The “Bare minimum”…

I get so irritated with the generation I was born into. Notice that I didn’t say “my generation” and that is purely because I do not claim this generation as my own. I’m convinced that I was born a few generations too late.

I get irritated at what has become socially acceptable in today’s world when it comes to being successful. I could look at my Facebook feed right now and probably find a handful of posts right off the bat where people think it’s funny or okay to do the bare minimum at life. Or I’ll come across the post of someone legitimately complaining about how their life is….as a result of the choices they fucking made! Now, don’t get me wrong…I laugh at some of these “meme’s” because let’s face it, they’re funny. But the sad part is that the majority of the millennials in today’s world can’t just see it as a joke and carry on. Many of these kids see this and think “Oh, most of the kids at school shared/retweeted this…so we’re all in consensus that it’s okay to do the bare minimum.” We get too stuck in the “It’s on the internet — so it must be true” mentality. Kind of like the people who re-post an article just because they read the headline…not realizing that it’s a satire article. But back to the main point…

In a world where America has the resources, technology, and opportunities it does — how dare you be anything other than great. Doing the bare minimum will only get you so far in life. And when all you do is the bare minimum, you end up being one of those people working at Burger King demanding $15/hour. Which, by the way, pisses your peer group off — you know, the people who actually busted their asses to get to where they are.

Now, I don’t argue that there are people with some serious problems that they have had happen to them in life. But I know people who have had the worst fortune in the world, and still chose to do everything to better themselves and their family. When life deals you a bad hand you have one of two choices — either go to your Facebook and bitch and moan about it and stay in your rut. Or…OR you could dust yourself off, take a minute, and back into the shit. Eric Thompson once said something that has stuck with me for a very long time: “If you fall down, try to land on your back…because if you can look up, you can get up”.

And that’s just a fucking fact folks.

Where we all get it wrong comes from technology and the lifestyle that we’re used to. As a culture, we are so used to having the world at our finger tips. All of the answers and solutions given to us instantaneously on a tiny screen. And because we are so used to that instant satisfaction, we tend to try to play the role of God in our own lives.

Now, for those of you preparing to say “how can you drop an F-Bomb and then talk about God” and it’s simple…because I can. Because my relationship with God is my own; but that’s a conversation for another time. And for my non-believing readers, just either continue reading and give what I’m about to say a chance…or shut up and go away.

I am a firm believer in the fact that God does things to try and talk to us or teach us a lesson. Often times we get so used to being in control that we start to play the role of God in our own lives and we sub-consciously start to idolize ourselves and our materiel items. That’s when he strikes. When we start to play God, he does something just to remind us who is really in control. For my military people, this is similar to when the basic training instructor decides to flip your bed, rip out your clothing drawers, or just smokes the shit out of you…why? Because he/she can and they’re the alpha just reminding you that you’re just a little bitch fish.

That’s not how God looks at us though. He loves all of us. But leave the whole “controlling destiny” thing up to him. Being 21 years old, in the military, with my own house, a good car, food in my fridge, bills paid — it’s so easy for me to feel like I am in control and that I must maintain that control. That’s why I get infuriated when I drive to work (which is a one lane highway) and a school bus pulls out in front of me. Or when other people become too incompetent at the things I find to be easy. Or the times when I get an absolute curve-ball thrown into my life; like when my pug Ceasar begins to have seizures (which are terrifying by the way) and the vet tells us that they can only adjust his medication so much before it’s time to make the decision that all pet owners dread to make. Or when you eat some bad chicken during lunch while you’re at work and wind up in the ICU at your local hospital; getting your stomach pumped, with two IV’s pumping you with antibiotics and pain killers, while the nurse shoves a catheter up you to get a urine sample because your kidneys aren’t functioning….yeah, that sucks.

When things like this happen to me, I don’t wallow in self-pity. Do I use normal defense mechanisms like blame or denial? Absolutely! But I don’t make it everyone else’s problem but my own. When these things happen to me, I look at them — sometimes as a test. But other times, I look at them as God forcing me to my knees. Making me rely on him and letting me know that he is in charge…not me. I use these trials and tribulations to propel me forward, make me stronger. What I DON’T do is use them as excuses for me to do the absolute bare minimum when it comes to anything — my job, my relationship, etc. The things that have forced me to my knees and have beaten me have made me stronger than I could ever imagine being a few years ago. Almost like a gang beat-down initiation except I only pretend that I’m a hood rat.

So, coming full circle here, I guess what I’m trying to tell you is 1. to stop making excuses. 2. Stop trying to have your hand of control in absolutely everything. And 3. use what hurts you to propel yourself forward and even, to help others one day possibly.

There’s a Japanese art called Kintsugi where they take glue mixed with gold dust, and use it to repair broken pieces of glass, pottery, and dishes. Might you let yourself become a piece of Kintsugi. One of my favorite pastors, Jeff Bethke, used this metaphor in a sermon to describe some of our “hidden wounds” and how Jesus wants to heal them. There was one line he used that absolutely melted my brain when he said it and that was “Sometimes, the places where we were broken that have been fixed become the most beautiful part about us”. Absolute meltdown in my mind…Why didn’t I think of that? I’m glad someone did though! Kind of like when you see ads for stuff on TV and you’re like….”I totally could have invented that” except on a bigger scale.

I know things are tough sometimes. There are some things that people have or are going through that I could never imagine…But stop making excuses for yourself and sharing memes to create some sort of confirmation bias to tell yourself that it’s okay to do the bare minimum. You never know…you may have some sort of knowledge within you that could seriously help others…By not sharing that, you’re being absolutely selfish. And by doing the bare minimum, you become less and less a functional member of today’s society…and that’s just aggravating for everyone.

Quit your bitchin’ and go do something with yourself!


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