I took my friend’s 5-year-old daughter to McDonald’s recently and as we drove out the parking lot, she noticed that each time I’d take a sip of my iced tea, my face would have an unpleasant countenance. “Why does your face look like that?” she asked. I responded, “This iced tea tastes awful!” Her response? “Then stop drinking it.” I thought about that for a moment. It was pretty simple for this 5 year old that if I’m engaging in something that is bringing me more discomfort/pain than pleasure, then I should just stop doing it. From my adult perspective, however, I had to take into account the amount of money I spent for this large iced tea and felt that I couldn’t waste it, so I just had to keep drinking it… even though it wasn’t fulfilling the purpose for which it was purchased. God showed me a deeper lesson from this simple experience.
We tend to stay longer in situations in which we feel we have made significant investments. We stay because we are somehow expecting a return. I define the word “stay” very loosely for the purpose of this blog. It simply means, continuing to engage in or continuing to invest in. We sometimes continue to engage in situations that we find out after a while are not satisfying or fulfilling, because we don’t want to feel that we have wasted our time or our investment. Like me, we continue to drink the proverbial “iced tea” that we paid for, even if it’s to our own discomfort and detriment. The question God laid on my heart from my discussion with that 5 year old was, “Can it really be considered a worthwhile investment if you’re not benefitting or gaining from it?” That’s the whole point of an investment, right? It reminds me of the scripture in Mark 8:36 – What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul? I think our distorted perception of our “investment” is what keeps us bound in unpleasant and uncomfortable situations from which there’s no personal or real benefit.
Now, I realize that as adults there are some things that we have to do simply because we just have to do them (e.g. showing up daily to a job you hate but have to do, because you have bills to be paid). I’m not referring to those things. I’m speaking to those otherthings that we continue to engage in, knowing full well that the costs far outweigh the benefits….. simply because we don’t want to feel like we have somehow wasted all the time we spent investing in them. But are we really benefitting from the sacrifice of our investments? Would the cost of investing elsewhere be as great as the realization that we’ve wasted our time in the present investment? The fact remains, sometimes people stay longer than they should in situations, not because they truly want to but, because they fear failure and can’t bear the reality they’d have to face in admitting that they may have wasted valuable time. Is that really a fulfilling way to live though? Does that lifestyle reflect a deep trust in God? Just some food for thought.
Prayer: Lord, our stubborn will and our egos at times lead us away from Your will and the things You have predestined for us. It’s hard to walk away from things that we have poured ourselves into for years, even when we realize that they’re not the best or right things for us; and sometimes, even when they do us more harm than good. Help us to pursue the things that will cause us to fulfill our destinies in You and will bring a sense of meaning and purpose to our lives. Give us the strength to just walk away and write some things off as “bad debt”, if they’re hindering us from the things we should be investing in. Everything we have is from You and we want to yield a favorable return on what You have ultimately given us to invest. Give us discernment today. Amen.
**For your encouragement – Your Destiny by Kevin Levar –https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=P_QdOYRkE7Y