Have you ever felt like you were in the middle of something and didn’t know the next step to take? It’s a common problem, especially this time of the year.
I know exactly how you feel. I felt the same exact way while working construction after college. That’s right. Went to school for four years to study English and ended up running a jack hammer! At first it wasn’t all that bad. We worked out in the sun during the summer and the money was enough to even enjoy a want once in a while. Then came winter.
I believe there’s a simple reason why you may be feeling like your future is uncertain.
When we forget why we’re doing something, we lose our direction.
For example, ever gone into a room and forgotten why you were there? You don’t have to be a senior citizen for this to happen. The first thing you do is ask yourself “Why did I come in here?”
Nothing clarifies your present situation better than asking this question. When you’re happy with the answer to this question, you’ll find that your future becomes instantly clear.
Is it your job? One lady I know went to work to buy a vacuum cleaner. Thirty-five years later she was still working. That’s a whole other story, but maybe it’s time you asked yourself why you’re working the job you are right now. You may decide you’re doing it to provide for your family and create a better financial future for yourself. That’s fine. However, until you clarify why you’re working where you are right now, your future will be fuzzy and you’ll constantly lack direction.
Is it your marriage? You met the person of your dreams and it was Disney on earth. Then after you got married you were in hormone heaven for about a year. Now you realize the person you married has bad breath in the morning and actually uses toilet paper. Chances are you need to remember why you chose the path you did.
Perhaps it’s your kids. For years you dreamed of having them. You prayed for a boy and a girl. Now they’re teenagers and you often realize why some animals eat their own young. If someone asked you why you had them, what would you say?
Imagine if someone came up to you and said, “You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.” That’s what Jesus actually told a church in the book of Revelation, chapter two verse 3. Not too shabby.
However he followed up his words of praise with this statement, “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first” (Revelation 2:4). Ouch!
This church was doing a lot of things right. The problem was they were doing a lot of good things for the wrong reason. They had lost their why. They were “going through the motions”.
When it comes to love, we in the western world associate love with the ‘warm, fuzzy, feelings’. A cupid shoots you in the heart and then you….well you know the rest of the story.
The love talked about here is more practical. It’s agape love or a sacrificial love, the kind of love Jesus had when he sacrificed himself for you and I.
It wasn’t that the Ephesian church members hated Jesus. They were still doing a lot of great things. The problem was they weren’t loving others the way he loved them. They’d forgotten their why.
In the words of Gail Hyatt, “We lose our way, when we lose our why”.
Getting back to your job. If you’re wondering why you still work where you do and you decide you started doing it to provide for your family, why not put a picture of your family on your desk? It will help you remember your why, especially during the difficult and stressful times.
The same applies to other areas of your life. Surround yourself with physical reminders of your why. These small reminders will get you through the dark times….the times when you walk into the room and ask yourself why you came in there.
The warm, fuzzy, feelings are nice when they come, but most of the time, the only thing you’ll feel is pain as you step outside of your comfort zone. Many times the pain will come in the form of uneasiness. That’s alright, use it to keep yourself on the right path.
Many people believe that as they grow, there will be less pain and fewer setbacks and obstacles. I wish that were true. But in my own experience, each passing year brings with it new challenges and problems. As someone once said, “New levels, new devils”.
Knowing your why will help you see clearly as you navigate the darkness and emotional fog. Every time you’re tempted to throw in the towel because things are getting too hard or you don’t remember where you’re going, remember your why.
Remember, there is a great deal of sacrifice in life. Jesus sacrificed and he expects no less from us. The secret is that sacrificing your comforts, goods and resources for others brings great joy. When you do, you don’t lose anything, you gain just as a flame loses no power by lighting a candle.
Chances are if your candle is burning right now, you’re in a season when you need to remind yourself of your why. Once you do, things will be much more clear, especially this upcoming year.
The last thing you want to do is keep going through the motions and hoping for some form of relief. Take some time and get to the heart of the matter. Decide your why and write it down somewhere.
What is your why?