I spent a lot of my time as a young girl waiting and trying hard to get to the real world. People would always say, “When you get into the real world…” And though I am blaming no one but myself, I had this idea that if I could only get to the “real world” my life would start. I don’t believe I am the only person with this idea though. I think that many of us have jumped from milestone to milestone and thought, “Is this it? Is this what it’s suppose to feel like?” It’s not that you weren’t excited, but you just weren’t as satisfied and accomplished as you thought you were going to be.
What makes it more difficult is our lives seem to completely revolve around these milestones. We are taught that life is a series of checklists. High school, college, career, marriage, purchase a house, travel, have a baby and so on until you finally die. Each checklist item leads us to believe that life would really begin then. And for some of us, each time we were disappointed, then we set our aim for the next item on the list, hoping to achieve ultimate happiness then. The ordinary and mundane surrounding us never seems to add up to the perfection we see on social media, TV and the movies. When I finally looked in the mirror at myself, I didn’t see contentment or gratefulness.
A man of great wisdom helped put things in perspective for me. As I read through Ecclesiastes with my husband and our church, I found that Solomon had realized this hundreds of years before me. He had reached and obtained every imaginable success we could have in life, and none of it brought satisfaction. He shows us that the only thing in this life that will satisfy, is our pursuit of God. In pursuit of Him, we lose control in the right way. We see joy in the little things, and even the mundane, because He has us there for a reason. The more I learn to let go of “my plan” and follow His, the more I realize that the “real world” is nothing more something society has created. Life isn’t about living for the next milestone, it’s about living out where God has you now. If you don’t celebrate your milestones as checklist items, then they won’t be, and the time you spent getting there won’t be wasted and lost. It will be time full of contentment and joy in where God has you.
Ecclesiastes 12:11-13 – The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd. My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh. The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.