It is in the times when you help out a friend in need, minister to a broken co-worker or encourage a family member that you realize there is far more to life than setting a goal and dropping everything else to reach that goal. You discover that the best moments in your journey of life are ones you could never script or plan. They just happen, and when they do you are ready to make the most of them.

Ask almost all successful people and they will tell you the same thing – life did not turn out how they expected it or planned it out. They became successful because they realized that when they were delayed or challenged they should not fight it but find out what meaning that event has that would forever enrich their lives.

I am all for having dreams and setting goals, however I have seen that the dreams and goals often become destinations. As people strive for these destinations, they miss the blessings that are right in front of them. These people call themselves “determined” or “driven” and will avoid anything that may slow them down as they strive to get to their destination. They are the people who may be climbing the corporate ladder, but do so at the cost of a spouse who feels neglected and kids who grow up without a parent at many of their events. They do not attend church because it is not productive and have few close friends because of their schedule.

Do they reach their destination? Many times, yes, they do. But it comes at a very large cost. It comes with them losing the best years of their life working to reach a destination while all along they have ignored the trip.

The irony of it all is that when they reach that destination many times they discover to their disappointment that it did not bring the kind of satisfaction they thought it would. They get there and the feeling is, “Huh, is that it? I thought the joy of reaching this pinnacle would be greater. It is not living up to the way I built it up for so many years.” Then they survey their lives and begin to wonder what they have to show for their efforts? Few memories, few unusual stories, few things that really last.

My question is simply: is it worth it? Is it worth reaching some grander destination if in order to get there you cannot even enjoy the trip? Wanting to be successful is a very good thing; everyone should set goals for things they want to accomplish and seize their future to make it magnificent. But you would be foolish if you put so much emphasis on the destination that it caused you to miss all of the wonderful little experiences along the way. Try focusing on right here and right now and you will be far more satisfied with the way your life turns out.

Ryan Downing is an author, writer and public speaker who focuses on helping people discover who God is and how He is relevant to their everyday lives. His book Energize Your Life is a compellation of 365 short messages to inspire and enlighten its readers. He also is the Associate Pastor of Threesixty University and Young Professionals at Phoenix First Assembly church where he helps to direct and cast vision to young adults. Connect with Ryan at his website

Publication date: April 12, 2011