As I look at people that I have in my life, people that I meet every day, and even the ones I see on TV or read about in the news, I see faces of people who have settled. They have settled:
- For a mediocre marriage.
- For not ever having a fulfilling job to do.
- For a life without meaning or direction.
- For a life without God.
- For being in debt all their life.
- For being in poor health.
Why would anyone settle for that? It is downright depressing to live like that, and yet that is exactly what a lot of people do. I would be willing to bet that you know people just like that. Hopefully this does not describe you. But…it if does, that can be changed. It begins with some brain surgery and heart surgery.
Here are a few simple things to do to break that cycle, but they are not necessarily easy:
- Begin by changing the way you think. If you have given up dreaming, start dreaming again. See yourself in a healthy marriage. See yourself doing work that you absolutely love to do. See your life fulfilled and meaningful. See your relationship with God intimate, loving, and vital. See yourself being debt free, and having not just enough money to survive, but more than enough so you can bless others. See yourself in great health and enjoying the days ahead pain free.
- Change the way you feel. If you live by how you feel, doing only those things that you feel like doing, this will be especially hard for you, but you have to start doing things that you don’t feel like doing. You have to start doing the things that you know you should do, but have been putting off. Start communicating openly with your spouse. Get counseling if necessary. Start identifying what you are good at and looking for work that has a need of those skills. Don’t stop till you have found the right job. Don’t chase the money. Chase your passion. Quit the negative self-talk and quit hanging around with people who are negative (I told you this would not be easy). Quit stiff-arming God. He is still patiently waiting for you to come to Him and have a meaningful relationship. Quit spending money you don’t have. Get a budget and keep to it. Start saving as soon as you can, and start investing. Give to others that are in need. Quit doing things that you know are bad for your health. Smoking, drinking too much, over-eating, not exercising, not getting proper rest. All of those will eventually catch up and affect your health. Take care of your body. You only have one, you know.
- You can change the way you think and change the way you feel, but if you don’t do this part, it probably won’t change at all. Have someone to hold you accountable. I don’t know why this works, but it seems to be that we are more likely to do what is right for ourselves if we have someone who is looking us in the eye every week and saying, “How are you doing on that job search?” Or, “How are things going with the marriage?” Or, “How are things with you and God this week?” When you know those questions are coming, it helps you be honest with yourself.
My hope for you is that you are willing to go through the brain surgery and heart surgery if necessary. Cut out the stuff that you have settled for, and then re-ignite the flames of passion for life. Find someone to hold you accountable. Just make sure they are not a “settler.”
One of my all-time favorite movies is the classic, It’s a Wonderful Life, with Jimmy Stewart. He was tempted to settle many times in the movie. He was so despondent at one point that he was ready to commit suicide. Then he had the revelation from God of what his life meant. All of a sudden, his perspective changed. He shook off the self-pity, re-engaged with God and his wife, and went to war. He was like the Energizer Bunny on steroids. Other people were encouraged by his enthusiasm and his creative ideas on getting through the mess they were all in. What a great message for all of us. Please, for the sake of yourself, your family, your community, your nation, and the world, don’t settle. It’s a wonderful life, after all.