Every person on planet earth has the potential to be awesome. But I have found that there are a few factors that determine whether you are actually living an extraordinary life.
I am, at heart, a true lover of metaphors. There is power in illustrating a concept in a completely different context. It strips away everything that supports it and helps you truly examine the core of the idea. When it comes to how people live, I have found three metaphors that hopefully will help you examine and understand yourself. The only way that I can write about these three perspectives is because, in different stages of my life, I have lived with these mindsets. So here goes – I hope you can follow.
Have you ever had the temptation to impress people with everything you have done and experienced? I remember going through a stage where I felt like I had to prove myself to fit into my environment. I left no part of my skill, my experience and my understanding unturned. This is the kind of mindset where you let it all hang out on Facebook posts. You desperately want to garner attention – from any angle. It can get so bad that you can see negative reactions as compliments. Like an asteroid, everything is seen. There is no mystery to be maintained.
The longer you live like this, the more knocks you will get from other things around you as you drift through life. You are destructive to your environment. No matter how much I tried to contribute, I ended up with empty craters.
The sad thing is that you can see “asteroids” from a mile away. You can see their motives, the nature of their hearts, their insecurities, and their frustration. It might be a bitter pill to swallow if you identify with any what an “asteroid” represents, but I would encourage you to re-evaluate your thinking. As much as I would love people to gravitate towards me, the reality is that there are not many people who have such a “pull”. Finding something bigger than yourself and choosing to become a part of it will probably be the best thing for you.
These are people who have credibility. I am sure you have seen those “inspirational” pictures talking about how 90% of an iceberg is underwater. As opposed to the asteroid’s what-you-see-is-what-you-get mentality, these people are content to not be on display 24/7. They carry weight in conversation and in action.
You may have lived a little and experienced some things that could benefit others. You can definitely be an asset in an organisation and your wisdom is probably valued – but there is one problem: You are not tied down. It may be slower than an asteroid, but you still drift. The currents of life tend to draw you out, so people cannot build on you. Your reliability is limited by your struggle to commit.
I remember a stage in life where I was content to let others discover there was more to me than just my presence. I was secure in what I could contribute, but I did not commit fully to the people and the tasks I was involved with. I allowed the tides of my emotions, offence, frustration and struggle to pull me away from places I could contribute. It was hard, because I was secure in who I was, but as much as people acknowledged what I brought to the table I was never truly involved in building things.
When the heat of life gets turned up, do you melt? When things don’t seem to go your way, is it hard to stick around? Do people respect you but not include you? Maybe you need to start thinking about your thinking.
An island is very similar to an iceberg. There is a whole lot more beneath the surface than a giant piece of ice, though. The key is that an island has foundations. Long before it ever hits the surface, it is slowly growing. This kind of life means you are growing in character and strength before you are ever “on the radar”.
This kind of mindset requires you to make the hard decisions first – to stay grounded, be stubborn about the right things in life and be consistent in how you build yourself. Once people start seeing your potential, you are an asset others can then build on as well. This kind of person is a beacon of hope for those “lost at sea” and can be used as a map reference to direct people towards home.
This is the type of person I want to be. It means working hard and committing to things long before there is any type of reward. In the long run, however, I believe you will be able to not only thrive, but help others to do the same.
Whether you are an “asteroid”, an “iceberg”, or the beginnings of an “island”, I want to encourage you to consider how you think about yourself and your purpose. If you feel like you need to find a way to be grounded, the only thing worth building your life on is God. He will hold you close when the seas get rough. Tied down to God, I have found that what I learn and the way I grow will last longer and be more effective.
When you are established in the grace and wisdom of God, your life is not just a replay of the same scenario over and over – there is progress. To find out more about this rock – this unshakeable foundation, click on the link below.