Everything is interim. Everything is a path or a preparation for the next thing, and we never know what the next thing is. Life is like that, of course, twisty and surprising.
– Shauna Niequist in Cold Tangerines
Often we hold onto this idea of stability and longevity. We (or maybe it’s just me) like making a plan. What’s the three-year, five-year and ten-year plan? As if we have any real control over it.
Don’t misunderstand, I think goals and dreams are wonderful things to have. But sometimes we clutch onto them so fiercely. When something goes awry or changes the course, we get flustered. We react in fear or fight. We cry out in the night and wonder what went wrong. The plan, the perfect plan, is no more.
But everything is interim. There is no such thing as stability or control. Whatever it is, it may be for the next few days or the next few years. My life seems like it is in total interim right now, and I can’t say that I always love that feeling. Sometimes I want to know every detail and then plan minute-by-minute what’s next but that is just not how life goes. We’re instead being challenged and tested in order to be best prepared for what is to come.
Embrace the interim.Because there is a God who has all the plans. We just have to trust in Him.
This week I am co-hosting a link-up with Susannah from Simple Moments Stick. Please check out her blog when you get the chance and feel free to link-up your post about faith and fellowship!
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
I have been reading these verses over and over the past few days/weeks. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in things–tasks to complete, to-do lists to accomplish, career ladders to climb, people to see. While I don’t feel we are called to be total people-pleasers, I fear sometimes we can sway too far the other way. If people-pleasing is a natural tendency, sometimes we overcompensate by trying to fight off that urge to people-please but forget to continue to truly value others. I think it’s healthy to have boundaries and to take care of ourselves. Sometimes it means saying “no” to a good thing. If we were always running on empty, it’d be pretty hard to be effective at serving others.
Yet it still says here quite plainly to “value others above yourselves” in humility.Whew. That’s a tall order. So how do I find the balance? What does that mean for today and tomorrow and the next day? How can I better put someone’s interests before mine? How does that impact my decisions and my speech?
The first verse is also incredibly striking– “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.” I think the adjective attached to the word ambition matters. Having goals and ambitions can be good as it motivates and inspires us, but selfish ambition is what we are told to avoid. Finding that line between ambition and selfish ambition isn’t easy. I think our society often praises selfish ambition, but that doesn’t make it right. I have to remember to ask, where does this ambition come from? Who does it serve? What does this ambition lead to?
I don’t know the answers. The best I can do is to continue to read and pray. I know I fall short here. All the time. But I want to continue to think through what it truly means. I want to live in humility, I want to toss away selfish ambition, I want to look to the interests of others.
…meaningful work allows you to 1) share your gifts, 2) make an impact in the lives of others, and 3) live your desired quality of life. Getting these three components to align is the goal, but it’s certainly not easy.
It is easy to feel overwhelmed by uncertainty, to want to lie low with the urban tribe, or our parents, until our brains just mature on their own and somehow suddenly know the sure answers to our lives. But that’s not how the brain works. And that’s not how life works. … The twenties are, indeed, the time to get busy. It’s forward thinking for an uncertain age.