There are a lot of lessons that I try to teach my kids. My 18-month-old son gets the basics: “Don’t touch that, it’s hot”, “Don’t put that in your mouth (OK, now spit it out)”, “Zeke, slow down or you’ll hit your…I’ll get the ice pack. My 7-year-old daughter gets more advanced lessons in subjects such as morality, religion and biology. Last week I told my daughter something I wish someone had told me when I was her age…and told me again and again until I had it down. I learned this lesson over the past 18 months of emotional, spiritual and financial pain, and I feel pretty confident that I’ve got this one right.
The purpose of doing your best in everything you do is not to win the prize, get the girl of your dreams, earn the promotion, receive salvation, or achieve whatever the object of your striving might be.
You do your best in everything you do so that you can be at peace. That’s it.
Aren’t you sick and tired of living with all of your excuses? I know I’m sick of my own ‘loser’s limp’, of all the excuses I’ve used for why I don’t have everything I think I deserve. Not only do I regret the missed opportunities of my life, but I absolutely hate that feeling deep down inside that I probably could have achieved those missed successes if I’d just tried a little bit harder. Of course, sometimes doing your best means not doing certain things, like lying, cheating or hurting others (even when they deserve it).
Through the challenges of a 2nd master’s degree, unemployment without the unemployment check, mortgage trouble, and confronting major areas of sin in my life over the past 18 months I have finally started doing my best in just about everything I do. There have been some terrific wins in my life as a result: I have a good job, my marriage has never been better, and I’ve never been in better physical condition. But there are still a lot of problems in my world, and I still might have cause to be disappointed…except that now, every night when my head hits the pillow, I sleep easy because I know I left it all out on the field that day. The feeling of peace I experience as a result of this lesson is more valuable to me than any level of achievement I have earned so far in this life.