As a young child, I asked why the water on our property was so unlike the lakes which we went to and played in during the summer. I was told that the pond on our property had no inlet or outlet. It was what they called “stagnant”. It was a marsh, devoid of life and unfit for us to use. Very little life existed there and the species that did were not the most desirable.
As I matured in life, I became aware that one of life’s choices we most need to avoid is personal stagnation. Poverty can be overcome, ill health can be endured if the mind is strong and time eliminates most personal hurts and misfortunes. But stagnation destroys, makes happiness impossible, ravages thought, intelligence and creativity. The pond that became a salty marsh, devoid of life, becomes a picture of a life where growth and changed has stopped. When motion ceases, there is desolation. Our mental, physical and spiritual well beings are dependent on growth. This progress is not an extravagance, but a necessity. The person who stands still is really going backward.
As babies, we are created for growth, expansion, development. We were born to grow, to reach and develop continually.
But this, we can say, is philosophy and philosophy is less painful than reality. But I might venture to say that almost every one of us has chosen at one point or another in our lives to stagnate to some degree. We may stay at a job long after development, learning and enjoyment have ceases. Words such as “security”, “tenure” and “pay scale” keep us where we don’t want to be, as the words “fulfillment”, “happiness” and “achievement” slide hopelessly into our past.
We obtain a high school or college degree and then cease to pursue formal learning altogether. We then realize that it was not in the objective that we found joy but in the pursuit of learning.
Think about your happiness; recall its place in your everyday activity, in business, in marriage, and in the raising of children. Soon, you will began to discover that progress and development, challenge and struggle, have been synonymous with happiness.
It is in the continued motion, learning, finding and expanding that we grow and prosper. It is in growing, minute by minute, day by day, year by year, that we develop our potential as human beings, as God’s creations, catching the scent of what we might become so that we reap the rewards of a life well lived.
We can fail at what we strive for, but we must not fail to strive once we have reached a plateau in our lives. We must look for more lofty places to conquer, until, as life’s journey ends, we find ourselves at the highest level of our dreams.
Pastor Hans Lillejord