What is there to be said of “going with the flow”?
I once thought it a virtue, to be the kind of person who willingly moves where life directs. This view was passed down to me by my mother, a veritable “free spirit” if ever there was one, and it stands in direct opposition to the view that the future is something that can and should be molded by us.
I admire that latter view. I admire the fact that there are people who take hold of their lives and guide them intentionally everyday toward where they want to be in ten, twenty, or fifty years. Underlying this view are qualities such as discipline, perseverance, and drive. Qualities well worth aspiring to.
The former view, however, is quite different. Or at least I have spent most of my life thinking that it was different. I viewed them as mutually exclusive. The “go with the flow” guy, or the glider, I’ll call him, just didn’t have the discipline or drive to reach the same heights as someone who molded their own future, or the driver, as I’ll call him.
But at the same time, the driver is so focused on the future that he neglects the beauty around him in favor of looking ahead. The glider is subject to the winds and doesn’t always end up where he wants to be, while the driver misses out on the view.
I finally came to a place in my life, several years ago, where I came to terms with that reality that if I ever wanted to amount to anything I would have to land the glider, forgo the view, and fix my eyes on my life ten years in the future.
So I did that. I ended up making a lot of progress, getting a position in a career that I’d always wanted to be in, and setting myself and my family on a more stable course, eyes forward.
I even wrote a book about my journey called Toxic: A Book for Men. In that book I share my thoughts and feelings about several things, including how to achieve satisfaction in life. The thing is, my satisfaction was quite short-lived.
I don’t know if that’s a side-effect of ADHD or what, but does it ultimately matter? Whether it’s that or not, the reality remains that no matter what I accomplish, it’s not good enough to give me a lasting sense of satisfaction.
I didn’t even know that’s something I was looking for, honestly. I remember when I used to make YouTube videos on self-improvement for men. One of those videos was titled “Remain Dissatisfied.” That was early on in this journey, not long after I landed that glider.
The concept was, of course, to get to a place where one could accept never being satisfied for the purpose of always pushing forward into new areas of success. Satisfaction, according to me (then), was tantamount to the death of forward progress and momentum.
Sometime in recent years I hear the phrase, “The only thing that goes with the flow is dead fish.” It lined up exactly with my relatively new ideas on being the master of one’s own destiny. I mean, who wants to be a dead fish?
I think I’ve started rambling…
Anyway, I’ve recently been thinking about how dissatisfied I truly am, internally. I spend so much time thinking about where I’m going that I almost never think about where I am. That’s strange to me because I often talk about course correction, using an analogy I learned from Zac Small of thefamilyalpha.com. This analogy involves a ship on the sea and how if the crew doesn’t constantly course correct the ship can very easily end up far off course.
I find that more often than not I think of course correction in terms exclusively involving the outcome. I neglect where I am. How can one course correct without taking into account their current location?
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’ve come to a place where I need to stop and look around. I miss more than anything right now how I used to just be. And I’ve been reading the Bible a lot more, and I’m seeing things that make me want to just chill out.
Like the command from God in Psalm 46:10 to “Be still, and know that I am God.”
And what do we find in Psalm 27: 14?
“Wait on the LORD;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the LORD!”
That’s a lot easier to read than it is to do. Technically, pretty much everything is easier to read than to actually do, but I’m sure you get my point.
How do I “be still”? How do I “wait on the LORD”?
And am I going backward if I do this?
What if I just… let go?
What would that look like?
What if I actually stopped driving, and let God do that?
Isn’t that the calling? To die to myself and to give my life to Him?
I read the Psalms and see that King David relied on God for absolutely everything, and he turned to God in every circumstance. When he didn’t turn to God… well we know how that turned out.
So I find myself conflicted. It seems that to deny the flesh I must deny the urge to control my own fate. It seems that I have to let God drive. And I think it’s more important now than it ever has been before to put God above everyone and everything else.
The world is growing more divided everyday and it has been on this trajectory for several years now. A great rift is forming between Christians and, well, everyone else. And it’s becoming clear to me that choosing God doesn’t mean just “choosing God.” Because one can’t choose God without actually following His will and allowing Him to lead.
I don’t know if this makes any sense. It probably reads like a scattered journal entry… Maybe that’s what it is.
I guess this is just some thoughts I’m having. And I think the answer is becoming more clear to me every day, regardless of how I feel about it.
It seems I need to stop and enjoy the view.
Until next time,