What matters less: possessions, the past, and perfection.
What matters more: family, friendship, and focus.
Possessions come and go. They must be left behind when our souls leave our bodies behind at death. When there is a change of heart, relationship or fortune, there is an exchange of possessions, and so very often this can occur outside our control. So we would be best to hold our possessions lightly — they matter less than we think.
The past will continue to bear onerously over us if we aren’t careful. We all have regrets. We all have components of our pasts that we would gladly leave behind. But the past is both done and it cannot be changed. It is what it is. It is part of our history, but it needn’t be our platform forward without our say so. The past matters less than the future. This is an irrefutable statement when you think you have to live your future. When nobody else can.
Perfection is arduous and burdensome and few can attain to the level of perfection they set for themselves. Perfection is a waste of time and energy. It is a sad indictment on our fear for anything less. It only sets us forward on a journey of fatigue and despair. But there is life in accepting our and others’ best effort. Perfect standards and results matter less than good or acceptable ones.
What matters more is relationships and focus.
Family epitomise how well we love others. If we struggle to love our family members, what good is it that we love strangers? But if we can tolerate and enjoy our familial relationships we are grateful to who God gave us, principally, to love. Loving family, especially those who may be hard to love, matters more than loving those who are easier to love. Love really is not a mushy feel-good type of thing. It’s a rubber-hits-the-road type of thing.
Friendship matters. And it is such a broad relational concept. A friend will give themselves away for a friend. In that way, to be a disciple of Jesus is to be a friend; a neighbour, unconditionally. We may not be friends with some people, but that is no barrier to offering friendship regardless — a concept unrestrained and not relevant to time spent together. Friendship matters more than solo pursuits (not that solo pursuits aren’t crucial for many of us, because they are).
Focus matters. We cannot achieve the things that God has placed on our hearts — his call of us, personally — unless we discern what it is, and then deploy focus. Focus matters more than enjoying life, because we find that focus is enjoyment of life.
Family, friendship and focus will serve anyone well who is serious about the good life, to get it right.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.