Let’s be honest, most of life deals with disappointment. Things don’t turn out like we had hoped. People aren’t always what they seem. Successes aren’t as satisfying as anticipated.
Yet we keep pressing on. We don’t give up. We learn to deal with the disappointments as they come. We still plan, prepare, struggle and persevere, in spite of the passing nature of accomplishment. It’s all about our motivation, the ‘why’ of what we do.
The world gets caught up in appearances. Even Samuel of the Old Testament was prone to this, captured by what he saw when he was sent to anoint a king, eventually being led to David. Before that though, Samuel was taken in by what could be seen.
“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart,’” (I Samuel 16:7, NIV).
When our motivation is right, the pressure is off. We don’t have to keep striving for the next big thing, the ‘it’ moment, to feel validated. We can rest and even handle the disappointments that come our way because our mindset is different, focused on what truly matters.
Fame and money seem to be our main pursuits these days. We want recognition, the freedom to live how we want and the accumulation of stuff above all else.
Check out the selfie culture and the explosion of narcissism. Very few want to have a quiet life, not content to toil in anonymity and experience the joy of a life well-lived and shared with loved ones.
Now it’s about recognition. Our social media culture has made us void of the real relationships that we crave, making people desperate to find connections, belonging and contentment. We’re afraid of being forgotten. Of feeling like we don’t matter. Of getting lost in the shuffle. Of not being valued.
The believer has a different mindset, however.
“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ,” (Galatians 1:10, NIV).
Nothing—accomplishments, stuff, accolades—goes with us when we die. So, keep persevering, keep loving, work through the disappointments as they come and keep serving others.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.”
Godliness with contentment is great gain. The rest will take care of itself.