Chasing the right stuff has a huge impact on how happy we are.

Romans 12: 2-3. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. 3 Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.

Ever chase a big thing for a long time only to come up short a bunch? Yeah, me neither. Ever think you ought to be something other than yourself because someone else was doing that and it looked so good? I know, I didn’t think so. Ever want something really badly because someone else was just so successful with it and seemed to have it all? Right, I get it, third strike. Well, since neither of us has ever been there I realize the two verses above don’t really apply.

I realize that we’ve never tried to stretch ourselves in ways that just don’t fit us. We’ve never convinced ourselves that we had skills, abilities, inclinations or motivations simply because our peer group or society in general said we should. We’ve never changed the way we think or adopted philosophies of living our lives that just weren’t ours and weren’t sustainable. So, hurray for us, huh?

Similarly, I know that we’ve never convinced ourselves that we could do something that we just weren’t cut out for. We’ve never lied to ourselves and tried to make our square peg fit into a round hole. We’ve never said, “Yes, of course I’ll take on that project.” when in the back of our mind we knew we were already swamped with work. People just don’t do that, right? I mean, you can always do more, right? That’s true, except when you can’t.

This part of Paul’s letter to the church in Rome was cautionary advice that they act their age and that they rely on God to know what they were at that time. Just like the old “walk before you run” cliché he tells them they have to know who they are at this point in the life of their church.

When I was a younger man I really wanted to be “handy” around the house. I wanted to be that guy who could fix a garbage disposal and switch out a hot water heater. The thing is, I’d never done that before and in fact, I’d never even seen it done before. This was before YouTube so I couldn’t just dial up a 100 how-to videos either. Still, I tried, often with awful results which included lots of frustration and swearing. Today, I still can’t fix a garbage disposal or put in a new hot water heater. The difference is I’ve accepted my limitations and I hire someone who has done this before and NOT just watched it on YouTube.

The thing is, we’re all good at something(s) we’re just not good at everything. Just like Paul advised the Roman church so many years ago we have to figure out what that is. If we’re not sure of it, we should turn to God, not the world, for answers. Trying to be all things is a recipe for disaster. Just ask the members of my family about my DIY projects of the past. They’ll tell you that more honesty and less ego back then would have been a good thing.

I wonder where you’re frustrating yourself unnecessarily today. I know I’ve sure had a learning curve on this. I hope that my experience maybe gives you permission to let go of the things you’re just not cut out for, at least not right now. And, if you know someone that could use a little advice, I hope you’ll pass this along to them. I’ve been a lot happier since I’ve become more honest with myself.

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