Believing your life is yours to live is an inherent part of being human, but do we really truly live this way? Advertisments and our own friendship circles influence our decisions on everything from our style, the books we read, the stores and restaurants we frequent, and how we raise our children. This is nothing new, but do we really want to live this way?
I suggest that we are influenced by the status quo because we want to belong, but instead of finding that through connection with people, we gravitate towards belonging through our wallets. I love Dave Ramsey's quote, "Live like no one else." It's actually on the back of someone's car I am often behind in car line at preschool, and it really caught my attention. OH YES, that IS how I want to live- like no one else, for my family, my God, and leaving the world somehow better.
I especially need this type of encouragment for how I raise my children. I am sure I am not the only one who has gotten the raised eyebrows from other mom's at the park, or has certain family members who don't understand your way of child rearing. My choice is to spend time with my kids instead of fretting over every dust mite on my mantle. I do feel embarrased by my house when people stop by (Ahh, I would have at least swept the entryway if I knew you were coming!) and that their are crumbs and shoe piles lurking in corners. Partly because I do feel like I should clean as I go more than I do, and have the kids help with that task more than they do, but also because I am tempted to believe that my friends ways of running their household is somehow better than my own way.
I find this feeling of conforming to others a fascinating phenomonon while we at the same time, live in a nation that screams individuality! The oxy moron that somehow sneakily weaves its workings into our hearts, making us feel let down, exhausted and frankly, less than.
Here's a thought for today: think ahead to the end of your life (I know, I know a cliche, but so important!) and what you want it to look like. Then think ahead to when your children go off to college and get married, visualizing the life you want. What do you need to do TODAY to make that happen? At the end of our lives, we really want our families to be the main focus. We want our children to love us and be around when we're old. We want to know we've made some spec of a difference in the world. Don't try to fight your innate desire to love people to get lost in your desire to conform to everyone else. After all, if everyone else was thinking of their desire to love others as you are today, they would all want to be like you! Now there's a new status quo worth starting. So go on, the new status quo starts with you.