The morning dawned overcast and cool.  That “marine layer” our meteorologists love to chat about lingered over the town. I stepped outside for some fresh air therapy. I didn’t have time to run far and I didn’t want to run fast. I just wanted to meander, with the help of my Garmin, of course.

I turned down a gravel alley and started moving.  Birds chorused above me. Irises waved at me. The air, heavy with the scent of growing things, filled my lungs. I found myself praying for those I know who live in difficult circumstances.  None of my acquaintances lacks for any material goods; it’s the emotional stuff.  That’s the gunk that weighs us down. Relationships. Discouragement and depression.

As I pounded along, I considered how we never think we’re good enough. Ladies, we’re never pretty enough. Guys, I have no idea what you struggle with. Maybe you don’t think you’re masculine enough?  Strong enough? Moms compare themselves to other “perfect” moms, the glamorous ones with perfect hair and nails and beautiful, well-behaved children.

It’s time to put all that down.  People will always have expectations of us.  The question is, what will we do about it? Are any of them realistic or helpful? I’ve spent most of my life trying to keep people happy. Yes, “blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5), right? And there is a time to work at peace. But it requires discernment to know when it’s time to move on and be free.

As I approached my driveway again, panting and weary, I considered the great destiny God has planned for each of us.  Will we embrace it, or let others define how we live?

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