When you talk about your goals for the future, were they created out of a desire to get out of your current circumstance or because there is somewhere else you want to go? With the help of the Servant Leadership tools, we want you to create a There that you are excited to pursue instead of just as a means to escape your current reality.
There are instances where your Here can be truly untenable and you do just need to get out (like situations of abuse, for example). But most of the time, if you’re feeling like you need to leave your current situation, changing your circumstances will not change your internal reality.
We like to imagine that whatever that next threshold is that we have to cross is what will finally bring us happiness and fulfillment: When I graduate college I’ll have my life together. When I get a new job I’ll have the time to pursue that hobby. When I get married then I’ll be happy. When I move to a new house or have kids or whatever it may be. But the grass is always greener on the other side, and inevitably when we reach whatever we were reaching for it will be replaced by the next thing on the horizon.
That is why we need a Transcendent There. You will never be able to reach a Transcendent There, and so you can’t place your hope in it as something that will solve your problems once you get there. Instead, it’s a lifelong mission that helps bring purpose to your every day actions because you know where they are heading toward.
When you pursue a There that is motivated by a desire to escape your Here, you are being driven by discontentment. But when you are able to pursue a There that is motivated by a lifelong mission, it’s driven by passion and a desire to improve.
Oftentimes by trying to escape our Here, we are avoiding doing the hard but important work of self-improvement, assuming that our circumstances are the problem and not ourselves. Pursuing a Transcendent There is less about achieving and more about being, which forces us to grapple with our habits, beliefs, and actions that are not in line with what we say we value.
Breaking the Cycle
Now I recognize that to some I might have just made a Transcendent There sound too unappealing. What do you mean I have to deal with my problems? But while it will be uncomfortable in the moment, the good news is that it breaks the cycle of discontentment. Escaping your circumstances may help you feel better in the short-term, but it will always creep back up when you find the next thing that you think will satisfy you.
So what are you pursuing? Are you pursuing the next situation that will bring you happiness? Or are you pursuing a life of meaning centered on a transcendent mission? In the next article we will delve into how to create a Transcendent There to get you started on the Path of intentional living.
Gracie McBride is the Content and Systems Coordinator at The Crossroad.