Have you ever started a project that you were really excited about, and then it just kind of fizzled? Most of us have. But does this happen to you with some regularity? I think there is a reason for this. It is the combination of our instant gratification culture combined with the forgotten value of perseverance.
We want what we want, and we want it now. So we get involved in a project because of the promise of a payoff - some kind of gratification. But the truth is, very few things of real value can be attained quickly and easily. So when we run into obstacles or it starts taking time away from other cool, fun stuff we want to do, we kind of flake. We still would like the reward, but we are not sure it's worth the effort of hanging in.
The perseverance gene has almost been entirely removed from a lot of people in American culture. We prefer to be distracted with multiple activities rather than focused on one where we can truly make a difference. We want to scan our surroundings rather than fix our gaze. We live to miss nothing rather than live to fully engage something. We want to know a little about a lot rather than know well any one thing. We shoot for many competencies rather than a singular excellence. We want to be incited rather than truly inspired. We want a busy schedule rather than a life's mission.
This does not mean we are incapable of perseverance. It just seems it is no longer a shared value for its own sake as it was for the generations before. It seems to me that perseverance is often inspired in the lives of us post-modern people mostly when we are in purist of something we understand to be larger than ourselves. What do you believe is larger than you and worth giving everything you have to pursue, no matter the cost? Yes, we have our families and jobs and friends and the need to be good citizens, but those are just normal expectations common to all of us. Common expectations do not make a mission.
What do you believe is God's mission in life for you? What are you doing to discover it and fully engage with it? A lot of us say we believe we should live a life that honors God and be followers of Jesus. But how many of us, when considering where to invest our time, money and energy go to God in prayer and say, "God, show me my life's mission. I give all of myself to serve your purposes and your dream for my life. You gave me my life and all that I have. So I give it back to you as you gave all you had to give for me. With all that I am and all that I have, I will follow you. And I will persevere, no matter the cost." It may not be the easiest prayer to pray. It may take more courage than a lot of us have. But it sounds like a great prayer to me!
May God begin to show you what a mission-driven life can look like. May your passions, interests and talents be stirred to help put the pieces together of what your life's mission might be. And as you discover your mission, may you persevere and hang in to the end, knowing the reward is just too good to give up. And may your mission take you on the adventure of a lifetime.