If you ever needed proof that God knows what He’s doing, you only have to look at one certain aspect of my life.
I don’t know if this has ever happened to you or not but sometimes at the grocery store the freezers in the ice cream aisle have lights that are on motion detectors, meaning if no one walks through that area for a certain amount of time, the lights will shut off to save energy.
One day the lights were off, and as I walked up the aisle, the lights on both sides came on just as I approached them. It made me feel as if I were a movie star walking the red carpet amid the pop and flash from paparazzi waiting to snap a photo of me. It took all I had not to smile and do the queen’s wave as I processed through the store.
This is where my mind goes as I schlep my way down the frozen food aisle wearing yoga pants and a t-shirt. Can you imagine if God had given me fortune and fame? There would be no end to it.
I recently read an article about how we as humans handle success. The essay was by Philip Yancey, and he was writing about something called the monastic cycle. It was fascinating as the article described the early Benedictine monks who worked hard clearing forests and cultivating the land. Any extra money they had was invested in seeds, drainage and livestock.
A few hundred years later, the abbeys had all but stopped being a spiritual institution at all and had begun using most of their money to maintain a luxurious lifestyle and to fund easy teaching jobs for the upper class.
The article went on to say “...human beings have shown a remarkable inability to handle prosperity and success”.
Being human is fraught with pitfalls. We always worry about not hitting our goals, or about failure. But it seems we need to also be aware of the dangers of actually achieving our dreams.
Look at Hollywood. It is littered with the remains of lives and careers that were going along just fine until they “made it”. Having achieved success, the actors or actresses fell into drugs, alcohol, or mental illness.
There is something in the makeup and psyche of humans that needs the striving. We need a goal to pursue, to focus on. It seems that people typically go off the rails more often after they reach their goals than when they are striving for them.
How many times do we long for retirement so we don’t have to go to work? How many times do we think or rationalize that we’ll be happy THEN? We’ll be happy when we reach our goal. And when we finally do reach our goals and are living our dreams, how many times do we think “Is this all there is?” We long for ease, but setting goals tends to allow us to assess our lives, give us direction and focus, inspire us and yes, the goal, not the completion of the goal, tends to make us happy.
Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “I find that the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand as in what direction we are moving.” So maybe since we just passed the halfway point in the year, it’s time to reassess our resolutions and maybe set a few new goals. If you need me, I’ll be in the frozen food section greeting my “fans”.