I used to believe life is simply a series of connect-the-dots with a specific set of accomplishments or milestones connected by straight and narrow lines in-between each one. Newsflash: that is not life.
If you spend any time on social media, I’m sure you’ve seen some pretty hand-lettered quote about pushing for your dreams or encouraging you to keep going because every day is a new day and new opportunity. These niceties are cute and at times can resonate with us. We can print and frame them, hang them on our walls and stare at them every morning as we sip our coffee. We can even get them tattooed in a thin modern script on our wrist. But what happens life isn’t that straight line? When the line suddenly stops or goes in another direction entirely? What happens when this seems to happen day after day, month after month or even year after year? They suddenly don’t seem so encouraging, to me at least.
What those nice quotes don’t show is the authenticity of struggle along the way. The moments when you don’t know up from down. The days you feel like you are just floating through life. The times you wonder what God is orchestrating for you. In these moments, I find it is so easy to consume success of others. We can open any social media or go to a party or even church event and mindlessly consume the success of others: their title at work, their perfectly cleaned and organized home, their beautiful children, their successful marriages and friendships, their impeccably styled outfits, where they went on vacation, etc etc etc. It’s far too easy for us to constantly be bombarded with and consume this success, place it like a stencil over our own lives and expect the lines to match up perfectly. That’s not authentic life though.
Authentic life is more a series of zig zags lines along the path of life. Sometimes the lines are really thick as we trudge slowly through a dark season. Sometimes the lines are really thin as we zoom through a part of life in blur. And often times, we figure out that the dots of achievement we thought we wanted to go after, take 100 other dots along the way or aren’t truly what God wants for us. Perhaps that doesn’t exactly give you warm fuzzies though. I know it doesn’t for me; however, when I step back and focus on me and my own zig zagged, backward, at times upside journey of connecting the dots, I know it is not just me. I understand not to believe everything I see. I learn that being authentic about the non-linear line of life is where true life happens. I find the people who are trying to be real too. I’m able to make a decision to not consume what the world wants me to. Some days are better than others. Some moments are easier than others. And as cliche as it sounds, I believe I can trust the journey my guide has me on.