A couple weeks ago, my friend Tiffany shared a Thought Catalog story on our obsession with Tinder, Snapchat, etc. — how, in this age of limitless choice, our choices are killing our chances of getting what we actually want. With the next date, the next hookup, the next potential love just around the corner, we never actually commit and never actually build the relationship we’re secretly craving. “When we choose — if we commit — we are still one eye wandering at the options,” says the writer. “We want the beautiful cut of filet mignon, but we’re too busy eying the mediocre buffet, because choice.” The article ends with this poignant statement:
We want connection, true connection. We want a love that builds, not a love that gets discarded for the next hit. We want to come home to people. We want to lay down our heads at the end of our lives and know we lived well, we lived the $&#% out of our lives. This is what we want…Yet, this is not how we date.
I’d amend that to say, when expanded to things beyond just love and dating, for many of us it could be: This kind of life is what I want, yet this is not how I live.
[People] spend a shocking amount of time studying foolish things, [gaining] great intelligence in the inconsequential. … They know more about television characters than their coworkers; more about the freeway traffic ahead than their financial future; more about the new tech toy than what’s truly missing from their lives…
[We] have the average American watching four hours of television per day. This amounts to around 13 years of his or her lifetime. Those years slip by episode-to-episode, and often feel like rest and entertainment. But all research shows they amount to very little joy or meaning in one’s day or life.
The cost is immense: had those 13 years been used for vital and productive endeavor, they would amass to nearly $1,000,000 more in wages and almost $2,000,000 in investment opportunity. Let’s not forget how those 13 years could have been used to deepen friendships, travel, create more art, learn languages, enjoy love…
We say we want a certain thing, yet we live our lives going in the opposite direction, filling it with little this-and-thats that don’t seem to be a big deal, but add up to a big, hard reality.
If our life is this beautiful, empty mansion, we’re saying we want Arne Jacobsen furnishings but we refuse to shop anywhere but IKEA. We’re saying we want vintage Tiffany, but every moment is spent browsing Claire’s in the mall. And then we wonder how we ended up with a broken dining table and tacky rhinestones.
So, what type of destiny are your actions manifesting for you? Where are these small steps leading you? What does this path look like? If you take this decision and multiply it, what do you end up with? And are you brave enough to shift those choices, and maybe take a step in a new direction?
In The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness, authors Jeff Olson and John David Mann talk a lot about being aware of how everyday choices lead to us either achieving big dreams or shattering those same dreams. In this specific case, they use health and food choices as a simple example:
It’s easy to eat well. But it’s also easy not to, and to go on eating the food that will eventually kill us, because it won’t kill us today. It’s not the one junk-food meal; it’s the thousands over time. Eating the burger is just a simple error in judgment. Not eating it, a simple positive action. The thing is, eating it won’t kill you….today. Compounded over time, it can and will. And not eating it won’t transform your health….compounded over time, it can and will.
Reading all this, I feel so convicted to evaluate my actions. My day. My hourly choices. Because the more I fill up my life with mediocre things, the less room I leave for the things I truly want. The things I’m truly striving toward. The things my soul wants.
Settling isn’t in itself a terrible thing, but when all the things we’ve settled for take up so much time and effort and energy and space that we have no energy or room left to pursue things we’re REALLY yearning after — well, that’s honestly a little scary.
No one is saying that swiping through Tinder or eating fast food or watching television is bad. What’s bad is when our actions aren’t synced with the hungers and passions that God has laid on our hearts. What’s bad is wanting to find true love, but spending all our time on cheap hookups. Wanting to be healthy, yet eating a burger every day. Wanting to experience limitless joy, yet settling for cheap rushes from alcohol, etc.
Give yourself the freedom, the courage and the strength to clean out some space in your life to make room for things that truly matter to you.
Let in some fresh air.
Open up the windows of your soul.
Breathe it all in.
2015 is yours.