“We become that which we love.” ― Saint Bridget
For too long, society has defined the good life in terms of physical possessions. We have been told happiness is found in big houses, new cars, fashionable clothing, and full closets. As a result, we spend much of our lives pursuing possessions seeking this promised happiness in them.
But fullness of life is not found in the things we possess. Consider for just a moment the foolishness of defining the good life in terms of physical possessions:
Possessions often ebb and flow. As recent years have proven, financial success is often at the mercy of a national economy and increasingly, a world economy. When the economy takes a downturn (as it always does), so must the good life.
Possessions are often arbitrary. Not always, but often, the amount of possessions we own is a product of our environment. Those who grow up in a first-world country have a greater advantage than those who grow up in a third-world country. Even within those individual countries, some will inherit large sums of money and personal goods from their parents, others will not. Either way, using such an arbitrary system to define the potential for happiness is unwise on almost every level.
Possessions never satisfy our greatest needs. Possessions never fully satisfy the inmost desires of our soul. They never have. And they are not about to start. In fact, most of the time, they distract us from the very things that do bring our lives fulfillment.
Possessions are never enough. I have met people with more physical possessions than they could ever need and yet, they still desire more. Those who define the good life in terms of wealth and possessions will never find it. You can never find enough happiness in things that were never designed to provide it.
But our lives are not defined by the things we possess, our lives are defined by the things we pursue.
It is not our possessions, but our pursuits that bring definition to our lives. Consider the reality that what we desire most influences nearly everything about us: how we spend our money, our time, our energy. It provides motivation for our day. It dominates our thinking. It defines our view of success.
This is good news. No matter the current circumstances of our lives, we can choose to pursue anything we desire. We can define our lives by our decisions each morning. And those who choose to pursue things of lasting value and significance can find lasting fulfillment and purpose regardless of how much they possess.
So, by all means possible, choose your pursuits wisely. Pursue beauty, faith, hope, love, justice, significance, and contribution. Pursue opportunity to improve this world for somebody else. And realize again our lives are too valuable to waste chasing possessions.