Can you be okay (or even excited) with okay?
Most of our visions of life are utopian. A family without conflict, whining kids, or short-tempered parents. Schools where all children thrive, grow, and flourish. Neighborhoods where neighbors know and care for each other. A personal future full of health, financial security, and happiness.
The thing is, our world is not a utopia. Nothing goes fully the way we plan (or at least not for long). We experience brokenness in our relationships. We are frustrated in the pursuit of our plans. Our bodies break down. In short, we experience the world as it is, not as we imagine it.
This shape of things resonates well with Christian theology. God has created a perfect world, and that world included giving humans the choice to pursue evil. We did and perfection was destroyed. Brokenness has entered into every corner of life and reality. Yet the good that was there at the beginning has not been eradicated. And one day, at the return of Jesus, all that is wrong will be made right.
In the meantime, we are left with an important question–will we allow the frustration of our utopian visions to make us cynical or will we recognize the good in things and celebrate it wherever it is. Putting it another way, can we be okay with okay (or at times even excited about it)?
Here’s an example. A few weeks ago I did a triathlon. I trained for months to prepare for it. It was a struggle. I had to fight off my unhealthy habits (with varying levels of success) and a couple injuries. But I got ready. We went with some friends to the mountains for a couple days before the event and on the way up I felt a cold coming on. By the day of the race I could feel the rasping in my lungs. I thought I’d be okay, but less than 100 meters into a one mile swim I couldn’t breathe. I had to consider having them pull me out of the water. I fought through it, but the best I could do was a slow breast stroke. I was one of the last ones out of the water and when I finished my primary emotion was embarrassment.
So in that case, what do I do? Focus on the difficulty and how far short I fell of my goals or find satisfaction in the fact that I didn’t get up and I finished my first olympic triathlon?
As long as we live in this world where the kingdom of God is present but not complete, we will have to continually ask ourselves that question. Can we be okay with okay? Or will we wallow in the frustration and disappointment of how what is is less than what we imagined it could be?