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Inspiration for Today’s Motivational: “May the Best Pet Win!”
In this episode, Rainbow Dash learns a lesson that we all have to learn as a part of growing in maturity and adulthood…and a lesson we will learn whether we want to or not as a part of growing up. Things we value above all else in our younger days will one day mean nothing to us, and things we hold in no esteem in our younger days will one day be things we’d give anything to have.
Rainbow thought she wanted a pet that exemplified athleticism, power, speed, and talent because those were all things she valued highly. But what she didn’t stop to realize was that there were things she herself valued much more: loyalty, perseverance, determination, and devotion. She “embodied” loyalty herself, after all. By fixating so much on traits that were purely physical and superficial, she ended up in a bad spot. It was only then that she learned that the things she really valued in a pet weren’t its physical traits but rather how faithful a companion it could be, especially when she needed those traits more than ever to get her out of her current situation.
It was Joni Mitchell who once said: “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone?” To supplement it, Thomas Paine wrote in The American Crisis, “What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.”
When I was younger and going through school, I went through a couple career choices. One of my earliest ones was I wanted to be a doctor. Why not? I was smart and bright enough to handle the coursework, and once I was a doctor I thought about how I could rake in the money and be free to satisfy all my pursuits. I’d even be doing something that helped other people for a living.
I ended up never being accepted into medical school and, in retrospect, I consider that a gift from God. Now that I finally have a full time job and career, I realize now that there are more important things in life than just being financially secure. Yes, I know if you’re coming from less-than-average economic circumstances, you probably don’t think much of that maxim. Neither did I at the time. I thought that one of the big parts of happiness and feeling “self-worth” was simply making enough money on my own to be completely self-sufficient without having to worry about how I’d pay the next bill. Yet I discovered soon after that having an amount of money doesn’t guarantee happiness and, more often than not, won’t end up making you happier at all after a couple months. Like I said in an earlier devotional, having more means simply leads to having more “wants”, and the true sources of my unhappiness about my life…lack of social contacts, feelings of personal worth, and not making a “lasting impact” on the world…were all still there.
Furthermore, I realized there were things I valued even more. I like having free time to pursue hobbies. I like getting into technical knowledge to solve problems but not necessarily having to work face-to-face with people all day (which is why this devotional is online… :P). And I liked working on Biology itself, but not medicine. I eventually realized that, but not until I was nearly down a career path to medicine. It was because at the time I thought the only “key ingredient” I needed both to be happy and secure was money. Only once I got older did I realize some things were more important and not “physical”.
One of the big tragedies of life is that we spend our youth wishing we were older and hating all of our time in high school or being restricted, only to look back and realize that was the best time of our lives. That there were many things we had as a child (energy, free time, the ability to pursue whatever we wanted, even the ability to take naps whenever we wanted :)) that we thought of as irrelevant or even annoying at the time but we wish we had now. Or maybe there were things we focused too much on long having a certain toy or being in a certain clique that we now realize was irrelevant. And generation after generation the same thing happens again. It’s not until we lose something or we stand a chance of losing it that we really start to see how much it’s worth to us.
All the more reason it’s important to take some time out every now and then and focus on what it is we value in life…what we spend the most of our time, talent, and energy on. And once we know that, think about whether or not those are things we truly wish to pursue or will make us happy in the long run, or if there’s something more important (whether it be a different hobby, occupation, more time devoted to family, charity, Church, or whatever) and then focus on what we realize will be of more “lasting value”.
I’ll close with Matthew 6:19-20, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.”
Suggested Prayer: “Lord God, thank you for whatever means you have granted to me to give me the freedom to choose which way my life, my thoughts, my talents, and my heart goes from day-to-day. Please grant me wisdom and prudence to discern what is truly of value in life and to me personally and will produce lasting fulfillment, happiness, and impact; and guide me to make appropriate decisions toward those values and not waste time on more ‘superficial’ things. Gratefully in Jesus’ Name, Amen.”