Life is an amazing adventure but it was never meant to be one we simply speed through, grabbing all we can get. At the same time, there is a fine line between grabbing all we can get and settling for less than we deserve. When we “settle,” we miss out on the very essence of the beauty and power of our lives. This isn’t to say your life cannot still have a tremendous effect on those around you but it will certainly never have the full effect it was meant to have. When you settle, you not only rob yourself of blessings but you will rob all of the people whose journeys you cross in this life. There are people all around us, including ourselves, that are guilty of settling. Each of us is unique, with unique talents and abilities. We all have dreams that we believe in our hearts we can achieve. What is it that makes us stop pursuing them? For some, there is a mix of priorities that change the course of their journeys. There are some who may have individual dreams that are overshadowed by the dreams of home and family. Please don’t misunderstand; I am in no way saying that those individuals who choose to have families cannot follow their dreams. The two can co-exist, there is just so much more to consider. What I am saying is that each turn of our journey brings new adventures and sometimes those turns prevent us from reaching particular goals. When this happens, it isn’t necessarily “settling” because as we grow and change so do our goals in life.
Settling is a reference to those times on our journey when we know we are capable of so much more but we stop short because of the critics in our lives. We give up on the things that the truest part of our spirit needs in order to thrive because someone has told us that to pursue our dreams, or our ideas of what is reasonable to have, is selfish and should be abandoned so that others can achieve theirs. Let me ask you a question. If that were a truth that should be adhered to, wouldn’t every single person be giving up what their heart desires in order that someone else could have the right to also give up their own? We would all be sacrificing for each other in vain because no one would be able to achieve the desires of their heart. What a ridiculous and futile process that would be. It is not selfish to pursue your dreams. It is not selfish to believe that your life can be more than it is at this moment. It isn’t wrong to follow what your spirit knows to be true. You are here for a purpose. I believe, in the quiet moments of our lives, we know what we are supposed to be doing, where we are supposed to be and with whom we are supposed to share it. Instead of following those truths, we settle for jobs that make us miserable because it pays the bills. We settle for relationships that stunt our growth because it’s easier than letting go. We settle for things far less than what our Heavenly Father intended for us to have and to be. I am not advocating pursuing our dreams at any expense, but I am fully embracing the idea of stepping out on faith when we have those moments of clarity that present us with the knowledge that there is something else we need to be doing.
God help us if we believe life is truly something to be endured instead of something to revel in. I dare say that none of us would want the children in our lives to settle for anything less than what they are able (and were meant) to be. Why then do we want our parents, spouses, friends and especially ourselves to settle for less? As people of faith, we have a God who wants us to live abundantly. He wants us to be happy, healthy and productive so why should I fear the path before me? Why shouldn’t I run leaping through the door into the realm of possibilities? There is no good reason I can find and yet I still hesitate at times. Fear takes hold and I am reminded of my responsibilities, commitments and my own mortality. I am blinded by this world’s cares and I surrender to the safety of the known rather than soaring into the open sky of my dreams. I would venture to say I am not the only one who sometimes finds themselves on the edge of clarity and greatness but shudders at the thought of leaping.
Greatness will not come in our actions until it first comes in our thoughts. What we think, we become. If we spend our lives thinking we are weak or incapable of achieving greatness, then it is true. If we think our dreams are impossible, then they are. If we think all we have right now is all we will ever have, then it is! Sometimes we live our lives trying to protect what we already have instead of letting go and reaching for the greatness that exists within each of us. Settling is much different from contentment. Settling is giving up; contentment is letting go. Settling is admitting defeat and allowing circumstances to convince you this is the best it’s ever going to be. Contentment is courageously pursuing your true calling while having peace with the timing of the circumstances. The apostle Paul said, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in every situation, whether well-fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Phil 4:11-13)
So stand strong and be courageous in the pursuit of your dreams. Don’t settle for what others think you should be, do or have. Be who YOU are. Do what YOU are called to do. Live YOUR purpose! And when you are willing to do those things you will find you have all you need to achieve more than you could ever dream!