A couple weeks ago Kelly and I sat down to watch a movie on a quiet Saturday night. We hadn’t settled on a specific movie to watch. No worries though, with a redbox less than a mile away, Amazon Prime and Hulu at our fingertips, and a large movie rental store maybe 3 miles away, we had plenty of options.
We pulled up Amazon Prime and started browsing, found a few movies that looked worthwhile, picked one, and settled in. For all of about 10 minutes. The movie wasn’t all that interesting. No problem. There were still others that had looked interesting, so we switched to another movie. 15 minutes in we were still dissatisfied. On to another movie, frustrated with the wasted time.
After about an hour of indecision and flipping between movies we gave up and went to bed unhappy. What had been set to be a nice night at home watching a movie turned into an hour cursed by the amazing breadth of choices we had in front of us, an increasingly common problem in our world with the growing list of options in every realm of life. Whether it be in the realm of entertainment or college degrees or churches or where to live, we have a massive amount of things to choose from. Technology has opened up a realm of possibilities and we’ve entered the age of choice paralyzation. Rather than picking one thing and sticking it through and enjoying it we’re almost constantly evaluating the option we’ve chosen against the ten other options that we can find pictures, blog posts, and videos of online.
I know several people who’ve added at least two years to their college career by switching majors two or more times because other options seemed more interesting. We begin attending a church and after a couple weeks start wondering what the other churches in town are like and end up hopping from one to another, never settling in. Our significant other is great for the moment, but we’re keeping our eyes open in case something better comes along. Sure, our lives are ok, but look at the lives that are out there on Pinterest and Instagram. Why can’t I have a house/family/job/car/fashion sense/body like that?
The first and biggest problem with our constant search for something new is the fact that it speaks loudly to the fact that we don’t believe God has a good purpose for where we are now.
Secondly, it kills the hope, joy, and peace that we are meant to have throughout all of life. The followers of Jesus are to be the most joyful people, at peace regardless of their circumstances and saying with the apostle Paul, “I have learned in all situations how to rejoice. ”
Thirdly, it prevents us from learning what God has given us to learn and growing up into the person that he wants us to be. Tying in to the first point, God has put you where you are now because he has something that will be for your good and his glory there. He wants you to learn and grow and become. We are to be like David, who served in his imprisonment with excellency rather than spending his days pondering what it would be like to be somewhere else. As a result of his focus and excellence he grew in character and was exalted by the Lord to the place of second in command in the nation .
Instead of always looking at the greener grass on the other side, lean into where God has you now, whether that be your job, schooling, relationship, or even the body he has given you. He has you there with a purpose that’s awesome. As you own that space with excellence and faithfulness he will lead you to open doors that will take you beyond what you had ever imagined for yourself.
Don’t waste your time. The Psalmist was right when he wrote that our lives are barely a breath. Don’t be like Kelly and I were on that Saturday night, digging ourselves into frustration rather than enjoying and being satisfied with what we had chosen. There’s joy in every situation, hope in every inch of your life, and peace anywhere that Jesus is (which is everywhere!). Lean in and watch the amazing happen.