I've spent the majority of my life trying to prove something to the world, to myself, to my family, to my friends...to somebody...I'm not sure who or what. One of my primary goals has been to conquer life...whatever that means. I've striven for excellence. Sometimes I've achieved it; sometimes I have not. Either way, I've climbed toward the mountaintop for 43 years--I've given it nearly everything I have. But you know what? I don't think I'm going to summit.
Now this is where well-meaning friends and family will jump in and say, "Don't give up! You can summit. Think positively. Be optimistic. Go for it; you won't regret the extra effort." My response: I'm not giving up! I'm not being pessimistic or negative. And I'm not going to stop putting forth my best effort. But I am going to stop kidding myself about being a superstar or about one day standing on the top of life's mountain with the "Mark flag" firmly planted in victory. My name is never going to be on some list of the world's greatest "legacy leavers," and nothing I write will ever win a Pulitzer Prize. I'm never going to be awarded "Pastor of the Century"; my name is not going to be in history books beside Billy Graham, Graham Kennedy, or Alexander Graham Bell; and no one is going to name a cracker after me. I am a pilot, but I'm no Chuck Yeager. I am an Army officer, but I'm no George S. Patton. I am a scientist, but I'm no Albert Einstein. I am a pastor, but I'm no T. D. Jakes. I am a father, but I'm no Andy Griffith. I am a teacher, but I'm no Maria Montessori. I am a guitar maker, but I'm no Orville Gibson. I am an aspiring poet, but I'm no Robert Frost. I am a musician, but I'm definitely nowhere close to being Bob Dylan. I was a baseball player in my youth, but I was no Mickey Mantle. I was even a police officer once, but I was no Dirty Harry. Nevertheless, you know what really makes my day? Coming to terms with my limitations...punk!
You see, I'm no longer saddened by what I am not. After all of these years, I've finally come to realize what I am: human. I'm nothing more, and I'm nothing less. Like all humans, I have a few strengths and a great many limitations. And if I want to live a contented life of freedom, then I have to accept this fact. Admittedly, it has not been easy to reach this place in my life, but having arrived at the borderland, I like what I see!
Right now, some may be asking the following questions, so I've provided some brief answers.
1. What will you do next? I'll do what I've always done: work hard and give my best effort...but I won't stress and worry about being "the best" or perfect.
2. Are you giving up on life? Absolutely not! I'm resolving to enjoy life more!!!!
3. Have you lost your motivation? No, no, and no! I've found a new motivation...one that is enduring.
4. What is this teaching your kids? It teaches them to be comfortable in their own skin and focus on what's most important.
5. What is most important to you? The things that are most important to me, in this order, are God, my family, and my purpose.
6. What is your purpose? To serve God...in my few strengths and in all of my weaknesses.
7. How can you serve God through your weaknesses? Because he assures me that he'll make my weaknesses strengths and equip me with what I need to serve him effectively.
8. Do you really believe in all of this "God stuff"? You bet I do! In fact, it's God who has helped me realize that my weaknesses are not limitations for him.
I've resolved to stop worrying about my limitations because if God is truly in control of my life, then why do I expend so much mental and emotional energy on trying to prove myself? I'm tired, folks. I'm tired of working so hard to be something I'm not. I'm tired of trying to be my own Messiah. I'm tired of seeking perfection. I'm tired of making proverbial mountains out of mole hills--mountains which, incidentally, I don't have a snowball's chance of summiting. The solution: turn control back over to God, rest easy in the way he has created me, and allow him to use me as he wishes. Does this sounds simplistic and "cliche-ish"? Probably so to some. But I'm happier today than I've been in a long time. And being a happy human, well, maybe that's good enough!