The message is so simple. Good dirt = Good flowers, but good dirt takes discipline, like not running my mouth just because the world is discouraging. Of course the world is discouraging - Jesus said it would be. That’s why he needs me to stop running my mouth and be the light, so people can get to him not me.
I regularly catch myself expecting a Redwood tree outcome, when I’ve got a sapling’s time and weather invested. What helps is to observe the trees I planted that are growing and thriving. They’re not 300 feet tall yet - but of course they’re not, that only happens on Instagram.
That beautiful, wild thing you’re doing, you need to keep doing it, and here are three tips to help you.
Recently, economists discovered a dip in life satisfaction for people between the ages of 45-50. It's reliable and statistically obvious and even appears even when contributing factors like unemployment or divorce are removed. It shows across cultures and even across species.
It's called The Happiness Curve and Jonathan Rausch wrote a book about it.
So I get why people buy sports cars and have affairs rather than dwell in this weird middle place. Who wants to deal with deconstructing everything? It’s a hassle, and the pain of doing it is likely only surpassed by the pain of not doing it.
Isn’t God so gracious to provide an example, in the natural world, of exactly how the process works.
When I sit, with my orange socks on, an arms length from the highest point in Europe, it thrills and pains me equally because I know, after a time, I have to leave. Down there my mind isn't this still, I don't feel this rapture, I'm not so overwhelmed by the extreme majesty of God's vast and creative expression.
But up here I am, and I can barely breathe. I'm overwhelmed. Desperate. Taken.
The genius of the Enneagram is that it clearly called out my false self, which is not divine, but distorted, so I can do something about it. Now I can see a lifetime of ego, pride, fear and striving as the source of wicked anxiety. Of course I’ve been resisting it. The false self I didn’t know I had is fighting for its life.
My soul however, the part Jesus owns, stirs at the possibility of redemption and proper expression of the me he created. Wow. What will that look like?
Yesterday, I said to her, “Ok don’t freak out but I have something I want to do.”
Then I remembered KJ doesn’t freak out - ever. I’m the freak-out artist and I need a rock, a builder, a believer; someone who will say yes to the right things and no to the dumb things. She is all that and more.
“I want to do a life-coaching surf retreat in Costa Rica next spring,” I said.
“Cool. Do you want me to start figuring that out.”
So if you’re resigned to fear, inertia, boredom, isolation, selfishness, or aimlessness, YOU ARE NOT FREE. All that stuff is diminishing you, stealing your potential and keeping you from your good life purpose.
I’m not saying my life is easy now, it’s just hard in different ways. I had to confront my own fear, shame, loneliness, anxiety and love of control. Believe me, it’s a process, but you can’t get free and whole without swimming that moat, and the only way you become a good swimmer is by swimming.
If suffering is actually a vital part of human development - and Paul says it is - why don’t we quit beating ourselves up for experiencing it.
Maybe you don’t need someone to fix you. Maybe you need someone to walk with you through it, helping you keep your eyes on the prize.
See, you have a destiny on your life and until you get busy doing that thing you were created to do, and loving a bunch of people along the way, your rut will only get narrower and deeper. It’s not about chasing happiness, it’s about living in your good purpose.
“But what do I do? I’ve tried everything and nothing changes,” you moan.
We get it. We’ve been there, but we got out.