Seeing others working so hard to accomplish what others think they should be doing is a recipe for disaster.
Many of us naturally try to become what we see other people aspiring to be. We hear someone sing angelically and so we decide we want to take music lessons. We see someone wear all the latest fashions and know that we will feel so out-of-touch if we don't do the same. We hear of mothers who have accomplished a list of activities, spent 3hrs. at the gym and cared for their ailing neighbor - all in one day! Then we think that we had better get ourselves moving in the same direction! We must not be doing enough!
It seems so silly to even read of these examples! We really don't think we are following someone else's lead. We are sure that it is just something we have CHOSEN to do. Actually, if we have never thought about who we really are and what our strengths are, then aimed totally in our own direction - there is a really good chance that we are just following someone else's ideals or purpose.
It is natural (the natural man spoken of in the scriptures) to think that we need to be doing something because that is what others are doing. If you have ever tried to be someone who you are not - you know that it doesn't feel natural at all! My sweet friend who is always trying to keep up with her neighbors as far as home decor, clothing and vehicles is always jumping from one new thing to another and is swayed by every new item or idea someone else has. She is unhappy and always burdened with too much stuff and not enough time.
My friend doesn't even know that she is being lead to follow others' ways. She hasn't stopped to take time to discover or unearth who she really is. Take time today to stop and get to know yourself. We should then follow the counsel of John Maxwell who calls it the Law of Least Effort. Think about it this way. When you know what comes natural to you and only you, life becomes easier even effortless when your actions are in line with the real you! The effort seems to not be so difficult because it is alignment with who you are - naturally!
An example of this would be my sister who has always liked baking. She grew up making treats and food for our family. After she was married she spent a lot of time understanding how different ingredients worked and especially when baking food items. She created a cookie that people would beg her to make. Then one day the companies her husband works with in his occupation, began to pay her to deliver goodies for their company parties etc... She soon took her knack for making specialty cookies and started her own bakery in a quaint old part of town near Hershey, PA. It was so successful! Now, she is beginning a new era of this industry by wholesaling her cookies out from her own recipes etc...
I don't think she ever realized how really good she was at making these type of cookies, but they are still very sought after treats. Maybe, it isn't that she didn't stop to evaluate whether she had baking skills, but it is ironic that she had this gift be an integral part of who she is! Her life is an example of someone that is blessing lives through something she not only loves, but is extremely good at. It just came natural as a talent and so she became interested in really learning more about it. It was all done just for her family, to begin with. Now, she is sharing her talent with the world!
It sounds like she is doing a lot, but do you suppose that it feels like she is overburdening herself? Of course she could do the baking to the exclusion of everything else important in her life, but she is enjoying doing what she is good at and she loves to please others with it as well. It seems effortless when you are doing what comes naturally and then taking it to greater levels in your life.
What do you do naturally? Are you good at something that seems to be just part of life for you, but others have commented on it often? Do you believe that you were meant for more than the things that seem like the daily grind for you? Ask yourself and others what they see in you so that your life will become less stressful. You will find that when you are not trying to do what others are doing, life is definitely simpler. You will also find that you will have to work at it less or it will seem that you don't have to work as hard because you are not fighting against who you really are destined to become. You will also feel happier because you are aligning yourself with your mission and purpose here on this earth.
I hope that you will feel inspired to discover who and what you are - who you really are at the core. Then with all your efforts, change your activities and daily habits to line up with this true picture of yourself and you will begin to find joy in a simpler and more fulfilling life!