Tuesday, January 7, 2014

This Is a Test


"This is a test. For the next sixty seconds, this station will conduct a test of the

Emergency Broadcast System. “This is only a test."

Life is a test.  Life gives tests.  Every day is a test or a test is presented.  Every day we fail or pass depending on the amount of preparation.  Tests are designed to see what we know and what we can do.  Tests ask only three questions:
  • ·      Are you prepared?
  • ·      Can you prove it?
  • ·      Are you ready for the next level?

Sometimes the test is, in itself, a form of preparation. 
  • ·      Can I endure? 
  • ·      Can I use my time well? 
  • ·      Can I be careful with my money?
  • ·      Can I wait? 
  • ·      Can I be productive while I’m waiting? 
  • ·      Can I be patient? 

It has been said it is wise to work as if someone were always watching.  Well, someone always is.  Even here, when I sit alone and write, someone is watching me.  Everyone wants to know this of me…and of you:
·      Will you do what you said you would do?
·      Are you dependable?
Maybe you’re in a test right now, waiting for things to happen. You’re not at the next level yet.  You’re not where you want to be.  I’m not.  So my test is to use my time and energy well, because at some point an opportunity will present itself and I will either be ready…or I won’t.
I am where I am in life as a result of all the tests I’ve passed and failed in life.  Things could be better now and they could also be worse, but 99% of my current life is a result of every single decision I have made regarding how to spend my time, my money, and how I’ve treated others.  The fact that I’m not in prison or homeless is the result of choices I’ve made.  So is the fact that I’m not independently wealthy or writing full time. 
I could have done better in life and I could have done worse.  This is not an opportunity to beat myself up nor is it a place to settle.  I want to move forward knowing I’ve done some things well and can do other things differently.  This one fact remains constant, however:

If I am not at the level I want to be at, physically, spiritually, mentally or emotionally, it is because I am not prepared.  If I want something different, I have to prepare.

This is not a condemnation.  Lack of preparation may be due to age, timing or making other choices, good or bad.  But dissatisfaction, in any area of life, requires different choices.   Or it requires complete acceptance that this is where one wants to and will be for the rest of life.  I’ll be honest.  I cannot accept every area of my life as it is right now.  This does not mean that I am not content.  It means that, agreeing with Grant Cardone in The 10X Rule, I have a moral obligation to better myself in every area of life.
·      To learn more.
·      To earn more money.
·      To write more.
·      To have healthy and happy relationships with the people I love.
·      To have a healthy and happy relationship with God.

All of those depend on what I do with my time now.  One day I will look back and say, “I have done my best and I am content with the choices I made.”  Or I will say, “I could have done more.  I could have tried harder.”  I have experienced the latter far too often.
This is not to say I will necessarily reach every single goal I have in life, though I certainly hope I will.  Nor is to say that I won’t make mistakes or have setbacks.  What I am saying is that when I look back one day, I will say, “I did my best.” 
Near the end of his life, Saint Paul did not say, “I have won the race,” but, “I have run the race.”  Life is a test, but it is not a competition against others.  I am competing with myself to see if I can do better than I have before.  St. Paul also said, “I have finished the course.”
I’m not ready to say that yet, but I think I’m on the right course.  I think everyone who is working to make improvements in any area of life is on the right course.  But I don’t think I’ve finished the course.  As Robert Frost wrote:
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

So there is a lot of work to do in every area of life.  I have miles to go.  The journey can be difficult and joyful at the same time.  There is joy simply from the forward motion.  I feel privileged that I have been given another day to Get Started and to Keep Going…because I want to pass this test.