Yesterday my neighbors were out selling girl scout cookies. While husband was deciding, I chatted with the dad. Their oldest daughter is in the midst of choosing colleges. It took me back. He mentioned some schools that I think he expected I wouldn't know - but I know most of them. We also had a short conversation about the pressures associated with the elite private school she attends. I could relate and remember. Afterwards I reflected on our conversation more and realized that we had been talking about the good life.
You see, she is living in the midst of the "good life" according to the world I was raised in. It was all about high achievement, career, making a difference on a large scale. My parents always talked about service and having a family too - but the culture I was saturated in never discussed having a family. We didn't talk about marriage, preparing for children, cooking dinner, sewing and fixing things, cleaning, daily things - none of it. The definition of the good life I was given applied to a very small population and most of my friends made it! However, now we feel confused and torn between two worlds. Now I have a better idea of why. We were not given a Godly vision of the good life - we were given a worldly vision. Success, climb to the top, you can do anything a man can do, don't let any obstacle (including relationships or children) get in your way, follow your dreams.
The only problem is that this is NOT the Christian good life.
His good life talks about relationships, laying down your life, serving, making yourself less, loving the least of these. Some are called and gifted to be the best in their field and they should pursue it. But mostly, God works through family and friends. Regardless of how messed up they are - he believes in them. His good life is mostly about living in community - not perfect but intentional and loving. It's about trusting in His provision, grace and forgiveness - instead of striving and relying on our own power.
So this year I am confronted with which vision of the good life I am going to live into and teach my children. More is caught than taught and my discontent has unintentionally given them the message that I am not living the "GOOD LIFE" with them. That somewhere out there is a better, alternate version of my life. But that is a LIE and it is stopping here. I am through striving against a vision that was never His for me - I am going to receive what he has given me with thanksgiving and verve this year!
2014 is the year of the good life - being thankful for all that God has blessed me with and learning how to show my family and friends that we are living the good life together.