So Jesus again said to them, “…I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." (John 10:7,10)
When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” (Psalm 126:1-2)
What does it mean to have life to the full? It seems to me that most people would say that they want to have a full life, but I know very few people who actually succeed in getting there. So how do we get there? How do we structure our lives in order achieve "fullness"? What is fullness? Do we even know what a full life would look like for us?
When I look at what the people around me are pursuing, it is very telling. They are pursuing monetary gain in order to get the stuff that they want; to get the comforts that money can provide. They pursue status, fame, positions of power and influence. They pursue escape through drinking, vacations, relationships, video games, shows and movies, etc. It seems that a very common perception is that a full life entails the ability to pursue our pleasures to the fullest. What people dream about doing is their next fix… their dream is for their next comfort or self-fulfillment.
Is that a worthy thing to dream about? When I get to the end of my life and look back on it in reflection, am I going to be glad that I spend so much time obsessing over my comforts and status… none of which matters once I'm in the grave?
I've been taking stock of my life and what I've been dreaming about lately. I've been trying to re-centre my life around what matters and pursue what is going to be of eternal significance rather than temporal comfort. If I'm going to be completely honest, I really need some internal realignment towards this. I've been living just like most other people… pursuing my wants and desires and just trying to get through my week to the next time I can rest. That's no way to live… it's not what I want to build my life around.
You see, one of the great things about having a relationship with Jesus and believing that He is the Lord of your life is that you build your life around this very concept. We're here to have Jesus at the core of everything we do and the rest of our life revolves around that. It doesn't mean we can't enjoy things or have comforts… we can and do. What it does mean is that those comforts don't define our existence, they're enjoyable add-ons to our existence. What we pursue is what Jesus pursued… destroying works of evil and bringing love and reconciled relationship wherever we go. Our lives are to serve God and serve others by bringing these elements of the Kingdom of God here on Earth.
So with that being the case, why am I still so out of alignment with this concept in my everyday life? Why do I still find myself pursuing the easy course of escape instead of a path of significance?
One of the things I've recently identified is that, instead of dreaming of what significance would look like and what I might do about it, I limit my sight to "just getting by". I put one foot in front of the other, plodding along until I can take a break. What I should do is take a step back, look at life, and dream again what it could look like with significance and with Jesus at the centre. What could it look like if I went after what Jesus went after? What specific thing has God designed me to build with my life?
I tend to let my fear and anxiety rule. Things like fear of not having enough time, fear of relationship breakdown, fear of the unknown, fear of what's happening in our society. The problem with these fears is that they end up putting artificial limits in our lives. We end up living our life down to the level of our fear. If I fear something, I will try to control it so that what I fear doesn't come to pass. If I'm so busy trying to control every outcome, I've ceased to proactively pursue my dreams. Instead, I get emotionally and physically weary trying to stay in control, so I need a break… so I start dreaming about the next break that I can have and what that may look like. Subtly and without conscious thought, I've replaced my dreams and a centred life around Jesus with constraints of my own making.
It's time to step back from anxiety and fear and start dreaming again. It's time to come back to living a life to the full. It's time to live with purpose and build something that will last and have an eternal impact. The world needs wholehearted people living wholehearted lives. God made you for a good and eternal purpose. Let's dream again.