…Don’t look for the way out. Look for the reason you are there. Because, right now, that’s where you should be. That’s what you should be doing.
A Cause For Anxiety
My wife started her 13th year of teaching yesterday. The first day of school is always a great cause of anxiety for her. It’s chaotic. She has to get to know new kids and new schedules in an extremely small amount of time. Kids and classes get rearranged throughout the first couple weeks as guidance counselors realize that half of what they prepared isn’t going to work.
And that’s just the relatively normal stuff.
What drives up her anxiety is the fact that she really doesn’t want to teach. She hasn’t for a long time. Yet, here she is, starting a whole new year for the 13th time.
The 13th time?!
This past summer, Emily and I got to fulfill a little piece of our dream. We got to produce our own web television pilot! It went so well, we worked so hard and we were so prepared that we know this is at least part of what we are supposed to be doing. Emily was right at home handling SAG paperwork, keeping the back-end organized and ensuring everything flowed properly – all while acting on three of the four days!
So why is she starting her 13th year of teaching when, clearly, she should be doing something else?
This Isn’t What I Should Be Doing
On her last day of summer vacation, my wife turned to me as we were watching TV. Her anxiety was already building. She was dreading the next morning. “This isn’t what I should be doing,” she said.
That wasn’t the first time she’d said that. I’ve said it countless times myself.
How many times have you said it?
It’s one thing to know you’re destined for something else. It’s another to get to do that thing – even a little bit (like the TV pilot) – and realize you were right.
And then have to go back to doing the thing you don’t want to do again.
Each of us has that yearning inside us to be doing something more. We each believe we are destined for something else. That God has given us a particular set of skills with a specific mission in mind that we are supposed to fulfill.
For the most part, we’re right.
Sure, we don’t know all the specifics, and often we’re confused about how we’re supposed to be getting where we’re supposed to go. But somehow – almost instinctually – we know we are supposed to at some point arrive. So as the years pass and that arrival doesn’t seem close to happening, we get frustrated and anxious.
We start looking for the way out.
We’re supposed to be doing something else. So why aren’t we?
This Is What I Should Be Doing – Right Now
We spend so much time looking for the way out – for clues to help us access our respective destinies – that we don’t stop to properly answer the question we’re asking. We think the answer to “I should be doing something else, so why aren’t I?” is something akin to “I’m missing the clues” or “I haven’t found the way out” or “the opportunity hasn’t come to me yet”.
But maybe the answer is more like: “Because I haven’t fulfilled where I’m at.”
In other words, what you’re doing right now is what you should be doing right now.
When you were in high school and/or college, you knew something else was beyond that diploma or degree. You knew that although you would eventually be doing other things, you were where you were supposed to be at that time. You weren’t looking for the way out. Rather, you were attempting to fulfill your reason for being there in the first place.
Real life – particularly where God’s plan for you is concerned – is much like that.
It’s not about being stuck where you shouldn’t be, and attempting to find the escape route.
It’s about being right where you should be, and taking advantage of all the resources that’s offering you. More often than not, you’re acquiring knowledge and experience that you didn’t even know you needed to have for what’s to come.
Believe me, I can look back on my life and see all of that pretty plainly.
Don’t Look For The Way Out
I love going to an Escape Room. They’re fun, creative, and you almost always learn something new about yourself, a friend, or a complete stranger that you’ve just been teamed with. (If you’ve never done one before, I highly recommend).
The thing about Escape Rooms is that although the goal is to get out, you don’t spend your time hanging out by the door. You don’t keep punching codes into the keypad or looking for ways to get the door open. In fact, the whole time you’re in the room you’re not really looking for a way out. You know the way out. You’re trying to learn what you need to learn while you’re there, so that at some point you can get out.
The experience of fulfilling your destiny is much like that too. If you’re spending your time looking for the way out, you’re not truly appreciating why you’re where you are to begin with.
So don’t look for the way out. In fact, get away from the door! Look for the reason you are there. Because, right now, that’s where you should be. That’s what you should be doing.
The sooner you understand why, the sooner you accomplish what you are supposed to.
And the sooner that door opens.