There’s a time to focus on what is and a time to also consider what is possible. And we miss much of our potential when we simply settle for what’s “normal” rather than exploring the heights of our capacity. We must learn to aspire toward great things to continue growing towards God’s best for us.
To be sure, when a majority of people think, feel, and act in certain ways, it might very well be normal, but not necessarily good. And this is the limitation of our common research methods and polls – telling us only what is and not who we can become.
Though, to be fair, getting to a baseline average would be a great start for many.
All the same, we need a compelling vision to aspire to – something beyond our current state that shows us what is possible.
For instance, fitness models show us the human potential of keeping our bodies healthy and in shape. And even if we never become models ourselves, we always have something to aspire and grow toward. We don’t have to settle for being unhealthy and out of shape just because this is normal.
In a similar way, role models help us to rise above business as usual and find inspiration for living well throughout our life and relationships. And even aspirational values such as honesty, respect, and patience give us some ideal to press toward despite the otherwise common and normal ways of living life.
Perhaps we favor being a realist over an idealist because we fear being disingenuous and not living up to our ideals. But aspiring to great things is not suggesting that we’ve arrived, only that we’re on the way.
And without some ideal to press toward we spiral downward and miss the potential God created us for.
Find the models, values, and images that give you something to aspire to. We need regular and compelling visions of what’s possible to move us toward God’s best.