One Friday afternoon I stumbled on a company podcast whilst trying to find a productive way to end the working week. What piqued my interest was that it was a conversation between seniors about their leadership trajectories. I listened with interest as I noted the degree of calculation and design which had contributed to their impressive accomplishments. Although fortuitous opportunities had arisen, they were usually the result of a shrewd strategy. None of this surprised me, but I was puzzled by the unspoken emptiness which permeated their conversation. As if reaching the pinnacle of success was ultimately meaningless.
Later when I reflected on the podcast, I realised how much of our lives are spent pursuing dreams which we believe will bring fulfilment. When we first set off on life’s adventure, we don’t question whether our goals will bring lasting happiness. We simply assume it, blissfully ignorant that time will change us and our perspective. In some cultures, wise elders are consulted before important decisions are made, but modern society is increasingly dismissive of august traditions. We now place greater reliance on social influencers, life coaches or business gurus to show us the way. But it’s not just the impetuousness of youth which calls for wisdom, but people of all ages who are vulnerable to the ephemeral charms of a superficial world.
We should question the authenticity and credentials of our guides. Can anyone really know what’s best for us when they don’t know us? Even loved ones only know the parts we choose to reveal. And as we’re constantly changing and evolving, what pleases us today may frustrate us tomorrow. Anyone who has witnessed the excitement of children ripping open presents on Christmas morning will bear testament to how often they’re tossed aside before sundown. And is there a sadder sight in January than discarded Christmas trees lying forlorn on the roadside? Days earlier they glittered majestically, adorned with baubles and trinkets as a symbol of the season of goodwill.
I take my steer from the wise men in the Christmas story. They followed the Star of Bethlehem because they were convinced it would lead them to Jesus. Faith was at the core of their conviction. They believed God was guiding them and they didn’t need to chart a course to navigate their way. They trusted God and their faith was vindicated. Until recently, my life was the product of my choices. But unexpected events turned my world upside down and I made a conscious decision to rely entirely on God’s guidance. I was determined to put my faith into action. I had spent almost fifty years pursuing paths I’d been conditioned to pursue and nothing had satisfied me for long. Now I wanted to see where God would lead me. Although it’s early days, I’ve already noticed a resurgence of the spirit of audacity which once drove me. God has woken the sleeping lion and who knows where it will lead!
Do you long for a resurgence of hope or audacity in your life? Has time eroded the dreams you once had? Perhaps you’re still hungry for another shot at the big time? If so, step forward and follow the star within. God will never let you down.