Everyone wants to be great. It’s one of the hallmarks of humanity to disregard our limitations and reach for the stars. We reject our boundaries despite the fact most of us struggle to focus beyond 45 seconds at a time. We are walking contradictions who measure most of our days not by what we’ve done, but by what we have, yet we know we are meant for more.
We are tiny people, all striving to be great big giants in some small way. The women I’ve talked to mentioned fashion and gossip as two major pursuits, but also talked about sports, princess fantasies, wedding daydreams, aspirations of prom queen, pride in running the perfect home, and feeling a drive to be the expert in their arena. For the boys and men I know, we invest our energy into conquering video games, winning at sports, rising in our careers, attracting women, raising our kids, or sacrificing as husbands. It’s all done so we can experience the momentary highs of transcendence from time to time.
Everyone pursues the goal of greatness in different ways, but the desire itself is something I think we all share. Maybe the energy we invest in these dead end endeavors is the result of humanity striving to grasp something we once knew. Maybe this yearning is an echo left in our hearts from when we were cast in the image of God. Maybe we feel the memory of His glory in our bones, and we yearn to embrace it again. As Ecclesiastes puts it, God has put eternity into the hearts of men. We want who we are to last.
As I pour out those words I can feel more than see, an enemy boiling up from within. It’s easy for me to intermingle and confuse striving for greatness, with the prideful idea that I’m deserving of greatness. The two ideas are so closely intertwined in my heart I’m unable to consider one without the other. Can I strive to be great, without seeking to exalt myself?
What do you think? How do you strive for greatness in your life? Is there a difference between living in pride and aiming for the stars? Can a person live faithfully without attempting to seek the highest goals? Is there scripture or other wisdom that informs your thoughts on the subject?
As raw as the idea is right now, I find the distinction between living in pride and aspiring to greatness important, even if I can’t put a finger on exactly why… yet.