Your Real vs. Your Ideal
This chapter and insight can be extremely liberating for you. The balancing act between these two spectrums can be quite testy, but the payoff is incredible. Let’s begin with the obvious. Life is filled with the REAL. 24/7 – 365 days a year, Life is raw! The every day details of marital strains, communication breakdowns, financial pressures, career demands, parenting pitfalls, soccer mom schedules, and changing personal dynamics can leave us feeling overwhelmed, fearful and sometimes helpless, or even hopeless. Today, as I sit in a coffee house in Greenville, South Carolina to write this chapter, the store is actively filling cup after cup of java, the stimulant of choice - even at 6:00 am. In the United States (my homeland), we thrive on building into our lives hustle and bustle, but we drink energy drinks to facilitate the pace of this demand. The energy drink industry is a billion-dollar-a-year industry. Why? We need these additives to give us the kick to get everything done today. We have all seen the various energy drinks at the grocery store and various convenience stores. In fact, we live in a world that demands the envelope of success be pushed to the maximum. I would venture to say that we often feel guilty if we have any down-time in our day. Weekends were once a time for rest, relaxation, reflection, and restoration. However, today, they are filled with travel, sports teams, hobbies, shopping, trips, and church demands. We would feel unproductive to burn a Saturday doing little to nothing with our to-do list activities. That is just where we are as a Culture.
Consequently, the effects are noticeable. We roll into Monday morning exhausted and weary from the weekend. What is the outcome? We feel overloaded physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and relationally. If we are completely honest with ourselves, we wish life were different and the enjoyment of life richer, purposeful, and refreshing. Together, we can begin to change the present to make way for a healthier future.
Contrasting the REAL, in walks Mr. and Mrs. IDEAL. They are sporting the perfect balance of marital satisfaction, communicative excellence, budgetary obedience, career fulfillment, parenting mastery, personal growth passion, and scheduling perfection. Mr. and Mrs. IDEAL are never out of sorts with time because they have arrived at the textbook mixture of life dynamics, charting a magnificent tapestry of relational health, debt elimination, career development, and personal growth.
I know what your thinking, ”I’m about to vomit, but let me punch him or her in the nose, first!”. Does Mr. and Mrs. IDEAL make you sick? They make everyone sick if we were gut-level honest! I can hear you saying to yourself, “No one can have that kind of life in today’s fast-paced, get-it-done world.” Is that thought echoed deep in your heart and soul? Your reservation with such a life is that it appears unrealistic and unattainable. Nonetheless, your attraction to such a life causes your mind to imagine how liberating this kind of blend could be. The internal tug-o-war of your REAL vs. your IDEAL rages every moment of your life’s passing. I know its true because I look into the eyes of people today and I see their frustration. It is very evident and tangible! I would heartily agree that the tension is constant and relentless, but let's just say that it is the target to shoot for as you move from your REAL to your IDEAL. On a side note, I am facing the same frustrations in my own world. We’re ALL in the same boat!
Now, let me give you a sentence to memorize that will bring you closer to the life you've dreamed of living. I believe this small understanding will begin to generate life and vitality into your ever-changing sphere. Here it is! First, break down the word, “ideal” into two components “I” and “deal”. What you recognize right off the bat is the “I”, a personal pronoun. This conjures up the belief that it is personal and possible. “I” puts you in the driver’s seat and empowers you to think about life in a different way than it exists today. It is liberating because it cuts away all the neighboring weights that you might feel are holding you back. Change is possible and probable because of “I”. Next, check out the second part of the word, “deal”, a verb. To “deal” represents action, intent, and initiative.It puts Motion to Notion. Did you catch that last phrase? Let me repeat it for emphasis. It puts Motion to Notion! Dealing is the key. However, also know that “deal” can be a noun as well.
Let me explain it this way. Many years ago, in the 1970’s, there was a successful TV show called “Let’s Make a Deal”. You may or may not be familiar with the show, but let me give you the punch line. Every contestant was given the option to trade up to something better than they currently had with him or her. For example, a contestant may have a deck of cards that the announcer would offer him or her $50 dollars for. The aspiring contestant would happily agree and now have a quick $50. However, the announcer would then offer a chance to trade up to a better outcome, a new kitchen, an exotic trip, or sports car. The announcer would say something like, “You can keep your $50 dollars or trade it for what’s behind Door # 1, Door # 2, or Door # 3. Hence, the game title, “Let’s Make a Deal”. It made for great entertainment because it was NOT always a trade up as many contestants found out. I watched contestant after contestant get a donkey, a wash tub, a junk car, or some other second-hand prize. Therefore, it was imperative for the contestant to choose wisely for the deal swap. You must do the same in life! Here how it looks: