How many of you received this classic graduation book, Oh, the Places You'll Go!, for one milestone or another? This book is full of encouraging and supportive words for the wide open world and infinite possibilities of greatness that await us. And even though the book warns us of life's unavoidable tough times and "prickly perches," the expectations for us are the highest of high. No pressure, right?Congratulations! Today is your day. You're off to Great Places! You're off and away! -Dr. Seuss, Oh the Places You'll Go!
Do you ever stop and wonder, "How did I get here?" Well, here I am. I just celebrated my 32nd birthday, and those expectant words from Dr. Seuss still ring in my ears. Am I fulfilling my "brainy" and "footsy" potential to "move mountains" and be the "winning-est winner of all?" Am I in the midst of "Great Places?" Am I doing enough with my God given talents and gifts? My quick answer is no. I can always do more. I am in a good place, yes, but I haven't exactly moved mountains or become famous for my accomplishments. Once we jump into life, how are we to balance our expectations for what life offers with where we find ourselves at any given point in time? That is really a never-ending dilemma.
Instead of continuing to be the ambitious, busy work-aholic I had been my whole life, I have spent most of my post-married life growing and nurturing my family. I have become a busy stay-at-home mom full of sleepless nights, diapers, play dates, homework, dinner parties, and community projects. As of today, I am on my 80th day of bed rest due to complications from my third pregnancy. Once this little one arrives, I will be a mom of three boys. Me, a mom of three boys? A high-risk pregnancy? A homemaker? The list of life's surprises for me, and for you, I'm sure, is endless.
When I am not forced to sit still on bed rest, I often run around from day to day like a crazy woman trying to cross everything off my to-do list. Going through my daily routine doesn't usually translate into working on my own expectations and dreams for life; and for some silly reason, I let myself feel guilty about that. It does, however, mean that I can go through an entire day without time to hear myself think about much of anything.
Enough is enough with the self-inflicted expectations already! Why in the world do we put expectations on ourselves for how life should be or will be? Yes, there are some things we can control; but for the most part, we are not in charge, people! We can plan the best of plans, organize like no other, analyze our world, and even attempt to predict what lies ahead. The truth is though, who knows the places we'll go. None of us can change yesterday or control tomorrow Life happens, and it happens on purpose, be it "high heights" or "hang-ups and bang-ups." I am certain of life's purpose because I believe in a loving, sovereign God.
I am not going to lie (no pun intended), bed rest for this long can make you kind of crazy when you are used to going ninety miles an hour all the time. On a positive note, looking at the world from the confines of my bed has been a wake up call for me. Life is definitely a journey, and the "Great Places" Dr. Seuss describes are not necessarily about traveling to far away, exotic places and becoming rich and famous for our ambitious accomplishments (even though that is a possibility). Instead, "Great Places" are for us to recognize and embrace in our here and now. "Great Places" are not an accident or luck of the draw, nor are they limited by our circumstances. Going to"Great Places" is about how we intentionally and conscientiously choose to focus our time and energy. "Great Places" exist in even the most ordinary daily lives, and if we visit them with eyes wide open, they can turn our ordinary lives into extraordinary ones.
I want to recognize and appreciate my own "Great Places." That is the whole point of my blog. For this to happen, I need to be what Dr. Seuss so cleverly terms a "mind-maker-upper." I have to stop getting caught up in my own routine rat race. Oh, the Places You'll Go! isn't just a fun and inspirational graduation book. It provides an ingenious way to welcome each of our todays, "with brains in your head and feet in your shoes," you and I can choose to be mind-maker-uppers. I can't wait to see where this revelation takes me.