Andy Stanley - Born To Run
So my journey when it comes to learning to be content actually started where most of yours started that you can remember, mine started in high school. I went to a high school that started in the eighth grade, it was eight through twelfth, not ninth through twelfth, so we were all about this tall, okay? And so the eighth through twelfth grade, long time ago, and I quickly, and everybody's looking for their group and their deal and I realized real quickly that even though I was a good kickball player in our cul-de-sac, I was not an athlete in our high school. So the athletes weren't gonna be my deal, and because they weren't my deal and they intimidated me, I did not like athletes.
And then I realized I'm not smart, my parents told me I was smart, but then in high school I realized my parents lied, I am not smart. I did not make good grades and I studied hard and everybody would be finished studying, I'm like, wait a minute, we're not done are we? And they're done, and so I'm making Cs, so I wasn't smart, so I didn't like smart kids because I didn't relate to them. I could not play a wind instrument, okay, if you cannot play a wind instrument in high school you cannot be in the... band. The band, that's right. And my parents didn't want me to play the drums, so I didn't like the band people, they didn't like me. So we weren't rich, so I didn't like the rich people.
So basically at high school I didn't really like anybody because I wasn't like anybody, and you want to be liked by people you're like and even if you're not like them you'd like to be liked by them so you try to be like them, but if you're not like them, you're not like them. And so this is my first memories of feeling like an outsider. And the thing was, I came up with an excuse like all of us do, right, we manufacture reasons not to like people so that we feel better about ourselves because it's easier to come up with five reasons why I don't like them than to admit the fact that, well, I'm just not smart, I'm not athletic, I'm not rich, I can't play a wind instrument, I don't really fit in anywhere.
And then in the eleventh grade I had my big break, and I actually am feeling better about just kind of getting this off my chest, I think I've been carrying this a long time. In the eleventh grade I had my big break because our whole class, the eleventh, junior class, was supposed to do some kind of field day thing, I don't even remember, you kind of blank those things out 'cause they're terrible, and it rained, and so they put all of the eleventh graders in the cafeteria with no teachers because they're out there drinking coffee and all the eleventh graders are in there for this half the day, or not half the day, but couple of periods because this thing got rained out.
And so I'm sitting there and we're all looking around, and so it's a typical cafeteria, there's a stage, and there was a grand piano on the stage and I had learned to play the guitar, I taught myself to play the guitar and then I taught myself to play the guitar on the piano. Does anybody know what it means to learn to play the guitar on the piano? Let me explain it to you, you don't know how to read music and you can't play the melodies, but you just, you're nodding, you know what I'm talking about? So you play an octave in the left hand that's like boom, boom, boom, that's like the bass, and then you just play chords with your right hand. And I learned to play, I could play any song that I'd heard, I had a great ear, I didn't know how to read music.
So I got up on the stage and I just started playing the piano and of course it's loud and people came up around the piano, people I didn't know, 'cause I didn't know anybody because I didn't like anybody and nobody liked me. And it was mostly girls, so this was like a win, right? And so they would ask for a song and I could pretty much play anything, no well, but well enough that everybody'd sing it, and suddenly I found my place in this world, right, because there was something I was good at and I was liked and I liked being liked and so I graduated from high school, I decided this is what I'm gonna do the rest of my life 'cause I liked it and people liked it that I liked it and I was good and I was getting better, and so I decided to major in music. Went to Georgia State University and I decided to be a music major, and so I did that first semester and second semester where you do all the stuff you have to do and then I was gonna get into the core, and so I went to music department and I thought I'm gonna find somebody, maybe I'll try out to be a pianist in the jazz band.
Now, understand, I could not read music, but that wasn't gonna get in my way 'cause I could just listen to it, learn it, and fake it, that was gonna be my plan. And if you know anything about music, you know how far that would've gotten me majoring in music at a university. So I'll never forget this, I was on the, I don't know what the school's like now, it was a few years ago, so I'm in the basement and there all have these practice rooms with all these little studios with pianos. And I'm walking down the hall trying to find somebody to talk to and I hear this jazz piano music that's like otherworldly, like I'm listening, it's echoing down the halls and I'm thinking, what in the world, and I was hoping it was a recording and there wasn't actually somebody at Georgia State University that could play that well unless perhaps it was a teacher.
And I go around the corner and there's some students standing out in the hall looking in this little practice room, and I get behind them and I look in and there's the room is full, and there's a grand piano in there and there's a guy in there, I found out later his name is Jerome, and he was like, it was like butter, it was like magic, it was like I think I will change my major. And I did, because I could never be that good, and if I'm never gonna be that good I'm never gonna make it and it's just not gonna go well for me.
So, the moral of the story is, and you know this and I'm just gonna put some words around some stuff that you already know. There is always somebody with more er, right? You know this, right? There is always someone who is richer, who is skinnier, who is smarter, who is hipper, who is more talenteder, or their girlfriend is prettier, or their boyfriend is cuter, or their job is betterer, I mean everywhere you look, whatever you want to do, whatever you want to be good at, whatever you think you're good at and whatever you think you've accomplished, there's always somebody with more er. So what we do, or what I did, I shouldn't put this on you, maybe it's just me. What I did is I looked around for people with less er. So because when I was with people that had less er than my er, then I felt superiorer, and we all want to feel like we kinda got it going on and we want to feel a little bit superior so this becomes a dynamic that we live with, and I don't think it ever goes away.
And then there's some of us, and this isn't me so much, or maybe it is, but I don't know if I want to go this far in public confession, there's some of us that don't even want to be an er, we want to be an est, we want to be the richest, I want to be the smartest, you want to be the healthiest, you want to be the cutest, you want to be the skinniest, you want to be the prettiest, you want to be the retweetedest, okay, you want an est, right? So the moral of the story is there's just no win, there's never ever any win in comparison. You may have heard this before, you may have heard me say this before, there's just no win in comparison. In fact, comparison is what puts the dis in discontentment. And discontentment fueled by comparison, as we're gonna see in a few minutes and as all of us already have a story, this isn't new information, discontentment fueled by comparison is actually very dangerous.
Okay, some of you have consumer debt because you stared at somebody else's lifestyle for too long, didn't you? Some of you have consumer debt because you stared at what somebody else drives for too long. Some of you have consumer debt because you visited their house, you should've never visited their house because when you went back to your house you kinda walked around like this, like man, these eight foot ceilings, I feel like they're coming down on me, I need 10 or 12 foot ceilings and you went out and got yourself another mortgage and now you got all this debt. And you hate it, I mean we all hate debt, debt's just the worst thing to have to live with that just seeps into all of our relationships, money is kind of weird in that way, money becomes emotional when you owe money.
You've learned that, we've all learned that as adults. But unfortunately, you've lived long enough to experience what happens when you stare at what other people have that you don't have, it becomes very dangerous, it becomes dangerous relationally it becomes dangerous, I mean some of you are dieting yourself to death, some of you are working yourself to death, some of you are studying yourself to death, and what's driving you, you tell yourself, oh, I'm just trying to maximize my potential. That's a good thing to maximize your potential, but unfortunately we're trying to maximize somebody else's potential that doesn't even know we're competing with them and oftentimes we're killing ourselves financially, relationally, emotionally, it goes on and on and on, and it's because we live in a world, obviously, where we know what everybody else has, and we know what everybody else drives. And then it gets really weird relationally, like I experienced in high school and with a couple of groups of people or types of people I've really struggled my whole life and I'm old enough and mature enough to know now it's my issue not theirs.
But this whole comparison thing, this will put you at odds with people that you know you'll never be like, that you know you'll never be as much as whatever it is you want to be as that they are as, that you just aren't gonna be able to measure up to. So we do what I did in high school, we don't outgrow this, we kind of shrink back and we create reasons why they're not okay. The problem is they're okay, it's just that we're not okay, and you find yourself not being able to get along with certain kinds of people who remind of who you'll never be and what you'll never look like and who you'll never marry and what you'll never do in your future. They got your job, they're living your dream, and you're just miserable. And then, again, because of the world we live in and this isn't gonna change so please don't hear me about to give you the solution to this, I just want you to feel horrible about yourself and then we'll sing a song, I mean this is church, right, I mean that's what you do, you just feel bad about yourself, that's the goal, then you go home and go ah, I didn't learn anything, but at least we all have the same problems.
So, anyway. I want to give you a way forward, but the world we live in, I mean I'm like you I live on a laptop or I live off of my thumbs and every browser reminds me of what I don't have. Every website, I'm not even looking, I mean, right, everybody's tracking us. The other day Sandra and I were talking about Uber, and we were saying, she said, I wonder, I'm not making this up, she said, I wonder if there's such a thing as an Uber give card? I promise you, I promise you, on both of our phones, on my iPad and her phone ads started showing up for you can buy a gift card for Uber. I'm like, I'm sitting. I mean you hear those stories and we laugh like, ah, they're not that efficient. I'm tellin' ya, unbelievable, right?
So everywhere you look you're reminded of what you don't look like, you're reminded of where you don't work out, you're reminded that there's not enough shiplap in the world to make you happy. Right? I mean we all know this. And now the worst thing, I wasn't an Instagram person, and, again, here's, I mean this is how this works, all my preacher friends, you know, 'cause I'm a pastor and the pastor of a large church, so I have friends who are pastors of large churches, and I had more Twitter followers than them. I mean, doesn't really matter, I don't really look. But they had way more Instagram followers than me and one day Sandra says, so and so and so and so has 150,000 Instagram followers.
I'm like, oh my gosh, okay, and then now I'm like thinking about this all the time and God in heaven's going, what? I called you to do and what do you? And now even on Instagram I'm trying to be sane, but it's like now they're advertising stuff on, I mean, it's just everywhere. So the thing is this isn't going away, and the point of the message isn't that culture's bad and we need to abandon society and all come together and live in a commune. I mean that's not it, it's not going away, this is not a problem that can be solved, right? And then there's this, and then I'll try to get to something practical, then there's the whisper.
I don't know what else to call it, you might have a better name for this than me. I just call it the whisper. There's this voice, it sounds a lot like my voice, I don't know what your voice sounds like. There's this whisper that basically just says, you need what they have to be respectable, acceptable, and lovable. I mean, that's kind of the moral of the culture story, right? That you need, it's a whisper, it sounds like my voice but it's a whisper, it's in my head. You need what they have to be respectable, acceptable, and lovable. And I've lived long enough to know this, let me tell you something about they, okay? Let me tell you something about they. They, whoever they are for you, whether it's just images, it's people on browsers or it's people that you know and they have and that you need to have what, they, they actually have the same voice in their head whispering the same thing, because no matter what you have or what you've accomplished, there's no win in comparison, it never leads anywhere.
In fact, the wisest man who ever lived, Solomon, who had it all, done it all, been there, done that, the wisest man who ever lived, he just summarized it this way, he said this, he wrote this, envy rots the bones. Wow, that's extreme. Envy rots bones. So the bottom line for our time together is simply this, knock it off. Okay? Just stop doing that, right? If only it were that easy, and I wish I could come out here tonight and say, let me tell you how this will never affect you again, I can't tell you how to make it go away, but I do want to tell you how to manage this tension, because it's not going away. But, it won't away, but it does not have to control you, and it does not have to drive you.
And as I was preparing for our time tonight, honestly I found myself in sort of devotional mode going, God, I am so glad I'm talking about this because I need a reminder, because even though I'm not high school anymore there are just other versions of the same thing and it has the potential to ruin our lives, it has the potential to drive us crazy financially, it has the potential to make us less generous, because as long as I'm trying to keep up with people I can't keep up with, I don't have any margin to give to other people. And I don't have margin to support the things that I want to support, because I'm trying to keep up with people that don't even know I'm trying to keep up with them.
So this isn't a problem that is ever solved, but this is a tension that we all have to learn to manage, especially if you're a Christian, especially if you're a Jesus follower because this intersects with your relations, this intersects with your relationship with your heavenly Father who has called you, this is an amazing thought, we're not gonna develop it, but it's just an amazing thought, who called you, get this, according to his purpose. Wow. What if you missed God's purpose for your life because you were trying to keep up with a culture that's not even a thing, it's a myth? We're gonna see a word in just a minute that Solomon's gonna give us that helps us kinda put, sort of personify this ghost, this vapor, this thing, this illusion that we all chase, this thing that has the potential to steal the joy of life, not a problem to be solved.
So what I want to do in our few minutes that's left, is my goal is to give you a mental line of defense, I know that sounds kind of technical and weird, a mental line of defense. In other words, a place that you can go mentally when you start drifting toward envy or discontentment emotionally. Because for most of this, even though it starts right here with our eyes or our ears or but generally our eyes, it gets emotional real quickly, suddenly we're feeling behind, we're feeling unloved, we're feeling ugly, we're feeling like we're not keeping up, we're just, we're feeling like we're not everything we ought to be and everything everybody expects us to be.
So what I want to do tonight is I just want to give you a couple of phrases that I hope that you will kind of drive deep down into your soul. And as you experience the tug, as you hear the whisper, and you're gonna hear it the rest of your life just like I am, that we would have a place to go mentally to tell ourselves something that is so true and so instructional that it may keep you between the guardrails, and if you're a Christian, it may help direct you toward God's purpose for your life.
So back to the wisest guy that ever lived, he's jumping right into a little bit of a narrative and he's kind of telling us what he's seeing. He's an old man now and he's been there, done that, he's so wealthy, Solomon was so wealthy, he'd accomplished so much, so he has all this life experience and he's downloading his life experience for people like us who have less life experience and will never experience life like here's experienced it, because part of the allure of culture is if only I had, if only I drove, if only I looked, if only I married, and Solomon says to this, hey, hey, hey, been there, drove it, lived in it, married it, looked like it, bought it, sold it, been there, whatever your deal is I've done that, and so let me tell you what I've learned through my years of having been there and done that as it relates to the whisper, if only, if only, if only.
So here's what he says, he says, and I saw, he's talking about something he saw in the past, and I saw that all toil, all work, and all achievement, all you goal setters, you know, all toil and all achievement spring from one person's envy of another. It's like what, he goes, yep, I've seen it, I know what's happening out there. This isn't new, this is 3,000 years old at least and older. In other words, he says, I looked around and I realized everybody is simply competing. Everybody is determining, this is shocking, this is embarrassing, because this is so true, everybody is determining where they are based on where everybody else is. Everybody is determining, to speak of it in the way that he would, that everybody, I look around and I notice that everybody is determining where they are based on where other people are. And then he says this, this too is meaningless. And then he gives us our phrase, then he gives us this mental image, he gives us a phrase that I want you to memorize, I just want this to become part of your mental language, you know what a mental language is, it's stuff that you don't necessarily say out loud, you just think it.
And, by the way, there's things that you should just think. They should never come out of your mouth, okay, just a little lesson. Honesty is not saying everything that's true. That's foolish, you will have no friends. Honesty is not saying everything that's true, honesty is just making sure that what you say is true. So are these some true things you should never say, but anyway, so I want to give you something that you say to yourself or you may need to say out loud, but here's the phrase, this is so powerful.
So I'm gonna read the whole verse and then I'm gonna add this last part. And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person's envy of another. This too is meaningless, and here's the phrase, a chasing after the wind. Isn't that powerful? A chasing after the wind, it's endless, it's pointless, there is no finish line, there is no trophy because there is no winner, and there is no peace, there's just er. Not argh, er. Dissatisfaction guaranteed. Dissatisfaction guaranteed, because comparison is what puts the dis in discontentment, and discontentment, dissatisfaction guaranteed. It steals the joy, and here's the tragedy, it steals the joy from our accomplishments. It steals the joy from what we have done. It steals the joy from the goals that we have set and have accomplished, because somebody else has accomplished more, because somebody else has more.
So, when you catch yourself, and, you know what, here's the thing, you're gonna catch yourself before you even leave this auditorium. You're gonna catch yourself before this hour is out, but when you catch yourself looking, oh man, I wish I had hair like that, you know. I wish I had skin like that, wish I had, oh, that she looked so good in that, I wouldn't look good in that. He looked so good in that, I'm not even gonna try. When you catch yourself looking, when you catch yourself drifting, when you catch yourself looking and drifting in somebody else's direction, when you catch yourself drifting over into someone else's lane, that's when you say to yourself, and for some of us I think we should say it out loud, not loud enough for everybody else to hear but just loud enough to stop us, that's when we say, ah, that's chasing the wind, that's chasing the wind. Ah, no, no, no, not gonna buy that, that's just chasing the wind, keep going. That's just chasing the wind, mmm, chasing the wind. And I don't chase the wind.
So I want us to say this out loud together, both of these phrases, you ready, here we go, that's chasing the wind. One more time. That's chasing the wind. And I don't chase the wind. Do you? I mean, come on, this isn't a Christian religious thing, this is just a thing thing, do you want to spend the rest of your life chasing the wind? No. Why? 'Cause there's no win in chasing the wind, there's no win in comparison. There's no trophy, there's no finish line, there's no... I did it. You did what? I don't know, I just did it. There's no win, okay? There's always faster, cuter, smaller, younger, hipper, I mean, bigger, it's chasing the wind. And come on, I don't know you personally, but I know this, your life is too valuable and your life is too short and your time is too valuable for you to waste any of it chasing the wind. So the moment those emotions, those feelings of inadequacy and I'm not rich enough and I didn't measure up to what my parents thought I, all that stuff you go, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, that's chasing the wind, and I don't chase the wind.
Now, fortunately Solomon's not through 'cause he knows there's another side to this and he knows what some of us are thinking. Because the whole idea of not chasing the wind is not an invitation to be passive. In fact, remember Solomon wrote this, Solomon accomplished more than you will accomplish in your whole life, and I'm not trying to put you down, I'm just saying like he was the king of a nation, okay, he had endless resources, he built a temple, you can still go see the base of the temple. I mean, he's an amazing person.
So he wasn't passive, he wasn't like, eh, just live and let live, it doesn't matter, you live today and gone tomorrow and he said some things like that in Ecclesiastes, but in terms of his life personally he accomplished a great deal, so here's what he says, he says, now don't take this to an unhealthy extreme, fools fold their hands and ruin themselves. Fools say, well, you know what, since I can't keep up, since everybody's better than me, since everybody has more talent than me, since everybody had a better family, since everybody had, since everybody else, I'm just not even gonna try. Solomon say, no, only a fool does that. Being unproductive is not the answer, so he brings, in this next verse, this is so powerful, it's like, if you don't ever read the Bible, you should read the Bible, in fact, start with what Solomon wrote.
In fact, if you're not a Christian and you're not into the Jesus thing, hey, Jesus wasn't born for a long time, start with Solomon, he was just a king and these are just wise sayings, it's just that they're found in the Bible, which is great. And here's what he says next, so he brings these two extremes together. He's like, look, don't spend your life chasing the wind, and don't fold your hands and go oh well, why try? Don't spend your life chasing the wind and trying to keep up with people that don't even know you're trying to keep up with them, images on a screen, and at the same time, don't just throw up your hands and give up, and he brings them together in this next statement that's so powerful.
Some of you perhaps just need to memorize this statement, he says this, better, I love this, better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind. Isn't that great? You're like, I don't even know what it means. I know, I'm gonna explain it in a minute, but it is great, so just take, okay, but look at the imagery of this. He says it's better to have one handful with tranquility, which rubs us the wrong way in our culture because our culture isn't about one, our culture is about two, our culture's about more. If I had four hands, I'd have four handfuls, you know, I mean it's all about more, more, more. He says, okay, I have more than all of you so just shut up and listen for a second, I'm telling you, one handful with tranquility, one handful with tranquility is better than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.
Tranquility means satisfaction, tranquility means you drive home at night and you go into your apartment or you go into your house and you're fine. Tranquility means you visit your friend or your older brother or even your younger brother or your older sister or younger sister and they live in this big ole house, and they got a gate, woo, you got a gate, hey, can I come in, it's your brother, and they have to let you in their gate, you know. Woo, you know. And then you drive home to wherever you live, and you know what tranquility is? Tranquility is... I'm so happy for them, and it doesn't bother me. I'm so happy for them, and it doesn't bother me. I'm so happy for her, doesn't bother me. You got into your grad school, that's so great, and you got into the school I wanted to go to, you know what, once upon a time that would've bothered me so much, I'm not even sure we could be friends, but I've learned that one handful with tranquility, of tranquility, is better than two handfuls of striving and chasing at the wind.
Here's the thing, we assume more is better, that's what we're taught every single day. We assume more is better, but chasing more always leave us wanting more. So here's this point, and this is why it's so powerful, less is actually more when the less you hold is what you were created for, that less is actually more when the less you hold is what you were designed, what you were created for, what you were born to do. Better one handful with tranquility than grasping and striving and pretending and competing. Then he goes on, he says, let me tell you something else I saw while we're talking about it, this is so great.
Again, he said, I saw something meaningless under the sun. Well, tell us what is it, this is fascinating, Solomon, there was a man all alone, he had neither son nor brother, to which we're like, so what? But, see, in this culture if you didn't have a son and you didn't have a brother, then you had no one to leave your estate to and your wealth to or even if you didn't have much, you didn't have anybody to leave anything to because in ancient times women could not inherit anything. So here's a guy who's been working hard and has something to show for it, but he doesn't have anyone to leave it to. And then Solomon says this, there was no end to his toil. In other words he was just getting after it. Yet his eyes were not content with his wealth.
So he was working hard and he was getting more, but more leads to more and bigger leads to bigger and better leads to better, and he's just getting after it, getting after it, getting after it, and then he finally, this guy, stops and asks a question that some of you've never asked. And I'm telling you, I wish I had asked this question much earlier in my life. In fact, if I could sit down with you and some of you are 15, 20, 30 years younger, 40 years younger than me, I don't know how old you are, I would say, you know what, if you'll begin to ask yourself this question early on, it will help you, you will learn to be content with one handful of tranquility, and you won't be content like you won't accomplish anything, you will accomplish all you were born to accomplish, but you'll do it with peace and tranquility.
Because here's the question this guy forgot to ask that most of us forget to ask, here's the question, it's so powerful, Solomon says he forgot to ask, for whom am I toiling? He finally asked the question, I mean he's been going on and on and on year after year, and it's like he's going, wait a minute, who am I doing this for? Who am I doing this with and who am I doing this for? What am I trying to prove and who am I trying to prove it to? Now, this is a hard question, and I had to wrestle this one to the ground many years ago, it's why I just would love if we were sitting down over coffee, I would say this is a really big deal. And the younger you are, the more powerful and the more time you have to live this out, but it's never too late. Because there's an answer to this question whether you've asked the question or not and whether you know the answer or not.
There's an answer to the question, why are you doing this? Why are you striving? Why are you toiling? Why are you pushing? Why are you gritting your teeth? Why, who is it for? And for some of you, do you know who it's for? You're competing with your brother. You're competing with a sister. Some of you are trying to live up to your mother's expectations. And let me just tell you something, I don't know your mother, but you'll never win with your mother. You won't. You know how I know? Because if you could've won, you would've won, if it's been going on year after year after year, and she's this and you're just trying and trying and trying. Okay, why?
Some of you are trying to please your father, some of you are trying to make your father smile and finally give you that hug, and some of you, your father passed away and you're still striving and you've never stopped and asked this powerful question, wait a minute, why am I doing this? Who am I doing this for? Whose approval am I competing for, and do they even know and do they even care and would it even matter if they did? So here's a question, then we're moving on, for whom, to use his word, for whom are you toiling?
And let me just give you a heads up. If you say, well, I'm doing it for me. Mmm, probably not. Well I'm just doing it for me. Maybe, but before you just go there and move on, this is a question you need to wrestle to the ground. For whom are you toiling really? Because for some of you, when you are able to answer that question, it will free you up to be content with one handful of tranquility instead of two hands of if only, if only, and when. He goes on, and why, this is so amazing, this is this same fictitious, this guy that Solomon knew that sort of represents people, humanity, and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?
And this guy, Solomon says, the thing about this guy, he accomplished so much, he has no one to leave it to, and he's not even enjoying his stuff, he's so bound up with more stuff and chasing the wind, it's like, wait a minute, who am I doing this for and why is it I'm not even enjoying the fruit of my labor? It's because he'd never answered the question, why am I doing this to begin with. And perhaps you aren't enjoying your life either. And let me tell you what, if you're not enjoying your life, no one else will, okay? If you're raising kids, if you're not enjoying your life, they're not enjoying your life.
For some of you, and getting a little personal, the reason that your relationships are just kind of repeat, repeat, repeat, same thing, ends the same way, if you're not enjoying your life, the people that you date aren't going to enjoy you, they're just not. If you're not enjoying your life, the people that are closest to you, your friends, they won't enjoy you either. They will sense your angst, in fact, they may have tried to tell you, and you're like, there's nothing wrong with me, I'm just ambitious, I'm just a goal setter. Well, no, you're something else, but I can't say that 'cause Andy said don't say everything that's true, just make sure what you say is true.
So I'm not gonna really tell you what, anyway, so, and then there's this, okay, just to really, if you don't feel guilty enough or motivated enough, I hope you're motivated, think about this, isn't it true, I don't think you could argue with this, somewhere in the world tonight there are a billion people, or let's just be conservative, somewhere in the world tonight are half a billion people that would look at your life and your circumstances and your body and where you live and what you drive and who you know, and they would consider you one of the luckiest people on Earth. But you don't. And do you know why you don't? Because you don't know why you're toiling and striving and you don't know who you're doing it for.
One handful with peace and tranquility is so much better than two handfuls of grit and tension and a lack of peace. This too, he says, I mean he's so honest, this too is meaningless, it's a miserable business. You will never find, you just have to trust me on this, or just figure it out for yourself or think it through, you're smart, you know this, you will never be who you were born to be as long as you are looking over your shoulder at anybody else. Because the energy you expend and the energy I expend looking left and right and over my shoulder, that is energy God gave us to do what God has called us and created us to do. And if you're a Christian, as I said earlier, you'll never discover God's purpose for your life, you are so aware of God's purpose perhaps for other people's life, but you will never discover God's purpose for your life as long as you're distracted by someone else's success.
Now, I grew up, as some of you know, I grew up with a very successful father, and in some circles I grew up with a very famous father. And I had to figure this out for myself, and I wish I had asked some of these questions much earlier in my life, and I wish I had learned one handful of tranquility is so much better than two hands of striving and chasing after the wind. And I'll tell you somebody else who had to learn it in a similar way as well, somebody that all of you've heard of and some of you know something about him, some of you know virtually nothing about him, his name's Joel Osteen, right? Joel Osteen's also a pastor.
And I love Joel's story because I'm, maybe it's because I'm a preacher's kid and he was a preacher's kid, and he said something, I read his story then, I've only met him one time, and we had one conversation and he was with a group and he told his story and I wrote something down, I'm gonna show you what he wrote down in just a minute. But his story, the 30 second version of his story, is he dropped out of college and went back home to work for his dad editing video, his dad was a pastor on TV, and he would edit his dad's video. So that's what he did, not an extrovert, introvert, just wanted to edit video for his daddy, as he calls him, his daddy. And then his daddy got sick and was put in the hospital, they didn't have anybody to preach one Sunday, and so his family said, Joel, you need to preach, and he's like, I don't preach, I edit video. He'd never preached in his life. They said, no, you need to preach.
And so his dad called him from the hospital he said, Joel, I just need you to preach for me Sunday, everybody will love you, you're my son, they'll understand. He's like, Daddy, I don't have any sermons. And his dad said, okay Joel, you just pick one of my sermons that you really like a lot and just re-preach that. He said two days later I called my dad in the hospital and said, Dad, I can't find any of your sermons that I really like a lot. But he finally picked one and he preached one, and it was terrible, just terrible. The next week his father passed away, and his family came to him and said, Joel, we think God has his hand on you, you're to pastor and preach at this church, and he's like, I preached one sermon and it was terrible.
And Joel talked about how he tried to preach like his dad. He said, you're not gonna believe this, he said, I actually wore my father's shoes for the first few months that I preached trying to figure this out. And then he said something I wrote down, and regardless of what you know about Joel Osteen and regardless of what you think about Joel Osteen, I don't want you to miss this, because this is so powerful. In fact, this next statement is why you've heard of Joel Osteen, he worked for his dad in secret for 17 years. This is what he said. He said, then it dawned on me, I have to run my race. I can't run my daddy's race or any other preacher's race. And he's been running his race ever since.
And here's why I tell you that story, look up here, you have to learn to run your race and quit chasing the wind. Back to Solomon, here's what he says, a heart, this is the entire statement that I gave you the second part of at the beginning, Solomon says this, a heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. You cannot, I don't care how rich you are, poor you are, how good looking you are, where you live, who you're connected to, you cannot compare your way to peace. You cannot compare your way to peace. You cannot compare your way to tranquility. You can't win chasing the wind. God has given you a race to run, and you need to get in your lane and you need to focus and you need to stay there.
Look to other people for inspiration and celebrate their success, you look to them for inspiration, but you don't look to them for imitation. When you see somebody knocking it out of the park, maybe somebody living your dream, somebody driving your car, somebody going to your school getting your degree, you celebrate them. You say I'm so happy for you, but I am running my race and I am staying in my lane, I'm not gonna waste an ounce of my energy resenting you, I'm not gonna waste an ounce of my life being jealous of you because I'm running my race in the lane that God has put me in.
Jordan Peterson in 12 Rules for Life, a fabulous book, he says it this way, I love this quote, he says, compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today. That is great advice, isn't it? If you've gotta compare, compare yourself to who you were yesterday, because if who you were yesterday is not as great as who you are today, then you're making progress. Compare yourself to yourself, but don't waste your life and waste your energy comparing yourself to other people. Count your blessings, not your neighbor's. You know what, when you begin counting your blessings and you drop it into the context of how some people live in this world, you'll wake up every single day grateful, you'll go to bed every single night grateful, every single night, every single morning. You will be grateful when you start counting your blessings rather than everybody else's.
Here's the thing, please, 'cause you only get one shot, don't miss the life, don't miss what life, don't miss the life God has for you, and don't miss what life has for you. You will never experience, you will never experience your life fully, You will never experience your life fully until you embrace what is right in front of you. I've done it the right way, I've done it the wrong way. I wish I had learned this earlier. You can begin today.
So, when your emotions start drifting, when your emotions start drifting, when your emotions start drifting, when your emotions start drifting and start getting the best of you, you stop, and you just declare to yourself, I say you declare it out loud, I will not chase the wind, I will run my race in my lane. I will not chase the wind. That's good for you, congratulations, that's great, I will not chase the wind. I will run my race in my lane. And if you do, you will become the person God created you to be. But, if you aren't willing to take my advice, and if you aren't willing to take Solomon's advice, and if you're not willing to take Jordan Peterson's advice, then I think you should at least take it from Bruce. Find your lane and run in it, because after all, tramps like us, baby we were born to run.