It is so easy to look at those around us and see the mountaintop experiences people are having. It may even leave us feeling as though we are walking through the valley of their mountain. Maybe we think to ourselves, just look at those perfect mountain top views as we watch people experience what seems like a life filled with nothing but excitement. If we are not careful, it can be easy to get sucked into that way of thinking. Especially with social media being designed to show us everything we are missing out on. Heck, now they even have “social media influencers” that get paid to create content that persuades people to buy what they are buying, eat what they are eating, do what they are doing, and go where they are going. It can leave us feeling like we are missing out if we are not keeping up with whatever we see on social media.
The truth is sometimes the perspective of our life can be obscured because of the dirty lens through which we are looking through. It is easy to look at what those around us appear to be doing, or what milestones they appear to be reaching with the life they are living and think we are missing out on something that would make our life so much better.
This year, my family went to Alaska on a big family vacation. Once we returned home, I made a post on social media with a bunch of my favorite pictures I had taken throughout the week we were gone. Multiple friends messaged me after seeing my pictures asking the details of our trip, as they were interested in going to Alaska with their family as well. One message left me with my heart stirring and my mind thinking. A sweet friend that had messaged me said that this trip was a bucket list item for her. What she said was so simple, yet it left me thinking about the whole “bucket list” idea. In layman’s terms, a bucket list item is simply something that you feel like you “must” do before you die. Maybe it’s some fancy travel destination that you must check off your list, maybe it’s a fun adventure like skydiving, or maybe it is building that home of your dreams. The truth is, each of our bucket list items may look different, but the end goal is the same. For some unknown reason, we feel the need to accomplish these things for our lives to feel some sense of fulfillment. It is a perspective that places us on top of the mountain that we feel the need to achieve, instead of experiencing the view from the valley!
Now I am not here to tell you that you should not set goals and work towards achieving them. On the contrary, I absolutely believe God gave us this big, beautiful world to explore, and He intended for us to explore it. So set those goals, draw up those house plans, and do those things that make your heart burst with excitement! But what I want to sit on for one minute is the thought that just maybe our view of what we need to accomplish in this life could be mis-viewed because of the lens by which we are looking through. Happiness doesn’t come from the mountain top experiences we try to achieve, and it surely doesn’t come from seeing someone else’s life and thinking I wish my life looked like that. Sure, there are a lot of things that we can do in this life that may create temporary happiness. But after the experience is over or the dream home is built, we find ourselves searching for the next thing that will give us the same high as we experienced before. Somewhere along the way we feel like if we check off these bucket list items then we have somehow accomplished something that will in turn allow our lives to be better lived because we experienced something amazing that you only get to do “once in a lifetime”. The truth is, once God calls us home, the things we have done on this earth will no longer matter to us. We will not wake up on the other side of those pearly gates and think, I sure am glad I made it to Alaska to see those views! Live life and find excitement where you are, not where someone tells you that you should be. And most importantly don’t attempt to live your life through someone else’s lens!
The truth is, happiness is a journey, and it doesn’t end on the mountain top. Once you get to the top of the mountain you are climbing, the first thing that you will see are all the other mountains that are around you. And you know what? I bet they all look the same once you get there. So don’t be so focused on the mountaintop that you miss all the beautiful paths along the way. Love your life, and while doing so, when you clean those glasses through which you are looking, I bet you begin to see more clearly just how beautiful your mountain truly is!