If you’re like me, you’re in your thirties, and you thought for a very, very long time that life was supposed to be a certain way.
You thought that if you obeyed your parents, treated authority with respect, worked really hard, graduated from college and proceeded to do the best that you can, that life would hand you its just rewards for just work.
Now, you are in your mid-thirties. And it probably didn’t take till your thirties. You might have noticed that the rules were different as you got into your twenties.
You find out that your perspective was not quite accurate. Its almost like a cruel joke. So now, you’re struggling to find not only the right job … just, a job. Now, you’re living with your parents. Now, you’re just hoping and praying the car doesn’t break down. If only that Mazda 3 can last just a few more miles. If only that check engine light would just stay off for longer than a week.
You discover that “The American Dream” is a myth. There’s no such thing as “The American Dream,” the dream of having a house, two cars, a wife, kids and a dog, and a stellar paying job.
And you know what … that’s okay.
But whatever you do, don’t let yourself grow bitter. The last and worst thing you could do is give up on going forward.
You might be thinking that it is entirely too late. Life sucks, I’m single, I’m in a dead-end job or I’m completely broke and without a job, and I got a ton of school loans from a degree that now is about the value of a high school diploma.
What was the point!?
Oh, and did I mention the commentary on Millennials. You know, the opinions about us being self-centered, lazy, wasteful, and the list goes on? That would make you feel worse if you are not already there.
Growing up in the church, I was told by well-meaning Christian adults that if I worked hard, stayed in school, took care of business, that things would go well for me. I was told that if I just followed God, loved God, loved Jesus, loved others, that things would be well in my life. But, at the same time, I was also told that the “the road wouldn’t be easy,” a line that is not only just a Gospel song lyric, but a fact.
While things didn’t go the way I THOUGHT they should, some amazing and beautiful other things did occur.
Because life didn’t go my way, God was able to show me what life was really about. Letting go, at first, felt like utter relief but utterly terrifying. Humanity is not used to letting go and giving power over … we’re more interested, naturally, in taking complete control. Submission is not, nor has ever been, in our nature.
Rather than chasing the dollar … I found myself chasing more after Jesus. I began to look deeper into scripture and spend more time in prayer, really desiring to understand what life is really about and to determine where I was really going. Rather than working myself to death to “hustle” and “grind hard” for online followers, I found myself learning to focus in on the things that mattered most in my life. What looked like failure in my own life began to turn into seeing the real fortune … not the fortunes of the world (Luke 12:15 NIV).
“But!?…But!?” you might be asking even as you read this … wondering if I even know what I’m even talking about. And that’s okay, too. It’s a hard thing to do … to let go so you can receive … and even more, to let go, so you could give.
My wife often encourages me, reminding me that so many people in life have everything they could ever want … and they are still not happy. So, we have to have a peace that surpasses all of our understanding, a joy that keeps us going when everything in our emotions and in our pain tells us “forget this,” with the expletive.
Once I began letting go of what “I” thought life “should” be, I began to live my best life. And I’m convinced, though their will be hard times, that it will only get better from here.