Counterfeit And Counter-Productive

Each of us, at some point in our life has felt the urge to live life more passionately and with more abandon.

I think most every one of us wants to experience more richness and abundance in our lives. In most of my relationships, I sense that people are still mostly yearning. Despite some evidence to the contrary, I’ve found that it is rarely material things that these individuals crave the most. In fact, so many of these special folks are coming to understand that the accumulation of “stuff” is both counterfeit and counter-productive.

Many people repeatedly start and stop in their search for deeper connections at home, church, and at work. The inability or unwillingness to go deeper than the surface of things makes it difficult to plumb the places that matter most to us and those we love. We can quickly become bored with doing and having; things just never live up to their billing.

While listening to a music stream recently, a pastor came on with a 59 Seconds of Hope segment. I missed out on the first 29 seconds; but the last 30 seconds landed firmly on me. He revealed that in his thirty-five-year ministry, he has come to believe there are only two days that prove the most important for every human being. The first most important day is the day on which we are born; the second most important day is the day we discover why!

How can so many of us be 30, 40, 50, 60 years old or even older and not know unequivocally the answer to the question why?

Email, social media, our mobile devices and media in general have taken us hostage and rendered us nearly unable to focus on where we are directing our life energy. We flutter about prophylactically, rarely fertilizing the things that last.

When is the last time you can remember being truly bored? I mean just flat out, nothing to do, hours limp-by bored. Being bored is becoming a lost art. We’ve traded boredom for distraction and in the process, we have mortgaged opportunities to plumb our deepest desires for a thick book of payment coupons on our restless discontent.

Perpetual busyness is clearly the symptom and our culture is the disease. We are all fuzzed-up because we are connected in ways that were never before imagined. There is just too much information to digest and manage.

Even professional multi-taskers are searching for the off-ramp so they can reacquaint themselves with the “steady-as she-goes” parts of their inner selves that have atrophied amidst the external busyness. To use a fishing term, each of us needs to cast into the deep.

No doubt that my life, like yours is complex; most everyone’s is these days. Without question, the more things I have going on at once, the more things can spill over and make life messy. When I am not careful, I spend an extraordinary amount of time just keeping all of my plates spinning. Some plates I spin unconsciously, assuming that they are mine to spin in the first place. Other plates I keep going without asking myself if they were ever worth spinning.

Increasingly, I am convinced that there is deep work that is only mine to accomplish and I believe that the same is true for you. Depending on the day and the circumstances, for a multitude of reasons I resist the persistent whispers suggesting that I go deep.

All the trivial stuff that fills our days is like cotton candy or bubblegum; it’s fun to eat but has no nutritional value. When reflecting on it, ultimately, I’m mostly distracting and preventing myself from settling down enough to concentrate my effort and attention. All the stuff draws my attention away from my deep work.

If I am being completely honest, I should consider that the root of the avoidance might be fear. If I don’t go all out with my best effort, then I always have an excuse. I might later be able to rationalize my shortcomings.

Getting to the fine pastor’s point, there is a reason I was born. I have a mission to accomplish. As long as I am content to stay distracted, I forfeit my chance of better knowing the real reason for my being.

Don’t misunderstand me. I am likely already smack dab in the middle of living the life I have been put here to live. It is just that I lack fundamental accuracy because real life is hard and it can become monotonous. I can start to lose my grip when life’s friction builds, tempting me, at times to want to let go.

No matter what though, we can always reset the depth finder inside of us and recast ourselves into the deeper parts of our existence. To some, this is starting to sound like a broken record. Each of us wishes we could just get this right, once and for all. Merely reset our sights on the most significant things and be done with it.

For me, this wishing is a little like wishing we could get our hair cut or shave, once and for all or that we could weed the garden, once. Wishing to get married to get on with living happily ever after, as if sharing in the wedding cake would be our antidote to feeling insignificant or alone. If only it were that easy. Deep work requires our faithfulness, concentration and persistence. To go deep, there will be so many other things on which we need to turn our backs.

When an individual can better align his effort each day with his deepest purpose, then power, peace, happiness and a sense of direction are the result. Your deep work is uniquely yours. Resist the clamor! Stay engaged with the deeper questions and your soul’s murmurings. An easy and quick change along the way is to put some distance between you and your device(s.) Think of new ways in which you could give your thumbs more rest each day!

Whatever you know it to be, recommit and build each of your days around your own deepest work. I promise you, it will not be easy or free from setbacks. But discovering why you were born is the authentic medicine, offering life sustaining antibodies for when you are exposed to the shallowness and disease of the culture.

Thomas “TD” Dierker
Live like you’re dying…. cause you are!

 

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