Re-thinking my own ambitions…

This morning, something happened that took me back to my childhood, and a specific vision that I had for my life. A better word would be ‘ambition.’

I would tell you what it was, but I can also see that doing justice to the specifics would make it another 2000-plus-word-post, and I am not sure that we need too many more of those here at the theomusicology blog. There is also the fact that there are the feelings of others to consider, so self-disclosure must always be judicious – even (and in some ways, especially) in ministry.

Because that is part of my point: you say someting in one sentence, and sometimes everything a reader or hearer needs to know is actually contained in that sentence. But there are many instances where a seemingly-simple sentence is just not enough to convey the actuality of the reality that is being expressed.

Going back twenty-three years in my head to the time and place where I first came up with this grand dream of mine was an interesting and complicated experience – because I knew that I was about to question something that has been fundamental to my own sense of identity. However, having reflected thus, I have now concluded that this ambition – which I have always seen as something positive, and always shared as something positive – it may have SOUNDED really positive – but it was, alas, somewhat misplaced as an ultimate ambition.

And the reason why? I did not understand what fulfilling that ambition – the way I worded it – would mean. And there were certain things about myself that I did not know – and could not have known unless I was told by my parents. As it happens, on this occasion they lacked the perspicacity to be able to tell me, so that took care of that.

As such, I had no way of knowing back then that this particular ambition – worded the way it was – would in fact be more destructive than constructive to me personally. It has shaped many of my thoughts and actions, affected my judgement and my decision-making, and underpinned the ways that I have tried to present myself to the world. Yet, there were so many times when I could not keep up with this very ambition, and I look back and realise that some part of me has always wondered if this was what I really was supposed to be chasing.

And now I realise what I have been doing. Without ever meaning to, I effectively put the cart before the horse, and then tried to pull it myself. I am not the first person to do that. I fear that I will not be the last. But I have paid a very serious price for doing this.

And yet, God knew that I had mispitched conceptually in that area, but I guess He also knew that it would take a unique combination of both time and circumstance to understand that this is what I had done – and accept it – and make a change.

There are many of us who end up doing things that are right and good for reasons that are really not in any way as right and good as would be ideal. Interestingly, one of my greatest spiritual ambitions has always clashed with this particular personal ambition. Today I have begun the process of completely re-wording this same ambition, and in so doing, rewiring my own thinking and processing with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Whoever you are, whatever you believe, whatever you desire – if you have never taken the time to really think about whether your personal ambitions really are the right ones for you – then please do take a moment to do so; it could save you a great deal of very precious time…

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