Life moves too quickly, and none of us want to spend our lives looking back and wondering how we really got where we are today. Isn’t it true that we want direction for our lives? Isn’t it true that we long for clarity in life and in our relationships and decisions? And isn’t it true that we long to know and discover our specific purpose?
There is an innate human struggle to find direction, and if we are to find it, we must not deny the struggle within us, but must learn to activate the pursuit of it with passionate focus. From MTV to CNN, from billboards to beer commercials, from family and friends to counselors and mentors, from some a vague inner voice inside our soul—these realities subtly shape our lives, determine our futures and reveal what we value and long for in life. Our choices are often formulated by these available realities, and these realities inevitably shape our future.
Upon graduating from my Masters Program in Chicago, my wife Cheri gave me a graduation gift, which revealed one of her hopes and dreams for my life. She wanted the gift to mark my future, to be a metaphorical reminder of the choices we will make together. Cheri understood that present choices define future realities.
That day, Cheri gave me a silver, hand-crafted compass with my initials engraved on the back. This compass has become an icon of transformation in my life. The direction of my life has not gone as I have planned, but gone according to the choices I have made.
We all know that choices can be complicated and confusing, but embedded in our souls is a longing for a true compass that will help us discover our destiny and the path we must take to pursue it. I believe the longing to discover our destiny is an intrinsic desire of every human being. I have learned in my own journey, that life is much more enjoyable and beautiful when I live with purpose, clarity and direction instead of living in a fog of ambiguity.
If we want to create our future with purpose and focus, and if we want to live the life God created us to live, we must take a long, hard look at what shapes our internal compass. Our true values drive our lives. The things that we care about most inform the choices we make and determine our future reality. If you were able to see clearly the interconnection of your choices and values, you would see this with absolute assurance. The underground values in your soul become the compass that directs your life.
One day, I bought a few avocados because I wanted to make homemade guacamole. After a few days where the avocados sat on the counter, I thought they would be ready to cut open so I could make ghard. I kept pressing and sliding my knife back and forth, but nothing much was happening. I finally discovered that avocados have a rock solid core that is simply surrounded by the soft, green, mushy part.
Sometimes we confuse what should be rock solid with what should be mushy. Haven’t you seen those people who are rigid about things that don’t seem to matter much? And then you may find other people who seem to not care about anything at all. Learning to make wise choices begins by understanding what needs to be rock solid and what needs to remain mushy, pliable and adaptable.
To develop a solid core, we must consider what our core values are. It is wonderful to be soft and even green and tasty on the outside, but too many of us live with a soft core. We don’t stand for those things that are on God’s heart. We are shaped and influenced by almost anything, and often the wrong things. Our lives drift in chaotic or unhealthy directions, and our destinies remain unfulfilled.
To develop a solid core, you must reflect honestly about who you are and who we are becoming. We must decide in quiet moments with God the character we are pursuing. If we want to develop a rock solid core, it is up to no one else but us. We must not become rigid about everything in our lives, but remain mushy on the outside, and determine the values that anchor our very being.
Authenticity is not always a good thing, because if I am authentically hateful or bitter, not too many people will want to be around me. It’s admirable to live authentically, but not always honorable. However, for someone who is moving toward the heart of God, then authenticity can suddenly become liberating and influential toward others.
When Jesus was asked what was the greatest commandment, He said to love God and love others. Love is a universal reality that should be part of every human internal compass. Then, when we look how Jesus lived out love, we observe the extraordinary amount of humility and courage it took to love as deeply and fully as he did.
If we desire to activate the heart of Jesus inside of us, we must learn to see with the eyes of Jesus and feel with his heart. The more intimately connected to Jesus we stay, the more we will know the best choices for our lives. We will begin to develop spiritual eyesight, becoming increasingly sensitive to the things that exude from the heart of God. It’s then that Jesus can become the internal guide for our lives, and we will be free to be with him and to interact with his life, his words and how he treats people. We will begin to see how he views money, sex, music, relationships and so much more. As we understand his character more deeply, we will actually become like him more fully and love him more intimately.
Jesus is the wisest human being who has ever lived, and to be interconnected to him will only move you toward the fulfillment of your destiny. Invite Jesus to help you define your core. Experiment what it is like to live connected to Jesus—you will discover what He values and the dreams He has for your life. You will begin to know what choices Jesus would make when you begin to know Him personally.
If Jesus is at your core, you will learn to view other human beings like him and therefore learn to have healthy relationships. If Jesus is at your core, you will begin to process decisions in ways that he would. That is the life you have been created to live, and there is a future that is waiting for you to awaken. Have the courage to move forward.