Last week a good friend of mine told me, you’ve finally “MADE IT!” after learning that I bought a nice home. It made me laugh a little bit and we had a short conversation that followed. I hit the typical catch phrases about “staying hungry” and why “materialism” is a slippery slope. His comment and the following conversation really got me thinking. After all, we hear it all the time; this person has “MADE IT,” they are doing great things and are headed straight to the top.
So I started doing a little soul searching and started asking myself is there such a thing as “making it,” or do we just give that label to individuals we feel are in a position of desirable wealth or notoriety? For me, I don’t think you ever really “make it.” I believe that those on the path to “making it” and lifelong success don’t even think that way. They are focused on daily progress and steady personal and professional improvement. I also feel that those who believe that they have “made it,” better enjoy it, because it won’t last long.
What if you own several beautiful homes, a fleet of cars, a private jet, and several successful businesses? Now, have you made it? One of my favorite pastors is a man named Miles McPhereson. He said something very profound in one of his sermons that I will never forget. He said, “Money does not change you, it amplifies who you already were.” I think there is an overly negative sentiment that comes from people regarding money and those who have it. That being said, materialism and keeping up with the joneses can be one of the more dangerous and destructive things we can all fall into. The problem with materialism and putting our value in things is that it creates a very false sense of security; it could all be gone tomorrow. I love reading Job 1:21 in the bible. After Job was stripped of his family and his wealth he said this; “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will return. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.” I try to remember old Job and how rock solid his faith was and what his values were, when I have financial concerns and fear.
What if our idea of “making it” had nothing to do with money or fancy things?!? What if our idea of “making it” had everything to do with our thinking and way of life? What if “making it” meant treating others with love and respect and conquering our fears? What if “making it” meant defeating a long time nemesis like over eating, swearing, or mending a troubled relationship? How about being able to control our tempers or say that we are sorry. What if we learned to take responsibility for our actions? What if “making it” meant we learned to put others needs in front of our own? You see, these are truly the pillars of what I believe “making it” is really all about. We have control over these things. I try not to spend too much time worrying and obsessing over things I cannot control.
I don’t know how many days, hours and minutes I have left on this earth. I can tell you that I am thankful for the time I have already been given and am optimistic and hopeful that I will be blessed with more. There are just too many things I haven’t done yet and too many places I have not seen. I’m confident that if I keep working at it day in and day out and focusing more on the areas of my life that need improvement and trying to have a positive impact on my family, this country and those around me. Maybe, just maybe in my final hour I will be able to say, “I MADE IT.”