I have found myself more and more trying to find the proper times to say yes and when to hold firm to my no. Over last year or so, I was bombarded with many negative distractions. Life had taken a very unexpected turn. As such I made a diligent effort to allow any positive thing into my life. I felt that I needed every affirming distraction to center my mind back from despair and disappointment in myself. As a result, I began to say yes to nearly everything I viewed as good. I piled priority a top priority to the point that nothing received my full attention. With everything competing my many priorities became burdens. Not because they lacked importance or value but because they served as distractions from one another. The many good things I brought into my life were not allowing the others to serve their full purpose and meaning. I was no longer serving only one master. Worse than two, I was attempting to serve many, with no finite distinction between good and evil. Because while some were better than others, they were all good.
I formed habits that stacked upon each other. My habitual process did not allow for any variance in my routine. It became that if I awoke just minutes late, I would find myself flustered and rushed. If I could put myself back on track the day would serve me well but if I could not, I served my day and my habits. While I have yet to master my routine, I have become aware of the issue and have actively looked for ways to decide what is most important and necessary. Now that I have loaded my plate, I must purge some things to really enjoy and appreciate others. The most difficult part of this process is deciding on the most important to keep right now.
It seems too often that we are looked to as adults, parents and leaders to have all the answers. Worse we hold ourselves to a higher regard and find that when we do not have the answers, we begin to find fault where fault is not meant to be found. We overwhelm ourselves with the inadequacies that we either have no control of or are simply not important. We believe that the others have such high expectations of us that we leave no room for error, trial and learning. We feel that our comfort should be a sign of our expertise when in fact it is only evidence of stagnancy and idleness.
There comes a fine line between too many good things and not enough. Attempting to hold on to too much causes us to lose grip on all. While choosing too little finds us feeling listless and lacking. Either makes us begin to second guess our most recent decisions and then, without realizing it, we begin to question more and more of the past. We wonder if different decisions would have provided a better, happier life for us, our spouses and our children. It’s easy to ask if I should have done one thing versus another, but it’s all too often difficult to see how the decisions we made in the past have affected who we are.
Perhaps the decision to embrace the many good in lieu of the best comes out of the illusion of necessity or limited options. It is when we find ourselves barely holding on that the good options appear as the best options. It is the desperation that creates this nearly unidentifiable counterfeit to the very best. We choose comfortability and safety over cultivating our talents and seeking out our real purpose. We justify it with words like responsible, dependable, and necessary. The truth, however, is we are simply afraid to leave behind the tranquility of good in search of the chaos that comes with great.
Ironically, when we embrace too many good things, we create our own chaos that leaves us overloaded and bogged down. We find it nearly impossible to embrace what we know we want to and should be doing because we bound ourselves with too many things we must be doing. When we choose greatness, it is because it fulfills our passions. When we settle for good it is because it satisfies our fears and emotions. Good will imprison and shackle us, serving as the constant distraction from great. Good will serve as the ultimate distraction that is seemingly important but only has value because we are willing to pay. It is a debt that will never be satisfied as its interest continually accrues. It is a high investment with little risk and virtually no reward.
We choose good over great or best because its easy, safe, justifiable, and visible. Greatness is difficult to find. Even when we seek God that we should search for great things but are often blinded by the good things. It's the good that can many times keep us from Him. It requires our efforts, our discomfort, and our hearts. Unlike good, the return on great is equal to the investment. Unlike good, it will rarely feel safe or comfortable. The pursuit of greatness will require much of us. It will require love, passion, honesty with ourselves and others, humility, hope and endurance.
While I don’t know that I’m on a path to greatness, I am seeking it out. It’s simple to speak of trading the good for the best. It proves much more difficult to find the best in the forest of the good. It’s even more difficult to leave the good behind with all its comforts, safeties immediate satisfactions to pursue the great with its struggles, hardships and promise of future reward. I pray that I can embrace my path and forego my comfort.