Life’s a beach or is it? From a young age we buy into the fairy tale of life. We dream of becoming rock stars, walking the red carpet or playing first base for our favorite professional baseball team. As we grow older, our dreams become more “realistic.” We set our sights on marriage, 2.5 kids, a big house, a dog and a successful career culminating in a happily ever after. And once you get it, you know that you have won at the game of life. The end. Life’s a beach filled with fun, love and don’t forget money. Until . . .
. . . you wake up from the fantasy that we’ve been duped into believing and trade in your dreams for the hard-to-swallow pill of reality. Life’s not a beach. Happiness isn’t a box of chocolates. And even if you do manage to get everything you’ve ever dreamed of, something’s still missing because life’s a rocky road for sure.
For as long as I can remember I wanted to be a writer, get married buy a house and have kids. I don’t know why I wanted these things. I just did. That’s what you do. And I was confident once I achieved them all, I’d coast into old age happy, happy, happy.
But that’s not exactly what happened. My college degree didn’t win me a high paying, newsworthy career. Even once I snagged a senior editor position, I could barely afford my car payment and roomed at my parent’s house. My prince charming didn’t come riding in on a white horse the minute I graduated college. In fact, my younger sister beat me to the altar. And even once I did walk down that aisle in a beautiful white dress and gave birth to two beautiful boys, picture perfect isn’t exactly the adjective I’d use to describe the life I was building.
But, but, but . . . I’m a Christian. I gave my life to the Lord at a young age. I did everything right. I never ditched school, not even once. I married a man who loves Jesus. I pray with my kids before bed and so on and so on. Where’s my perfect life? What happened?
In John 16:33 the Bible says, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” There it is. Right there in black and white. It never says that our earthly lives will be filled with our heart’s desires, free from trouble, easy or even happy. Our lives are not like Hollywood movies wrapped up in a neat and tidy package. Satisfaction isn’t found in others or successes.
We’re chasing the wrong happy ending!
If instead, from the moment we were born we lived our lives focused on our eternal destination we could find a joy and peace unsurpassed by anything this life has to offer; a reality that blows all manmade fairy tales away. The prize isn’t the material offerings of this world, the fantasy of the American dream, but the majesty that awaits us in Heaven.
But we have to travel the rocky road of disappointment, divorce, poverty, cancer, loneliness, depression, childlessness, abuse, failure and so much more to get there. The sooner we accept it and look beyond ourselves Heavenward, the sooner our eyes will be open to the real happily ever after.
I’m 42 now. Gained a few pounds . I fight with my husband over his dirty clothes laying on the floor and rent my home. My kids are less like angelic cherubs and more like escaped zoo animals. I doubt my parenting ability and don’t’ really have many friends. I’m often paralyzed by anxiety and feel inferior, unaccomplished.
Yet, tomorrow I’ll laugh till my belly aches at my 9-year-old’s silliness. I’ll be completely content when he snuggles beside me on the couch. I’ll smile when my almost teenager shares his excitement about skateboarding and girls. I’ll look admiringly at my husband as he goes off to work at a sometimes thankless job. And I’ll walk outside my front door and see God’s majesty in the bird’s chirping and the kindness of a neighbor. All the while, I will be filled with the hope and faith God has embedded in my heart, which will not, cannot die unlike the fleeting dreams of this earthly society.
Revelation 21:4 says, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” EVERYTHING we have ever wanted is within reach. We’re just looking in the wrong place. It’s not in the here and now, but in the hereafter. And if we simply put our life in God’s hand, set our course on his path, the reality God has prepared for us will greatly surpass our dreams and the disappointments of falling short in this lifetime.
Life isn’t about worldly wealth, fame, popularity, success, or even us. When we refocus our dreams away from the earthly desires ingrained in us by our society and open our Bible to discover what our creator truly designed us for – simply to love God and love others – we will find meaning, purpose and JOY in all circumstances.
Life’s a rocky road. Might as well eat ice cream!