The fear of being irrelevant can be suffocating and stifling. In sobering moments of transparency, honest and noble souls among us may declare that the terror of purposelessness lingers in the dark crevices of their minds, where secret enemies reside. We live with a burning desire to matter; at times, that desire is enough to motivate us to participate in projects that we believe will give us longevity beyond our last breathe.
Many have lost themselves in rootless pursuits with the hope that somehow a list and legacy of accomplishments will give their lives meaning. Again, this is because we do not want to be rendered irrelevant, nor do we want to be viewed as unnecessary.
It is at this point, motivated by fear, that some engage in paradoxical behavior. I say paradoxical because in our desire to be relevant, we seek validation from external sources and, in that pursuit, it is possible to lose one’s self in a haze of conformity. In other words, the quest for relevance can lead to conforming to the expectations of persons who have no investment in your future. When this is done, one’s distinctiveness is lost and being irrelevant becomes a possibility.
Living life between your greatest hopes and people’s expectations can be a recipe for misery. Your spirit becomes weary from the tug-of-war between your longed-for aspirations and the limited imagination of feeble-minded people who live in the realm of mediocrity. When this is done, the joy that ignited life-giving dreams is lost because you become fearful of letting others down; the inner voice that pushes you to be your better self is drowned out by the many voices that tell you to live cautiously because the safe life is free of failure.
And of course, those who encourage the safe life offer a prescription for safety that has been developed from their own lackluster lives. Truthfully, there is nothing worse than heeding the advice of people who have never sought to mount wings of possibility and soar to unimaginable heights.
Living a life of relevance cannot just be about existing–something within you must dare to live. There will always be people who will try to hold you captive in their fears because they lacked the courage to engage life fully. Do not let those persons have the last word over your life. Do not let those persons put a stranglehold on your destiny.
Trust me, choosing to live can be risky business, but merely existing is the death that arrives before dying. Erwin McManus, the spiritual leader of Mosaic Church in Los Angeles, once wrote, “What a tragedy to breathe your last breath and to discover that your life was not only unfinished but perhaps never really even began.”
Today, I dare you to make every breath count. I dare you to reject agendas that have been heaped upon you by people who do not want you to rise above them. I dare you to assault your deepest fears with your greatest dreams. I dare you to live!