“Most people were two-dimensional, at best, living like automatons. They’d drone through life in a daze, always looking around, but never actually seeing anything or engaging in life’s bigger questions. They didn’t even realize there were bigger questions to ask. Most humans were simply content with existing and entertaining themselves with diversions until they die—fooled into thinking they were really alive when all along they had only bought into clever marketing. Mindlessly following everyone else."
"Hacker: The Outlaw Chronicles" by Ted Dekker
Look around you. What do you see? If you step back and watched people’s actions, what would their lives tell you about their beliefs? What would their lives tell you is most important to them?
Now, look at yourself. If someone looked at your calendar, your bank statement, your social media posts, what would they conclude was most important to you?
Our poets speak often of this: From Tyler Durden in Fight Club, “Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs that we hate, to buy ‘crap’ that we don’t need.” To William Shakespeare, “Life is but a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more; it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
Maybe you don’t relate yet, I wouldn’t have thought so either until a few years ago.
I was 38 years old when I had my first fight with burnout. I was a husband, father of three, and a partner in a wealth management firm. I didn’t have the time, the freedom, nor the inclination to burnout. I thought that I was too important. Our firm was growing, fighting a lawsuit, and I was leading a scary good team. This is what I wanted, exactly, all the cool stuff. I thought that my priorities right, I loved God, taught Sunday school, and led adventurous mission trips. Yet inside I argued, “I don’t make enough money…” “I don’t have all the toys of other guys…”. “Our house wasn’t…” I was both arrogant and hurting; afraid and reckless; vain about not being vain.
I remember praying God, if you are ever going to call me into missions please do it now. I wanted out!
Truthfully, I honestly thought that I was doing life right, but still success had become my religion. Actually, I was on my own throne. My imagined Christian businessman success story is what I was chasing and whether I succeeded or failed at that, the chase would always crush me.
J. D. Greear described this well, “When something becomes so important to you that it drives your behavior and commands your emotions, you are worshipping it.”
Many people, in some way, have made success their religion, lifestyle their report card, and money their scoreboard. If you don’t believe me look at any social media of your choice; what do you see? What are people celebrating? What is most important to them?
Now, look at yourself, what are you celebrating?
Will that sustain you, will that save you?
Last question. What do you fear losing?
Think about it…
This blog is an excerpt from a book that the team at Sound Financial is in the process of writing, “The Real Price of Your Dreams, the story of money.” Look for it soon.