God has wired us for adventure and accomplishment. The apostle Paul encourages us to "measure up to the full and complete standard of Christ." He also tells us to "run with endurance the race God has set before us." If you're earnestly heeding Paul's words, you're probably living a life that's purpose-driven and open to encountering God's surprises around every twist and turn in the road. Sounds like a life of adventure and success to me.
Except let's be real, at times we lose the thrill of meeting the full measure of Christ. Although I try to follow after God and live a life that brings him glory, the truth is I get distracted and fall off-course easily. I want significance and success, sometimes more than staying the course, even when I know the course I'm on is the right and best one.
For instance, when I decided to leave the workplace years ago and make a living as a freelance writer and editor so that I could be home with our young kids, I knew I had made the right decision. God was gracious enough to provide good, steady work doing what I love. But still there were more days than I'd like to admit when I wished for a different life, a life that was shinier and more exciting, a life more like the kind Sandra Crawford Williamson experienced earlier in her career.
Sandra writes about reaching the pinnacle of her profession with all the amenities that come with success—fancy car, expensive jewelry, extravagant meals and trips. Sometimes I'd like to experience the thrill of climbing to the peak of Mt. Career. I'd like to reach the summit and plant my flag there so the world could know, "I made it!"
But that's not the race set before me. Sandra realized too that chasing after success was an elusive, empty shell of a promise. So if striving for success is nothing more than chasing after the wind, why do so many of us spend our lives in search of it? Maggie Paulus thinks it stems from our propensity to compare ourselves to others. As soon as the measuring sticks come out, we're caught in a game of "not enough" and "I want more."
"It's not wrong to search for significance," she writes. "We all ache to be a part of something meaningful—to fulfill some sort of purpose. It's what sets us apart from all the other created things. But Jesus calls us to abide in him. He's the source of life—the one our hearts are truly hungry for."
Unfortunately, the comparison trap doesn't end with us. Margot Starbuck takes a look at how our desire to attain the next shiny, new thing drives our kids just as much as us. As parents, we need to help tame and guide their constant chasing after the latest, greatest thing. This is easier said than done, especially when the quest for thrills and things is alive and kicking inside of us.
Wherever you are in life, it's our deepest desire that you experience the great adventure God has in store for you. May you find great joy and satisfaction in chasing after what matters most—Jesus.
Marian V. Liautaud