This is what I’ve been referring to as “The Dark Blog Post.” It’s introspective, negative, and could scare the underoos off family and friends alike. Be at peace, dearhearts – this is not the final word on the matter. “The Medium Blog Post” will follow, as will “The Light Blog Post.” Journey with me, and don’t get freaked out. We’re ok.
“… There was never any other meaning than the obvious one.” – Peter Yarrow, Peter Paul & Mary
What if, in our “find your passion, follow your dreams, look for more, don’t settle for less, live life to the fullest” world, there are those of us who aren’t supposed to do that? What if there are people to whom less will be their more – or even their most? Their world is overflowing with what some of us might call “mundane” or “ordinary.” Work, eat, sleep, serve in church, love family, be faithful. Nothing more. (And for the record, there’s nothing wrong with any of that. For certain people, with certain lives, this is all there is and that’s alright.)
And what if you’ve always been one of those people, but never realized it (or never believed it), so you’ve spent years and years trying to find what your calling is, trying to fill the aching emptiness (or what you think is emptiness) in your lonely life, and trying to find that “something more” or “deeper purpose” that’s out there, when in fact there really isn’t anything else? Not for you, anyway.
Or, as Despair.com puts it on their Demotivational poster called Ambition (which pictures an order of fries in a cardboard sleeve): “Not everyone gets to be an astronaut when they grow up.”
And so, one day you take a look around at the mountains of pursuits, hobbies, tried and failed paths, cast-aside toys and tools, and all the wreckage of attempts to find the “something more” that’s always eluded you, and the shocking truth finally hits you…
There isn’t anything more. And all of your frustration and searching for things just out of your grasp could have ended if you finally accepted that, for you, there is nothing but work, sleep, eat, serve in church, love your family, and do it all faithfully. That’s it. Nothing else.
What if all the frustration comes not from trying to finally find your calling or path or purpose, but from not accepting the bare truth that, for you, there is NO calling, no path, no purpose other than the obvious one?
What if you aren’t “made for greater things” but are just made for plain, normal, and mundane? And trying to find deeper meaning where there is none will always end with more pain and emptiness? Trying more hobbies, pursuits, or “things” to make sense out of your world will only result in more junk lying around, more wreckage from things taken up and cast aside, and again, more pain and emptiness, as once again you push on closed doors, never realizing that they aren’t doors – they’re brick walls, never intended to open for you.
You were intended for something less. You are set on “normal” and all the chasing of the wind will never change that basic truth. This revelation, for the record, isn’t necessarily despair – it could be the most freeing thing you’ve ever experienced. Once you get past the whole “You already are all you can be” thing, that is. And dump most of your toys, hobbies, and “someday this is going to be my full-time gig, when I can finally quit my mundane life and do what I dream!” stuff.
Which is gonna make a lot more room around the house. So there’s that.
Your loved ones, your friends, and concerned others will rise to your defense, pointing out your sterling qualities, your cleverness and giftedness, and they’ll implore you to reconsider – there is SO much more in store for you, just wait and see! That’s amazing of them, and one of the many reasons that you love them and hold them dear…
But, it doesn’t change the truth.
Honestly look at your gifts for a minute… Gifted? Oh heavens yes, you are. But gifted in such a way that those gifts should become your primary life? Should you be chasing them, to the exclusion of all others?
Your gifts may be more than enough – abundant, even – for the basic format. Work, sleep, eat, serve in church, love your family, do it all faithfully. They fit right in to a life built for something less. But they aren’t the level of exceptional that would justify putting them into a slot they aren’t sufficient to fill. And trying to elevate them just leaves more wreckage in your wake. More failed attempts. More toys taken up and thrown aside.
You may be the poster child for the Don’t Quit Your Day Job Foundation. To go all Biblical up in here, you might not be the servant with the 10 talents – you’re the guy with one. The question is, are you going to bury that one thing in the ground, or do the most with the little you have?
If these What If’s turn out to be What Is’s, when will you finally accept that truth, and realize that you were made for something less?
Or were you?…
My friend, I actually LOVE this ad here’s why- we NEED the “something less” in this world. The “something less” is actually a very powerful thing and believe it or not there are “something more” folks out there wishing it was for them. Love you buddy!
Interesting thoughts, Cal. I have a blog Deep Beneath the Mask that I have blogged a lot of my thoughts and wonderings in over the past four or five years. Usually it is when I am a bit discouraged or life has me by the tail that I feel compelled to write. I think one of the most important things I’ve learned these last ten years is that life is never what we thought it would be. There are very few born with a silver spoon in their mouths and even those we look at on the outside with envy…are filled with dead men’s bones and empty in their “success”.
God has certainly spread His share of trials and difficulties in our lives and I’m sure in yours also. I have often prayed to Him for that abundant life He promised and asked where in the world I can find it. I think for myself…because I tend to look to the negative…He is teaching me to count my blessings. I have six wonderful children and nine beautiful grandchildren. No, I don’t get to see them as much as I thought I would…but I had the wonderful privilege of bringing them up for Him…and when I die I will have no regrets there. I have given my all in ministry…whereever we were as pastor and pastor’s wife or just as laypeople. A couple of years ago in my counseling with my pastor, I was recounting all the times we have been passed over as not good enough or stabbed in the back by senior pastors we served under and the people we had ministered to. He looked me in the eyes and said, “Were you faithful? Did you stop teaching and loving and serving? Did you become a heretic theologically?” I told him we were faithful and loved and served and taught in the midst of persecution. We always stayed true to His Word. He said, “Then let it go what other people think. God is pleased.” You can rest in Him knowing you raised your kids well, you loved well, you taught well and you lived well. That was so freeing.
Don’t ever give up dreaming…not of what or who …but of God and what He can do in your life to use you where you are. I have been praying over the past few years for God to do a new thing in me. And then I leave it to Him to provide opportunities and show me His path. I think a lot of my own darkness and hurts ( and we all have them) come from not seeking a godly counselor sooner to help me through the places in my life that needed healing…so I stuffed them for years until they bubbled over into my life. There’s only so much we can stuff before we are full and need to empty and heal. I found a book when this happened by Thomas Moore called Dark Nights of the Soul. He has some pretty farout things to say since he’s quoting from Buddhism and some other stuff…but if you get past that…it is so freeing to have someone tell us that it is normal to have dark nights of the soul…it deepens us and makes us more intricate people and servants for Him.
I have found, Cal, that people who never hurt have very little grace. Maybe your calling is being gracefilled to others around you…or being able to be a comforter because you have gone through so much. There are differences in “greater” things in this world’s eyes and in God’s eyes. You may be one of the greatest in His kingdom even though we both see ourselves as one of the least. Who can know the mind of Christ in this world? Not I.
Thank you, Cal. This does my heart good. I will tell you why next time I see you. Again, thank you!