Our lives are going to be big. We’ve always known it. But what happens when your dreams of making a big difference or making a lot of money fail to happen?
For most of my twenties, my biggest dream was to write a book that would encourage, inspire and speak to my generation. The only problem was I couldn’t get a publisher to take a chance on it. Well, that, and I still didn’t exactly know how to finish the book itself.
So immersed in the ambiguity of adulthood as I struggled to become “all groan up,” all the world’s problems I was so sure I was going to conquer quickly took a backseat to my own.
Things like making rent became more important than making a difference. I became bitter and frustrated at what felt like God’s clear lack of faithfulness and my clear lack of ability. Every day I walked into my local coffee shop to write out the answers to life while I felt like my own life was going nowhere.
If You Want to Do Something Big
Our generation has more options, more education, and more “potential” at our disposal than any other in the history of humankind. We’re told from day one that the world is ours. Instead of singing the ABCs in kindergarten, we were chanting, “I can do anything, I can be anything.”
But what happens when we feel like we’re doing nothing? What happens when all the choices and options become the never-ending cereal aisle that we can never leave? What happens to us then?
Drowning in options is a terrible way to die.
When it seemed like I was doing nothing, I was stuck, disappointed, and hurt by my lack of talent and God’s lack of faithfulness. Instead of moving forward, I did what I know how to do best. Complain. Moan. Punch my pillow and pout.
But why? One day, I realized my complaining didn’t make sense. I felt something inside me begin to switch.
Enough! I told myself. Enough moaning. Enough adding to the world’s suffering instead of trying to ease it. If you’re overwhelmed with asking what you want to do with your life, remember that it’s a gift to even have the time and space to ask.
What if I walked around actually believing I have a specific purpose for my life—to bring life to the world around me in the every day?
I’m not just talking about joining in the latest provocative social justice issue. Not that I shouldn’t. Or that I shouldn’t still desire to impact the world. But it must start simpler and more everyday than that. It’s not just about social justice. It’s about being just in my daily social sphere.
You don’t join a cause. You live in one. Every day.
It doesn’t have to be monumental to be worthy of our effort.
It doesn’t have to be labeled “big” to be worth your time.
It doesn’t have to be social-media-worthy for you to take a picture.
Every single day you have the chance to forget about your “problems” and help the world with theirs.
You can’t help humanity if you’ve forgotten how to be human.
God’s Faithfulness in the Small Things
Right now, right where you sit, if you feel like your big dreams and hopes aren’t coming true, maybe God isn’t ignoring you. Maybe God is saving your life.
We cry out for a big calling, yet like a newborn colt trying to carry a huge load, the big would’ve crushed us.
Our generation wants to make a big impact, and that’s an amazing vision to have. Yet, why do we think we’re going to bypass the years of training, refining, loneliness, brokenness and failure it’s going to take to make it happen? It took me 10 years of re-writing, failing and starting over before my new book All Groan Up became the real thing it needed to become.
We have to find meaning in the mundane before we can bring meaning anywhere beyond. Maybe our big dreams need to die so that our true purpose can be born.
So yes, we have a big God who can do big things through us all.
But if you want to do something big, will you first have the courage and perseverance to be faithful in the small?
This post was adapted from Paul Angone’s new book All Groan Up: Searching For Self, Faith, and a Freaking Job!