Living An Abundant Life Despite the Outcomes
I love outcomes.
I love having a goal and a plan and then ultimately achieving that goal or plan.
And when outcomes aren't good, and I don't achieve my goal, I want know why.
What went wrong?
How can I do better next time?
And while this may all sound relatively harmless, or even like a good focus to have, if we let our lives be defined by the outcomes we experience, we are guaranteed to be let down.
We are called instead, to an abundant life despite the outcomes of our days, our elections, our pursuits, our efforts, or our biggest projects.
But how? And why? Why can't I strive for great outcomes? Why can't I want to do great things? Well, we can. But let's dive in a little more...
Outcomes Do Not Trump Obedience
Often times I think we get so caught up in the outcomes that if things don't go well we immediately start trying to place blame. If you're like me, you begin by first blaming yourself.
As I've continued my journey of blogging and trying to continue to pursue writing as a paid-profession and not something I just do as a hobby, there is a question that many thought leaders and other writers that I follow challenge you to ask yourself. The question is this: How do you define success?
The best answer I've heard yet: obedience.
When we live for the outcomes, we may be let down. But when we live for obedience we are guaranteed to grow.
Or maybe you find yourself in a situation that you don't feel you deserve to be in. Maybe you are sick. Maybe you're parents just go divorced. Wherever it is you find yourself, guess what? It's not your fault. It's not your punishment. And it's not the end of your story.
Your circumstances, or the outcomes of this life, do not define your story.
Jesus defines your story, because we are all a part of His story.
We can live fully despite the outcomes because we know that our present day outcomes are not determined by our obedience and will not ever outweigh the ultimate outcome that will come when all is said and done (spoiler alert: Jesus wins and we celebrate for eternity).
So we get to live obediently, and faithfully, and hopefully, knowing, that no outcome, good or bad, will ever change the ultimate coming and rescue of our savior.
Outcomes Won't Fill You
The other thing that outcomes won't do is fill you. They may destroy you, but they will never fulfill you.
I was talking to a friend of mine the other day who has just finished Nursing school. She made the comment that she doesn't know what to do with her free time anymore. We got to talking and agreed that it's almost as if we get to a, "Well, now what?" type of phase in our lives.
We achieve what we have been working so hard for, we rejoice and celebrate and then our mind immediately goes well, now what?
Or maybe we don't achieve our goals or maybe that relationship didn't go as we thought it would or our lives haven't gone as we had planned and we sit back and go, well, now what?
You see, when our hope is placed in our desired outcomes our lives will at one point or another lack joy, peace, and contentment.
We either get to a certain point and begin searching for something higher to reach for or we fall so low we don't feel like we could ever possibly get up again.
Outcomes will never fill you, they will only control you.
Living fully isn't just something we should strive for, it is what Jesus came for (John 10:10). He came to show us where true life is found.
Let's stop searching for it in other places.