Run Faster, Work Harder, Be Smarter
How’s your life going? Does it sometimes feel like you’re Wile E. Coyote in the Road Runner cartoons? The poor guy just can’t win. No matter what approach he takes, no matter how sophisticated the apparatus he employs, he never succeeds in his desire to capture and eat that pesky bird!
The problem is Catch-22.
Mr. Coyote is stuck inside a paradox. His avian nemesis is much faster than he, and —because that’s not difficult enough by itself— smarter than he looks. In Roughing It, Mark Twain describes a coyote as “a living, breathing allegory of Want, He is always hungry.” In other words, there is no way Wile E. can win; he has no choice but to continue chasing the Road Runner. He cannot do otherwise. Those are the “rules” he is forced to live by ... a Catch-22 situation. So, in an attempt to overcome his obvious limitations, Mr. Coyote applies an assortment of tools. But, as we well know, those only end up hurting him, not the bird.
We, however, are not cartoon characters.
We have a choice. We always have a choice. Unlike the coyote and the road runner, we are not enslaved to our natures. Still, it may seem that we, too, are stuck in a Catch-22 situation. Each day, we apply ourselves to the often crazy and crippling “rules” of this life; only to find that, even when we win, there is a serious downside. And when we lose? It can feel like we have no worth at all.
But there is a way out.
In this week’s Exodus passage, we meet two extraordinary people: Shiphrah and Puah. Despite being commanded by Pharaoh to kill all the male Hebrew babies, these two midwives risked their lives to do what was right. Day in and day out, they helped deliver babies, regardless of gender. Each delivery, by itself was an event. But when you aggregate them, they become a legacy. Today, they are recognized as heroes; people who stood in the gap to protect the defenseless.
This week’s Romans passage exhorts us: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God.” That’s what Shiphrah and Puah did. They refused to be conformed to their world, finding a way to serve God in the midst of a seeming impossible situation.
It often comes as a shock to people that their day-in-day-out activity is their life. It might not seem like it in the moment, but what you do with each day accumulates into your entire life. All of us long for things that are not part of our every day lives —that's why many of us have bucket lists— but when all is totaled up, it is what we actually do, not what we long for, that becomes our life.
After all, a tapestry is, at its most basic, a bunch of threads.
You don’t have to be stuck in a Catch-22. You actually can make your life have meaning well beyond what this world would have you believe. Take some time each day to spend with God; renew your mind. It is the way to ensure you no longer conform to the Catch-22 rules of this world. Remember, what we do each day becomes our life. How we live each day becomes our legacy.
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Michael Hyatt, an author, former publisher has a book out that speaks just to this topic if you are looking for more help in creating a Focus full life. Free to Focus is the book available at amazon.com.