"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment." Ralph Waldo Emerson
Change demands courage. As I’ve been inwardly rebelling against the evils of the rat race (read some of my thoughts here and here), I’ve begun to realize that outwardly I haven’t done much about it. (That being said, this week I did give more time to people, and felt so much better for it. Yay!)
Actions speak louder than words.
Actions speak louder than words.
I say that God is the most important thing in my life, but I don’t act like I believe “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matt 6:33)
I say that other people are more important than myself, but so much of my daily life is wrapped up in what I need to do, what I want to do with my limited free time, and how I need to act to promote my future success.
It’s not that completing tasks is wrong. It’s not that wanting excellent grades is foolish. It's not that seeking success is worthless. However, I need to analyze my heart as I pursue tasks and grades and “success.” What values are driving me?
Are selfishness and pride a bigger part of my motivation than I’d wish to admit?
(Talking of grades—I kid you not, I had a nightmare this week about a teacher giving me a C on a paper. In the dream, I argued and argued with her but she wouldn’t change the grade, so I got really mad. I woke up annoyed. Interpret that as you will!)
Perhaps it’s easy to give in to the rat race without analyzing the values that drive it—and us—because it’s an accepted, expected part of our culture. That’s just how you live life.
What values do you want to embrace? What values does God want you to embrace? Don’t let society force you to blindly accept all its values, whether those values are embodied in the rat race or in something else. Don’t let society squeeze you into a mold that doesn’t fit.
I’m challenging myself to look deep into my Bible and my heart and change my attitude and my lifestyle accordingly. I’m challenging you to do the same.
A busy lifestyle isn’t necessarily wrong. A 9-5 is not necessarily meaningless. But what are your heart values in pursuing the life that you have and embracing the standards of success that you hold?
How will you stand up against the rat race? What do you need the courage to change?
Maybe you need to spend more time with family and friends. Maybe you need to experience a period of missionary or volunteer service. Maybe you need to seek first the kingdom of God. Maybe all you need to change is your attitude toward your current situation.
I know I need to do at least three things on that list!
I don’t want to let society force me into a rat race for a “success” that I don’t really believe in. I want to have the courage of my convictions. I want to live out my true values.
“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” Thoreau
“So how do you judge what a man is worth through what he builds or buys? You can never see with your eyes on earth. Look through heaven’s eyes. Look at your life through heaven’s eyes.” From the Prince of Egypt