. period.

in our culture we tend to think that it's just about what we want. it's about dreaming big enough dreams, and chasing them. but we oversimplify the chasing part. we try to make the process of getting there shorter than it is. we read the book of the guy who made it, and suddenly the process didn't take ten years - it took 50 pages. he has gone from relative obscurity to fame in an afternoon.

noting all of that i have started asking myself: what would i do anyway? van gogh painted for his entire life. a life in which he sold basically no paintings. a life during which he wondered if his paintings would ever be worth something more than the price of the paint it took to paint them.

{found via pinterest from tumblr}

van gogh painted anyway. he was a starving artist who only had his day after he was gone from this world. but he painted anyway.

no, i don't think i'm van gogh. but what do i do anyway? what do you do anyway? and frankly, what are we trying to gain by all of this striving?

ecclesiastes tells us that we're simply striving after wind. we're striving after happiness, which is basically the same thing.

God made us who we are, but it's not about me. and that's the part that i miss every day, over and over again. because who i am in Him is whom i really am. who i am in Him is whom i was created to be. every time i try to make it about me and my striving, and my anything is when it all falls apart.

yes, i am an active participant. yes, i was made with strengths and weaknesses. yes, i have certain gifts and talents. but it's not about me.

am i willing to walk the path that follows him even if it doesn't get me anything on this earth? i can't take any of it with me anyway.

ask the questions: what kind of pain do i withstand anyway? how am i wired? because those questions are really asking: how did God make me? how can i best serve him?

it's not about what you want.

we think we'll be fulfilled by trying to put ourselves first and foremost. but we're called to love God with all that we are. we're called to love our neighbors as ourselves.

none of those things constitute bringing glory to ourselves. none of those things make life about ME.
but i try to usurp life all the time. i try to make it primarily about me when it was never meant to be that way.

so, how does God want to use me? what kind of pain has he made me to be able to withstand? what about you? what would you do anyway?



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