We are faced with a crucial decision every single day we face:
Do we fight or give in?
I can recall many days where, if I were to have had to answer that question, I would have given in. Was I weak? Was I less of a man than I thought I was? Possibly. I believe, though, that my inevitable conclusion had very little to do with my character and more to do with my circumstances.
Why continue to fight when everything around you beckons you to wave your white flag?
I know many a soul who yearn for rest. Those who wish to pursue passions, hopes, and dreams and to never hear a word of criticism. Some who only wish to get a restful night of sleep without being woken up every hour on the dot.
The moral of the story is that most, if not all, are looking for a way to answer life’s toughest questions, survive the foulest of storms, and rest peacefully on the shores of stability. The unfortunate truth of the matter is that not a single one of those comes easily, if they ever come at all.
We may never know the answers to life’s toughest questions. Does that mean we should stop seeking? We will face their fiercest storms and sometimes we will come out on the other side a little worse-for-wear. Should we cower in fear at the sight of any approaching gale? We may never reach the shore of stability. Does this mean we stop finding ways to provide?
I answer each of those questions with a resounding “no!” Your existence, and mine, is not meant for perfection. It isn’t meant to know all of the answers and it isn’t meant to be peaceful. If it were, where would the sense of adventure and growth be? What would be the meaning of life if we didn’t fall down only to get back up again with a lesson learned?
King Solomon knew a little something about the word “meaningless.” Said to be the wisest man to ever rule on earth, he says this in Ecclesiastes 1:2, “Meaningless! Meaningless!’ says the Teacher. ‘Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” (NIV)
Solomon, after spending his entire life seeking wisdom, riches, and women, ultimately came to the end of his life and declared that all of this was meaningless. All of our work, our striving, our rejoicing, our hopes; meaningless!
Was Solomon trying to be a debbie-downer? I don’t believe so. What I do believe is that Solomon was trying to point us to this truth: It isn’t just life that was meaningless, it was a life without Jesus.
He wasn’t telling us to sap in our sorrow but rather telling us to not waste our life. He’s advocating that we keep fighting through life but to keep our eyes fixed on God. He has the only hope our hearts need and only He can be the true source of continual strength.
You see, Solomon was close to God. He sought the Lord and asked for wisdom. God granted his wish and Solomon became the wisest man to ever walk the earth. What happned though? Solomon, in his later years, took his eyes off of Jesus and began to seek satisfaction in the world’s riches. It was at this point that he declared what he did. He saw that a life without Jesus was meaningless.
The reason I write this tonight is because I was recently faced with this decision: Keep fighting or give up. This outcome of my decision would affect this blog entirely. In fact, I was ready to quit writing altogether. I was miserable. I didn’t want to give up writing but my heart had enough of the circumstances surrounding me.
After a few days of thinking and a few conversations, my heart settled on continuing my writing endeavors. Criticisms are not always easy to handle but that doesn’t mean they cannot be beneficial. I was encouraged to take the criticism at face value and make the best out of it.
Ultimately, I realized that, like Solomon, I found that my pursuits were meaningless without Jesus. I cannot satisfy every soul. I cannot bow to every whim that some may throw my way. What I can do, and will do, is pursue my heart and my passion with Jesus at the center.
That is what I encourage you to do tonight as well. You will always have your fair shake of negativity. Sometimes it is, ironically, a negative that could result in a positive change, as I have come to see. Other times, the negativity will be simply that, negative. So long as Jesus is your pursuit, nothing else will matter.
Don’t give in. Fight for your life, your heart, and your passions. They are what make you, you. Fix your eyes on Jesus. You can do this! You are loved.