How do I better myself? Self-improvement is big business these days. Countless publications on finding, building, rebuilding and re-imagining oneself can be seen in the self-help sections in book stores. While I do not agree with the means or the worldviews of many of the authors on how to do this, I do agree seeking to better oneself as an overall good thing.
I graduated one year ago this past week. I was hit with this wave of self-evaluation. How far have I gotten versus how far I want to be? Am I content with my life? With my work, relationships? With myself? While trying to not drive myself totally insane (which isn’t too hard to do), I took time to ponder my life. I came to a haunting yet strangely calming conclusion- a lot of people and ways of thinking have been omitted from my life in the past year.
Allow me to elaborate further. I had numerous friends and acquaintances from college and my hometown that I now no longer associate with. These disassociations were intentional. Sometimes they were mutual, sometimes one-sided. These people either found me not worth having around or I found them toxic and had to say good bye. Either way, it has been for the best.
As for ways of thinking, I now am very cautious to not make idols of material items or temporary positions. A specific job title or standing, award, type of apartment or car are all examples of things I was really stressing myself to the point of anger and fatigue over. God really had to grab me by the shoulder and shake me. He was saying,” are these things so much more important to you than me?” Consciously I was telling him and myself, “no, of course not!” I looked at how much time and effort I out into thinking about, talking about and working towards those things versus time I spent with God. Needless to say, there was incongruence with the reality of my life and what I was saying was real.
I recognize now that and have even experienced firsthand I can lose relationships, objects, positions all within a moment. However, God never leaves. His word never leaves, his goodness, his care or his love. How foolish was I to take my focus off of that and onto things that could care less about me and could be gone in a moment’s notice.
I have gained so much more though. I have more peace with where I am at in life, what I am doing, with the relationships I do have and with God. I have fallen back in love with the cool rustle of an evening breeze, the chirp of the birds in the morning and the feeling of satisfaction from a day’s work. While striving to get promoted, obtain the home of my dreams and gain more financial stability are prudent things I am and should do, they are not running my life. People who are not interested in what I have to offer as a person and can not accept the flaws I have are not running my life. Jesus told us we would have to lose our lives to find it (Matthew 10:39) , but by doing so we gain him. You might lose family, friends, significant others, material items and titles. Take comfort, because you gained a closer relationship with Christ and he only wants what is best for you and will deliver it to you in good time. He is a friend that sticks closer than a brother and that means more to me now than perhaps it ever has.
“The more a man can forget, the greater the number of metamorphoses which his life can undergo; the more he can remember, the more divine his life becomes.”