One of the things I’ve always wondered about and despised because of its very nature is the fact that human beings are utterly incapable of being happy where they are at.
Our memory is so short that we forget how blessed we really are.
As soon as we make a positive change in our lives, whether it is forced upon us by hitting rock bottom or by employing extreme discipline, it isn’t long before we despise our new situation because of the discomfort it brings. We begin to long for our old situation, no matter how miserable we were overall.
I see this when people finally get out of a bad romantic relationship they were stuck in for months and years. Unless they hop into a new relationship immediately to escape from acknowledging the reality of the situation (sadly this is more common than the reverse), people have to deal with the pain of loss. They have to learn to live without their idol of worship – in this case, a relationship that temporarily fills a void.
They have to look themselves in the mirror.
It happens to recovering addicts who, sometimes by the skin of their teeth, manage to escape a dangerous and despicable existence and are forced to face the rigors of sober living. After a few lonely, less than stimulating evenings they start missing the good ol’ days when things were more exciting.
Prisoners long to get out of jail, and when they finally do, often consciously or subconsciously arrange it so that they go back in.
Of course, we know that the Israelites grumbled for forty years after their Lord brought them out of slavery in Egypt. They yearned for the security of being under the Pharaoh’s oppression [for fun, try replacing “Pharaoh” with “boss” and oppression with “paycheck”].
My only logical guess for why people respond this way is because they fear what they do not know.
It’s hard to leave the “stable” job you hate for the “risky” business opportunity you’ve always dreamt about, knowing you have a family to provide for.
Unfortunately, this leads to being unfulfilled and completely mediocre.
The trick, then, is learning how to deal with a life of continuous, gut-wrenching uncertainty.
It’s not about being more organized, harder working, or knowledgeable.
It’s about developing a capacity for faith. Trusting in a God that provides. It’s Believing in your ability to live with yourself, with or without anybody else’s help, no matter what the situation.
It’s about constantly adapting to change: trusting in your ability to create value, no matter what the market says.
That which you have left after all your advantages have been taken away from you matters most of all.