It seems basic to the human condition that most of us like to talk about other people’s lives. My wife and I often talk about the members of our family, our friends and people we’re getting to know at church and in our neighbourhood. It seems especially fascinating to us to reflect on the major life decisions other people make. Why did they do that? Why did they choose that… carrier, spouse, place to live, hobbies, etc.
This is a huge subject, but I want to focus on how other people’s decisions seem so impractical to us. To us it often seems that a simpler more fruitful path is evident if that person could only see their life the way we do. But if I look at my wife and I, our major life decisions ae often looked like jumping off a cliff, cutting our nose off to spite our face, or shooting ourselves in te foot. Just wen tings were getting stable we end up changing things up, ripping up our garden patch, and heading off into another great unknown.
I realize that to a large extent tis is the case due to my wife and my choice of career as missionaries. However I believe that the risky nature of our dreams and endeavours is indicative of the passion of the human heart for more. It is natural for all of us to want more from life, to live it to the fullest. After all, time is short. The Bible says so.
“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Ps. 90:12).
“Show me, LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is” (Ps. 39:4)
“He remembered that they were but flesh, a passing breeze that does not return” (Ps. 78:39)
Often in times of difficulty my wife and I reflect on how we got ourselves into a certain situation. What were we thinking? Why did we bring this upon ourselves and our children? Of course, at times we have to repent because we made presumptuous decisions overestimating our ability to deal with whatever life could throw our way. If notices that as the years go by – I’m now 45 – I have an increasingly sober notion of te limits of my mental, emotional and physical resistance… of just how much I can bear without some part of my life blowing a gasket.
So it’s true tat sometimes we hate off more than we can chew. And sometimes we took burdens upon ourselves we shouldn’t have because God didn’t direct us that way. And in these cases we can’t expect for God to spare us any discomfort and loss, although thankfully He is amazingly gracious to bail us out time after time.
But my point here is that God has put a wild and ambitious spirit in all of us as part of being created in His image. Certainly this rambunctious energy was necessary for us to fulfil the call:
“Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground” (Gen. 1:28)
So if you find yourself in discomfort, ask the Lord if it’s the result of bold decisions you made to follow te dreams He put in your heart. If so, I believe the word of the Lord to us is what he said to Joshua: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Jos. 1:9).