Whenever we start living intentionally, we will also start experiencing obstacles and setbacks. And my favourite thing to say becomes: “So What?” Let me elaborate on that.
I don’t mean “so what” in the careless sense. I mean “so what” in the sense that, it doesn’t matter, I will still continue to live intentionally.
When I was in college, I was also a mentor to some younger students. I remember one of these students would get these panic attacks every night before exams. And in the middle of the night he would be pounding on my door hardly being able to breathe and just generally freaking out.
After I got him to calm down a bit, I would ask him what freaked him out. Generally he would be freaked out about failing the exam, and I would ask him: “So What?” That wasn’t necessarily the answer he expected. But I asked him why failing the exam would matter.
And with that began the exploration of all the terrible things we are sure will happen to us, but never do. And once we lay them out to their worse scenario, they start sounding absolutely ridiculous. We can see that the real chances of those scenarios happening are slim to none. They are far fetched fears.
But what if the worse things we fear were to happen. So what? See I ask that question for another reason. It is a reminder that even if some of our worse fears happen, we can still recover from that and live an incredible life. Because an incredible life is more about the attitudes we choose to live with and who we become, than it is about what happens to us, or how many of our dreams we achieve.
It is the journey that counts
Don’t get me wrong, pursue your dreams with all you have. To not do that is a deep character flaw that keeps me from becoming all I can be. But being the kind of guy that develops persistence as a character, matters more than if I actually achieve the dream. I really believe that.
So when that is how we live, intentionally pursuing the dreams we believe God placed in our hearts, but realizing that our character and attitudes matter more than achieving them, we will bless more people than we will if we were to give up on our dreams just because they are difficult.
I have had to remind myself of that lately. I dream big. And I believe the dreams I am pursuing are God given. They are about who God designed me to be. But my life keeps throwing obstacle after obstacle in the way. Some people think life is always a breeze for me. That just means they haven’t hung out with me enough.
Obstacles are a growth opportunity
There have been moments I would have traded my life with almost any one of you. And there have been moments I have been so crushed and my dreams have seemed so unachievable that I was ready to just throw them all away. And there have been moments when my dreams have been ripped out of my heart, and I wasn’t sure about anything in life.
And it is in those moments when I come back to asking, so what? Even if I never realize my dreams, what matters is who I become in the journey. If I learn to trust God better in this journey, than it was better than not embarking on it. The journey is still not in vain. We tend to believe the lie that the guy who tried but failed is worse than the guy who saw it was too hard and didn’t try. That lie keeps us from going after what God plants in our hearts and spirits.
If it takes much longer than expected to get there, that is okay too. The only way I will be a blessing to those around me is still to walk the journey even if it is hard and setbacks seem more common than breakthroughs. You can be sure that giving up on my dreams is just a slow way to die and an incredibly uninspired way to live. That won’t make me a blessing. In fact, it will keep me from blessing many.