“Leaving the world” means setting aside all of that which distracts us from focusing on God. For some that sounds dreary and dull (what, just reading scriptures and singing hymns?). They believe the world is exciting and vibrant.
But consider that maybe we have that reversed.
Focusing on the world is exhausting. The world is hounding you with so many unnecessary expectations and demands.
You may find yourself:
- fixated with fashion or physical appearance;
- preoccupied with the look of a house and yard;
- needing to be seen as “successful,” especially on social media, in your business and personal life;
- driven to possess the next best thing either in technology, or vehicles, or housing, or vacations;
- consumed with a desire to be popular and recognized as part of the “right” group.
That’s exhausting. And it’s dreary and dull, trying to keep up with the world’s changing trends.
Keeping the world “happy” is as tedious as reasoning with a toddler having a tantrum. What they want changes frequently, and they’re never satisfied for long.
Now think about what your life would be like without that pressure to impress the world.
Really think about it: no demands, no expectations, no guilt or shame for not being “good enough yet,” and no fretting about what someone will think—
Doesn’t that make you feel like it’s the first day of summer vacation when you’re in high school? Remember that feeling? No more assignments, no more demands, no more busy work to earn a label of “success” or “failure.” (I realize that as a high school teacher I’m condemning myself here a little, but teachers probably rejoice at the end of the school year more than students do.)
Instead, you feel that release, that sudden joy and lightness of realizing you get to do what you feel you should. Explore, work, play, sleep—you can just enjoy the world.
That’s what God wants for us. Focusing on Him is summer vacation, while being obsessed with the world is the third week of a gray, cold February with no holidays in sight.
Ask Him what “summer vacation” and focusing on Him looks like for you. It will be different for everyone. For me, this month, it’s focusing on my family, writing new books, studying ideas I’ve always wanted to, and preparing for the future. Next month may be different. And I eagerly look forward to it.
Building Zion is all about finding your purpose and leaving the world behind. You won’t miss the world, and what’s more, the world will not miss you. (Because it doesn’t care about you and it never has.)
2 thoughts on “Leave the world and find your purpose; Ask Him”
I love this post so much! Especially the first sentence! “‘Leaving the world’ means setting aside all of that which distracts us from focusing on God.” Yes! So much yes!
The second sentence: “For some that sounds dreary and dull (what, just reading scriptures and singing hymns?).” Guess what I was doing this afternoon? I was listening to the Tabernacle Choir and doing family history work on the computer. Sometimes I sang with the choir. So this sentence describes pretty well what I was doing this afternoon. But no, I wasn’t just reading scriptures and singing hymns. And it’s a rare afternoon that I can devote so much time to family history work.
You describe the feeling of release you get when you start following God’s expectations rather than the world’s, or even your own. I remember when I really started internalizing God’s expectations for me vs. my own expectations. It really was/is a relief! It was not possible to fulfill what I expected of myself. But it is possible to fulfill what God wants me to do.
On “the world will not miss you” I think that’s true too. I fell into a worldly trap for about a month in an online game. You join a team and I was so devoted my teammates took notice and sent me little benefits now and then. So I felt a sense of camaraderie. But it was so shallow. There was no getting to know each other in real life, just a little bit in the game which is played solo, so not even really with your teammates. Even so, I knew when I downloaded the game it was not what I really needed to do. So I knew there would be an end to it. It was costly for me! I played the game so much, with hands that I already needed to be careful with so I can play the organ once a month. But my hands hurt so much it has cost me months of playing the organ. I probably could have gone back to playing the organ but I decided that I needed to work with a doctor to get my hands better (a pre-existing condition). And that is a slow scary process. I am sure when my teammates noticed that I quit playing they wondered for 5 seconds what happened and then kicked me off the team. So there is my little story of the world will not miss you.
I listened to TabCats and read Conference talks yesterday, too, and enjoyed and relaxed in every moment of it! Your story is absolutely spot on with what I think so many people are dealing with–shallow connections. As a young mom I was obsessed with decorating my house, really wanting a showplace. But with many small children and an even smaller budget, it was impossible. I lamented for years that my house looked shabby, and I spent hours watching HGTV (remember when it was about decorating your house?) and reading magazines, all for that which was of no worth. I finally realized no one would ever see my house, or ever care, and letting go of that was a huge relief.
Funny how living the gospel really is a lot easier, yet the world tries to make it seem misery.