“Do what you gotta do.” This is a phrase we all have heard. Whether it be from a coach, parent or friend, it implies that we are all different and there is no one way of doing something. But how often do we actually do something the way we need to? In today’s society, it is so easy to get wrapped up in what everyone else is doing. We see how awesome everyone else’s life is on social media, how people are climbing mountains, swimming with dolphins and getting married to their hubby in what seems a perfect world. We start to compare different facets of our life to others, wondering how people can make good money, drive a nice car, be more athletic and have great relationships all a while we are driving munching on potato chips in a roached out 99 Dodge Neon listening to a podcast on how to score a perfect spouse. It seems everyone else is at the lake floating on tubes sipping Pina Coladas with Ray-Bans on while we are drowning in the nasty green algae waters of Lake Winnebago.
When we find ourselves at this point, we start to look outward for a remedy. We start to think those other people have something we don’t. It becomes a slippery slope as we start to compromise values we want to believe are right, but don’t see it being play out around us. Deep down we know the things others are doing are unhealthy and down a path to destruction, yet start to believe others know more than our innate values.
One morning when I was in Bend, OR for a training camp I was thinking about others and speculating certain things they may be doing and how happy they seemed. As I sat there brushing my teeth had the thought, "Why can't I do that?" I mean, some of it could turn bad, but not for me. I mean look at all these other people that look happy, that’s gotta count for something, right? As I was brushing my teeth thinking about this God just asked me, "if they jumped off a bridge, would you?" I just stopped brushing my teeth and looked at myself in the mirror, realizing how my bargaining was throwing my leg over the guardrail to huck it off the bridge. I saw the quick burst of exhilaration only to be followed by a brutal hit at the bottom. We hear the screams, but are they of excitement or fear? Sometimes we think we can survive the fall and walk away with minimal damage, maybe a few broken bones, but what happens when we don’t?
As I sat there in the bathroom with my toothbrush hanging from my mouth, the words I had been reading the past couple days in Ephesians 2 started to come alive. It talks about how we used to partake in this sort of wild reckless living "gratifying the desires of the flesh". We start to think we are something less, possess less, and are willing to throw it all away in hopes of gaining something more.
However it talks about in Ephesians how we not only don’t have to jump, but there is something better in store for us. It’s common in today’s society to talk about heaven as some place we can earn our way into after death if we are good people. Unfortunately, that is not the case, and thank goodness. What it says right in Ephesians 2 is that it don’t matter what you’ve done or what anyone else in your life has or hasn’t done, it’s all about what Jesus has done. Better than this, we don’t have to wait! It says in verse 6 that “God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” meaning we don’t have to wait. Jesus didn’t come to get us into heaven, he came to get heaven into us. Because of this truth, we don't have to go searching for the next best thing because we already got it. We no longer have to go with the crowd but can do what we gotta do.