There is a common way of approaching life that is suspect at best and terribly wrong at worst.
Many of us approach life in this way even if it’s rare that we come out and directly say it.
We’re living life and anxiously trying to arrive somewhere.
We work and work and work and hope that eventually we’ll arrive.
The work in that sentence can refer to many things, but it is often our literal work and studies.
What’s the big deal?
The problem is that we look at life as something to succeed at and our life becomes something to use to fulfill a certain, often selfish, goal.
- You work hard and finally get that promotion. You’ve arrived.
- You work hard and finally hit that amount of net worth. You’ve arrived.
- You work hard and finally get that honour. You’ve arrived.
- You work hard and finally get that thing. You’ve arrived.
In one sense, there’s nothing wrong with pursuing these and many other goals. There’s certainly nothing wrong with hard work. The problem is in the way we view these goals and desires and in the importance we give to them.
If we treat life as something to be used to gain something or simply a road to travel on to arrive somewhere, we will spend most of our lives unhappy, unfulfilled, stressed, and driven to accomplish something that may never happen.
The saddest part is that most people find that when they are fortunate enough to arrive at their dream location, it’s not nearly as dream-like as they had thought. Even after arriving, they find that their desire to arrive somewhere remains inside of them.
Nothing you can accomplish will fully bring you to the sense of arrival that you desire.
Living well starts with receiving a sense of having already arrived.
This is why it’s so important to have an authentic and vulnerable relationship with God. Coming to know him brings a sense of rest, peace, and contentment. A relationship with him brings this sense of arrival because it is to him that our hearts are longing to return.
We’re not actually looking to arrive. We’re looking to return.
So, live from the place of having already arrived instead of living to arrive. The second isn’t actually living at all. It’s using life to compensate for your lack of rest, peace, and contentment.
And let’s make it clear that living from the place of having already arrived doesn’t mean that you won’t do anything. It doesn’t even mean you won’t reach the same goals. What it does mean is that anything you do accomplish will feel like grace and you’ll be content and grateful for the entire process that led up to the accomplishment. You won’t need these accomplishments anymore.
This is a big change for most people, but finding the change is worth it.
Don’t live to arrive. Arrive to live.
Hi, I’m Michael and this is my daily project where I write about diverse ideas.
This is Dose #107.