So, for the record, I am not in any way advocating for people to ‘settle’. Almost everyone growing up looked forward for that time where they would ‘settle down’, preferably with a spouse of their dreams, a house of their dreams, a car of their dreams and wonderful kids.
Inherently, ‘settling down’ is one of the greatest longings of our lives. To us, settling down depicts maturity. It shows that we are ready to leave our childhood days and start projecting ourselves as adults. I kind of like that kind of a focus. There is however another kind of settling that is so subtly tied to the one we long for. It is called settling for less! Unfortunately, it hits most people at their death bed so severely how they settled for less in their lives.
Stories abound of people who have had NDEs (Near Death Experiences) and they come out totally transformed! You can seldom find an individual who has had an NDE who got worse than they were previously. That is a given!
Stories also abound from doctors who have witnessed scores of people die under their care. One doctor testifies of two types of people:
- The Peaceful and Smile-ful: These are the types that welcome death. It seems as if they have some kind of power greater than death itself. It almost seems as if they are not afraid of death itself. They seem so sure not only of how they have lived, but also where they will live after the bridge of death. They are so at peace. So solemn a peace. If you would get into their heads, they are saying something like, “I am ready”
- The Terrified and Mortified: These ones know that it is game for them. They show great fear for what is coming, and with the little strength they have left, they will fight death like a man fighting bees. There is great regrets in their eyes. They do not want to go. They do not know what awaits them on the other side. Of course they know there is the other side, their religious persuasions notwithstanding. If you would get into their heads they are saying something like “I wish I knew”
Which group do you think you belong to? If death was to come right now…which group do you think you belong to? Your answer will be determined by the following standards of living. Obviously, if you settled for less than your potential in life, you most definitely will be in camp two.
But how exactly do you know that you have already settled for less than you deserve in your life?
- You no longer aspire to achieve goals: Remember that thing about dreaming for a nice house, a cute spouse and lovely kids? The reason as to why you had those dreams is because they can be fulfilled. For the most part, nobody planted those dreams in your head….in fact, some of them came from deep within your soul. Yet you no longer pursue them. You have given up on them. Your greatest focus right now is to put food on the table and clothes on your back. You have settled for less than you were created for!
- You are comfortable with where you are: It is one thing to give up on goals, it is another thing to be happy about and OK about it. The worst of those who have settled are those who are never bothered to say the least that they could be better. Your greatest desire every single day is for comfort. You have dulled all the wake up calls in your life and even to the extend of compromising your values, you will seek comfort. The opposite of this is what I call a holy discontentment. Just two days back I was asking myself this question, “Lawrence, do you think you have given up or walked away from God’s original call in your life?”. That question is not comfortable. I do not want to settle!
- Your speech is full of ‘those were the days’: You are living in the past. You reminisce your past glory. “During our days, those were the days!” When you speech is punctuated by these kind of statements the whole time you are talking, you have given up on a dream, you have settled. Not that there is something wrong with remembering past glories. I like what Apostle Paul (whom many Atheists hate) says: “Everything in my past that was to my gain, I count it as loss…One thing I do, forgetting those things that lie behind, I press on…” Arsenal as a team should take a cue from Paul the Apostle. You cannot revel in past glories and call that success! That is settling for less!
- Your Academic Fires: You cannot remember the last time you self studied. You can only remember when you finished formal school and lit up your ‘waste papers of academia’ in a mighty fire. You have never taken initiative to read anything constructive about your area of specialization, or your passion. The best you read is news and gossip, especially gossip! You have no mentor, you are reading nothing about any great figure of change in our lifetime, you just stopped taking charge of your mental growth! You have settled.
- What you hated, you now accept: You would never allow something to be done either to you or to other people. It would most certainly never be congruent with your values. Let me talk for example to newly converted Christians. You remember how you were so ‘on fire’ you would never watch TV? So how come these days you not only watch lots of TV, but you also have become so comfortable with shows that use nudity and obscenities? If this was not what espoused your values previously, you have settled for less. And no, don’t lie to yourself that you have become wiser or more mature….you just settled for less!
So we all know what is going to happen when death comes. You will be fighting it like a man fighting bees…but where will you get that strength from? It will be one of the most painful deaths in the face of the earth. The truth is, anybody without a Life Signature falls in group two mentioned above. Which group are you in?