There is a difference between real limitations and ones imposed on us by nature or reality. To spend your whole life imagining you were taller, to dream of it, to hope for it is a waste of time. You and I grow to a certain height and then we stop. We can modify our looks to a certain extent and that is it. We can push our bodies and at some point, we will hit our limit of speed, strength, and stamina. Our bodies are the avatars we are given. They are the machine we are the ghost. Our parents, upbringing, and the place we are born is out of our control. The current state of the world for most of us is out of our control.
Yet, the world is always asking, “What are you going to do with your life?”
We can shrug our shoulders and act as if the world hasn’t given us clues along the way. But the truth is it has. We have something else we have little control over, our natural inclinations. This starts when we are born, each of us doesn’t come in the world as a blank sheet, we come in as a fully loaded PC bugs and all. Some of us share gifts, some of us share talents, some of us share personality traits, but each of us is uniquely different and has the choice to live a purposeful life.
Purpose requires thought. Thinking is something we avoid doing because it burns a lot of calories and is hard work. Add on top of that the pressure of saying this is why I am here on earth, forget about it. Game over son. Nobody wants to spend a day or night thinking about this, yet on some level, we spend weeks and years doing it. We wonder what am I here for? Or why is this happening to me? Or what am I going to do?
Let me paint you a couple of pictures and you decide what is a life well-lived.
Jonny was a straight a student. He went on to the best schools and when he graduated landed a great job. He moved up in his company, was smart friendly, and worked hard. He made a lot of money and even made time for a wife and kids. He was able to retire early and enjoyed his family. At the end of his first year of retirement, Jonny had died in a car accident.
Okay, let’s move on to our next story.
Jonny was raised in a shitty little inner city. He dropped out of school, sold drugs and then went to prison. In prison, he became a Christian. He started teaching bible study classes and help other men work threw their issues. Once he got out of prison, the best job he could find was at a gas station. He led a men’s group on Wednesday nights and help his church. He fell in love with a former prostitute and they got married. Jonny was well-loved in his church family. Just as he decided to go back to school and try to earn more money. A fifteen-year-old boy decided to rob the gas station. The gun in his hand went off killing Jonny.
Two completely different lives. The First Jonny lived out of a playbook written by society. The second Jonny lived out a script about life until the script changed.
As the author of both stories, I used these lives to illustrate a point. I am in control of their destinies. But if the first Jonny said to me I want more, his life would have gotten worse. I would have challenged him. I would have taken away safety, I would have made him the protagonist and his life would have challenged him. He would have sacrificed to fulfill his unique purpose. My second Jonny, needed me to give him a higher purpose, a way to endure, he found it in Christ. My first Jonny never sought more than to live his own life. My second Jonny lived a life of service.
It is not the gifts, talents, or natural abilities we are born with that give us purpose, it is the struggles we choose to embrace. The second Jonny could have lived out the script of a loser druggy high school drop out and lived in and out of prison his whole life being a burden until he died. That would have been the easy way. The first Jonny could have looked at the suffering of the world and made it part of his life’s work and his career would have been moved to support it.
Our limitations are not good enough excuses to not live a purposeful life. When we choose to live a purposeful life, we are asking for struggle. We are asking to be brought into the bigger story of service to mankind. We have a choice, we can play it safe and try to get through life without a scratch, or we can put on our helmet and gloves and get through, over and around the obstacles that make it a life of purpose.
P.S. Life is an interactive medium. It changes as you do. What might have been your destiny could now just be a past possibility, leaving you to look for the current destiny and wind in your sails. You can choose to live life according to a playbook or live it like it is an interactive game that requires you to participate to get to new and harder levels.