Tuesday, July 8, 2014

There is Always Another Hill to Climb

The most exhausting part of life is that it keeps going.  What you did yesterday, you have to do today.  Every hill you have conquered will have to be conquered again.

Sadly, we often fail to rise to the occasion.

In today's modern western culture we have this exaggerated sense of self-worth that demands we are "owed" something.  We want to rest on yesterday's success and use that as a barometer for the entirety of existence.  There is even a very interesting and insightful article here that explains these delusions more eloquently.    Yesterday was hard, I don't want to have to do that again today....or...tomorrow. 

This plays out in a variety of situations and relationships.  We work hard once, and try to ride that single success into the sunset.  And while a singularly great moment can carry you for a while, it only goes so far.  When I was in financial sales I would have months where I made gobs of money(relatively) but if I stopped working, within 4 months I would be broke again.

A correlating effect of this attitude is that we try to make everything we do become the "NEXT BIG THING".  It isn't enough just to do your job, keep your nose clean, and keep plugging away.  Swinging for the fences is what it is all about.  And we exhaust ourselves with this behavior.  We only apply ourselves to something huge, and let the little steps drift away. 

Think of the places you see this play out...

The husband who was a hopeless romantic when you dated, but now comes home from work, sits on the couch until he falls asleep and doesn't remember that this weekend your mom is coming to visit.

The athlete who had a great year, and comes back from the off season 40 pounds overweight and unwilling to listen to his coaches anymore...because he knows better!

The church that did things in a certain way 20 years ago and grew rapidly.  And so today, they keep doing that same thing, and are confused and frustrated that the young families they used to reach no longer visit them and stay. 

The parent who was really engaged with their son when he was young, but don't know the name of their teenagers best friend today.

What got me thinking about this is from studying Exodus.  It starts with this reminder of Joseph and his brothers and then says, "Then a new king to whom Joseph meant nothing, came to power in Egypt".   And thus began the downfall.

We don't know the particulars of the Israelites experiences post Joseph and Pre-Slavery, but that is an important line for us.  It would seem to indicate that the successive generations were quite willing to ride on the coattails of Great Uncle Joe.  And when his impact was no longer relevant and contemporary, they were on the outs. 

They didn't make a name for themselves on "This Day", they let yesterday do their work for them. 

Life is a series of repeats.  Every day you have to climb back up that hill.  Carry that torch.  Do your job. 

Where are you today?  Are you willing to put in the work you did yesterday?  Or, are you coasting?  You might think coasting is the easy option.  But let me tell you that is a lie.  Playing catch up is always more exhausting than just doing a little bit of the right thing every day.

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