It’s a funny time to be alive. Information is everywhere. We, as a collective population, have access to knowledge on a vast array of topics and the ability to learn more about things the previous generations never dreamt existed. Social media has exposed us to aspects of the lives of others that we would never have otherwise been party to. We are able to see how “the other half” live and as a result “Keeping up with the Joneses” has moved to a completely different orbit.
With all that we have been exposed to and all that we have seen there seems to have emerged this utopian thought that with effort, time, and determination you can have it all. The truth is, as nice at that reality may sound, you can’t actually have it all.
Something’s gotta give
As a fairly positive, “can-do” kind of person, acknowledging that no matter how hard you graft you will never have everything, feels more than a little defeatist – but let’s look at it rationally. How many people do you know that have achieved first rate success in their working careers; have functioning and flourishing family and social relationships; have time for fun and adventurous hobbies, while still being able to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle; get enough sleep and devote time to their spiritual well-being? While many would love to have the Instagram-perfect existence and boast having all these areas of their life running on full steam, no one can live up to the ideal of having everything all at the same time. Sooner or later something is going to have to give.
The Bible talks about the fact that no man can serve two masters. The problem with having too many things going on at once is that your focus is split. You may have a vision of a perfect family life where you have strong and healthy relationships. A life where you are able to be at every meal and every significant family event. At the same time, you may also wish to be the CEO of a large company, making important decisions, and working long hours to see your company become number one – but in reality these two visions are pulling in opposite directions and where you have two visions, you will only find division and confusion.
Counting the cost
As with most things there is always a cost involved. You may choose to climb the corporate ladder and give your all to building the perfect career, but sooner or later the demand of that path will impact on other areas of your life. Similarly, if you put your relationships first, determining to be there for your nearest and dearest, the time you devote to family and friends will have consequences for other aspects of your day to day. Neither path is wrong in and of itself but being great in one area means making that part of who you are a priority. Sometimes we are better served by devoting our energy to being great at a few things rather than trying to do too much and ending up being merely mediocre at everything.
Choose your course
Many of us live in fear of missing out on all there is to experience, achieve, or own in this life. We spend so much of our time chasing after everything we never truly embrace anything fully. It’s frustrating and causes more stress than fulfilment. We need to decide what is truly important to us, pick a path, and be willing to let go of all the distractions that will cloud our focus and maybe even steal the joy that pursuing something worthwhile brings.
Do you wobble?
The New Testament speaks about the fact that when we divide our loyalty between the things that the world promises and fulfilment that can be found in a relationship with God, we become unstable. We are also told that if we seek to know God before anything else, he will add to our lives all things that we need. So while having it all may not be possible, it is possible to be more fulfilled and as a result happier by choosing to just chase the things that really matter to you.