I’m on the hunt for who I’ve not yet become.
“Okay, wait. This smacks of New Year’s resolutions. Christmas? Hel-LO-ow!”
In one way I take your point. I believe it the height of ridiculosity to see Halloween detritus creeping like cudzu into stores while July 4th stuff is in the 75% OFF buggies in the front of WalMarts everywhere. I’m as disgusted as you at ThanksgivingChristmas décor, etc. doing it’s GOTCHA about two weeks after school starts.
That said, I believe special-themed days – holidays – ought to be elevated above the normal evaluations of life. Held to a much higher standard than Agnes’s birthday or the cupcake we gave Antonio for losing his first molar.
What we’ve done is ‘dumbed-down’ the rest of life, leaving what we grudgingly call holidays sticking up there in Normal altitude like those dry, windswept mesas out in the Southwest. Mediocre is the new exceptional. Average work bags you a trophy and frontpage mention in The Scrompton Scream, that company paper no one bothers to read any more. Too busy texting.
Truth? We feel hurried along, like cattle on an 1850s drive up the Goodnight-Loving trail. “Hite, there! Ho! Keep shufflin’ forward. Valentine’s Day’s comin’ up! Git them cards switched out!”
“So what do we do?”
I don’t know what you’re gonna do. You need to decide that. I’ll tell you what I’m doing.
I’m on the hunt for who I’ve not yet become. I’m working on the ‘me’ God has out there ahead of me. The work, the living, the focus, the ministry and, above all, the challenge laying there like a brand-new set of superhero’s spandex, displayed on the bed.
- “Mmmmhey. You’re gettin’ a little ahead of all of us. Mmmmakes us uncomfterbull.”
- “UuuuuUH-uh. Where you think you’re goin’? None of the rest of us are makin’ that effort. Mmmmakes us all look bad, like we’re all cowed or somethin’.”
You can come up with your own ‘heard’ comments because you hear them all the time. Sadly, they often come from underwhelming supervisors, even company officers who’ve become so used to just getting by without significant problems as a management style they wouldn’t recognize true innovation and progress if it mugged them in the barely-paved parking lot on the way to the SUVs they drive because the rest of the herd does.
We’re as bad as a bunch of 6th-graders with the latest fad. Superball. Marbles. Yo-yos. No matter how silly or useless, if ‘the herd’ all has one, you must, too. The Fad Is All.
“Okay. So how do you get out in front of all this, considering Christmas starts in August?”
I’m thinking a good way is to use the herd mentality as a cattle-list for personal change.
Every time you hear a disgruntled, slovenly coworker with a troll’s ethics mooing his displeasure, use it as a mental springboard: “I refuse to be like that, or to even spend time around that.”
Every time you see someone in another office being a professional slacker on their own job, lazily swimming just enough to keep headway while practicing a river croc’s amoral, predatory design on anyone’s job that pays more than theirs, use it as a strict warning: “I stay as far away as possible from volatile, negatively-charged people like that. I’m a person answerable to God for my thoughts, words and actions. I will consistently reach higher, farther–but I’ll do it the right way, always giving my personal best to every task before me–whether it’s one I like or loathe.”
The herd is populated mostly by people whose ambition and drive has at best slipped into neutral or at worst been purposefully shoved into Reverse.
“What are you saying?”
You don’t have to work very hard to get ahead of the herd. All you need to do is decide you’re done shuffling along with the status quo, being not-so-politely jostled by all the mooers and takers stacked up behind you who are being jostled and pushed by—well, you get the point.
“What if I’m kind of back a ways in the herd?”
Step to the side. Just gently move out of their way and let them go on. Your greatest responsibility is you. Your thoughts, attitudes, desires and dreams. Create the things you wish existed in your life. Begin with your attitudes and work from the inside-out.
“What if somebody I love is content to just keep mooing along and doesn’t see the danger of staying there?”
You do them NO good staying there with them. Zero. The best you can expect is to be butchered together. What does that accomplish? If you’ve any influence over them at all, your finest move is to make the same decision I have.
I’M ON THE HUNT FOR WHO I’VE NOT YET BECOME.
I care about those I love seeing nothing wrong with sticking with the herd. It really eats at me to see them believing they’re leading the herd. I mean, there’s some upward mobility on the hoof. As I once heard a speaker say, “Yup. Top of the bottom, bottom of the top, and the absolute cream of the crap. Now, isn’t that ambition in action?” You do realize, right, no matter how impressive the size of the herd, they all leave the exact same thing behind them . . .?
Of course I care.
But I care even more about how much God’s invested in me, in my life, in my story. As I write, I know you’re actively thinking along with me. I’m hoping you’re thinking about your own experience. I refuse to be less than He has for me. I’m hoping you’re thinking the same.
I know in a world that glorifies mediocrity I draw fire by stretching myself to be more, better, higher, stronger. I’m going to do it anyway.
I know in a society that rewards sloth, graft, lying, cheating and posing to get what they never earned, living according to principles of Godliness, decency, integrity and a strong work ethic will instantly convict and cause bitter, spiteful, guilt-ridden attacks. I’m going to live thus anyway.
I know in a spiritual environment that increasingly is drifting away from Biblical precepts, embracing virtually anyone and anything defacing God’s truth while openly harassing and sneering at those living as authentic Christians, I’ll draw even more fire – some of it ‘friendly’. I’m going to live a practical Christian life anyway.
I’m on the hunt for who I’ve not yet become. God’s got my best years ahead of me. My finest books and articles and blogs have yet to be written. Thus far in this life, I’ve been greatly blessed–yet I believe there are greater blessings yet to come.
I will never stop believing that. I will never stop believing God’s got amazing, mighty things out ahead for me to be thinking, being, saying and doing. Do I care that my hair is gray and that I’m 62?
Does it sound like it? This is God’s thing; I’m just moseying along after Him.
Point? Those things don’t occur in herds. They happen when individuals step aside, get out of the way of the herd, and say, “Okay, God. Steer me. My eyes are on You.”
Colossians 1:15-20 makes me tell Him, “I know in this life I can’t actually see You. In fact, I’m clueless what that would be like. Pixar couldn’t even come close. But You gave us Jesus; we did see Him, and since He’s the image of You, we’ve sort of seen You. So, God, I need to grab hold of what it means that everything -stuff in Heaven and on earth, things visible and invisible, thrones, dominions, principalities, authorities, all matter and I guess antimatter, and all energy – was created by Jesus, whom You say was before all things, and that all these things hold together through Him.”
‘Kay. And I’m supposed to be Jesus to my world. That’s all.
That’s some mind-expanding, life-challenging stuff, right there. That’s big. Huge. Just the kind of megapowerful, soul-raising, dream-catching stuff that individuals wanting away from ‘the herd’ need to draw them out of themselves and toward the wonderful, sparkling, fascinating stuff God’s got out there for each of them.
So, yeah. I’m on the hunt for who I’ve yet to become.
I’m suggesting you might want to consider it yourself.
© D. Dean Boone, December 2014