At one point in your life you wanted most of what you now have. Why keep moving the goalpost?

I grew up in a 1,000-sq-ft. house. We had one car (that sometimes worked). My father finished high school. Our annual one-week vacation was to my uncle’s off-the-grid cabin in Arkansas. 

My life is vastly different now, exceeding my wildest childhood expectations. While the overall standard of living in America has steadily increased, my lifestyle has outpaced it. I am surprised at and grateful for the abundance I experience. 

While there’s nothing wrong with ambition and enjoying the fruits of good planning and hard work, there’s a danger in expectation-creep. At some point in life we need to hit the brakes on striving for upward mobility and instead be deeply satisfied and grateful for our current status. If we don’t, we may be plagued by jealousy and discontent and become preoccupied in chasing an elusive, ever-moving target.

Micah 6:8 was my mother’s favorite verse and it has become one of mine: “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (NIV).

Solomon, a wise man from ancient times, summarized the good life by saying, “A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God” (Ecclesiastes 2:24). 

These verses commend a simple but focused life, marked by contentment and gratitude.

14 Replies to “At one point in your life you wanted most of what you now have. Why keep moving the goalpost?”

  1. Chased the elusive target for a long time with no rainbow or peace at the end.
    Today my favorite bible verse is:

    Philippians 4:12
    I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well-fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

    Thanks for the reminder Don!

    1. Thanks, Ed, for taking the time to respond. Your verse is choice: be contented wherever you are. Take care, Don.

  2. I too grew up in a small house and it had a coal burning furnace where you could find coal dust on fresh fallen snow. The specks of dust was easily seen on the white of the snow. One of my favorite verses also happens to be Micah 6:8 with my verse taken from the NASB translation.

    1. James, growing up poor is both challenging and good. For the rest of my life I’ll not take for granted what I have. Take care, Don.

  3. One translation of the Bible says this:

    Ecclesiastes 7:29:
    This is all that I have learned: God made us plain and simple, but we have made ourselves very complicated.

    As humans, we can MAKE life very complicated. Remaining ‘deeply satisfied and grateful for our current status’ would be consistent with remaining “plain and simple.” It’s a challenge for me.

    1. Randy, thanks for responding. What translation of the Bible is that Ecclesiastes 7:29? I’ve not “heard” that verse. It’s a gift to be simple.

  4. Great thoughts. My husband and I made such a keep from our childhood.
    We praise God for our abundance and pray that we will continue to share with others, not accumulate more for ourselves. Our one extravagance is travel.
    Thank you for the reminder.

  5. Working on it brother. Thank you for the timely re-centering.

    On a different note, I failed over the holidays to personally thank you for walking me over for my Covid test in Rome back in the fall. It was my most ‘fatherly’ experience since my father passed away six years ago. I love you ‘daddy’ Don.

    If I may share one more recent blessing, my eldest was able (by God’s Grace) to be baptized in the Jordan River on Easter Sunday. (He may be currently serving in Syria, Sudan, or Afghanistan) I’m just not quite sure. I’ll try and reply a photo and short video clip to the blog. R, Jim in Virginia.

    1. Jim, please forgive me for my tardy response. I enjoyed those moments we had together, looking for a Covid test. That seems like a lifetime ago. I am happy that your son confessed his faith through baptism. I have fond memories of our time together on the Greek Isles cruise. Take care, Don.

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