Wednesday, January 8

The next really big thing


It's still early in the year and people are speculating over what will become the next really big thing in 2014. Will it be one of those cool looking Android phones that you wear on your wrist? Or will it be the so far uncool looking Google Glass, which is a computer with an optical head-mounted display? Or florescent tattoos? Or hydrogen cars? Or...

We live in an entrepreneurial society which celebrates the new and innovative -- the next really big thing. This means that we as individuals expend a lot of energy trying to come up with the next really big thing, identify with the next really big thing, and put our hope in the next really big thing.

Could it be, though, that all of this focus on the next really big thing is sucking the life out of us? For life is really more about a lot of really ordinary small things. Even putting together the next really big thing is an incremental process of lining up a lot of small things.

The next really big thing isn't really bad. But those who buy lock, stock and barrel into the next really big thing myth will miss out on the life that flows out of the little conversations and the little ideas -- the simplicity of slow cooked meals -- contemplative living -- deep thinking -- and prayerful discussions with God.

I know that we're eager to get to the next really big thing but what if the next really big thing is actually really nothing in comparison to living a simple life defined and driven by simplicity and contentment with what we have -- and a desire to share more with those who don't.

St Paul says, "I have learned how to be content in any circumstance." ~ Philippians 4:11

And the fact is that contentment is something that has to be learned. We aren't born with it. But we have to make room for it. And that usually means turning off the vacuum that wants to suck us into the next really big thing. The switch is found in self-awareness. Once we become aware of just how driven we've become -- and how powerful the vacuum is -- we are freed to look elsewhere for our sense of significance.

Yes, I'd like a hydrogen car and might even warm up to Google Glass. If those things come my way I will receive them with gratitude. But I'm not going to spend 2014 or any year trying to attach myself to the next really big thing. I want to pour my energy into living a simple life of contentment -- fully grateful for all that God has already placed in my life.
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