Don't cross the stream to find water.--Old Farmer's Almanac
Do you find yourself dissatisfied often? Are you always looking for that "thing" you just can't seem to grasp? Maybe you aren't seeing things the way you need to see them. We all find ourselves from time to time looking for something that is right in front of us.
We See with Bias - Do you have a pair of sunglasses? Isn't it weird how through them you can see things so clearly on a bright and sunny day? Or if they are colored, how we can see everything with a colorful tint that isn't there with a naked eye? Whatever it is we are looking for in our lives, we filter everything we experience through our own filters. We may be struggling with something in our lives and we see someone who seems to not be struggling at all and it makes us feel like we can never get over whatever we are wrestling with. We find ourselves judging our lives by others around us and if we are feeling negative, then that is the filter we see everything through. It goes the other way too. When we are in love or thrilled with something or someone in our lives, we may miss any red flags waving right in front of us. If this is how we see things (good or bad) how do we remove the filter to see things as they really are? Well, quite honestly, sometimes we can't and we need to take a break and wait until we can see clearly. We need to consciously think about what we may be filtering through before we miss something important that is right in front of us! If our filter is really damaged, we may need help from someone else before we can see clearly again. Just remember that we all have filters and it takes a moment to make sure we are seeing things clearly. Rash judgments or decisions can cause us to miss some important things we need to see.
We Seek Perfection - Another reason we may "cross the stream to find water" is because that stream just doesn't seem quite good enough to sustain us. We see the imperfections of what has been given us and decide we can find something better somewhere else. We miss so many opportunities this way. Something may cross our path job wise and it isn't quite the dream job we are looking for so we miss all the things we may learn (or people we may meet) that would possibly be a great asset down the road. Relationships suffer because humans look for that "movie perfect" romance that just isn't realistic and they miss amazing people who may have been the best mate for them. We decide a used car isn't quite good enough so we trap ourselves with car payments that sap our finances instead. There are so many ways we seek perfection when it just doesn't exist or isn't even necessary.
Our Answers Aren't What We Imagine - This old saying is like that story where there is a huge thunderstorm and a man of faith is warned to get out of his house because it's starting to flood and he says, "God is going to save me!" so he stays. Then when his home is starting to flood and he is standing in water up to his knees and a boat comes by and offers to pick him up and the man says, "no you don't need to save me, God is going to!' so he stays. The flood gets so bad he ends up on the roof of his submerged home. A helicopter comes by to pick him up and the man STILL turns it down because he says "God is going to save me". So the man eventually drowns from the flood waters and ends up in heaven and he asks God "why didn't you save me?" and God says, "I tried, but you wouldn't leave the house from the threat of the flood, you wouldn't get in the boat and you ignored the helicopter I sent". The man was expecting his answer to look differently than it did. If something appears to be a help towards a goal you are trying to achieve, it's probably going to help. It may not be the answer you thought you were going to get, but it may be the exact answer you need at that moment. Answers come in all shapes and sizes. Don't miss them because of your perception of what the answer needs to look like.
One Step at a Time - It's good to have goals, but sometimes we all get so focused on the future end result we miss the small steps we may need to take to get there. If you are always looking way far into the horizon you may not only miss the stream looking for the water, you may fall in a deep pit that is hard to get out of! Trudging along one step at a time can feel like an eternity while we are waiting for an answer to a situation. However, you may learn something each step of the way that you will need when you finally reach where you want to go. It will also give you patience and strength when you have to face things one step at a time. If you persevere, you will find little things to keep you sustained during your journey (like the stream) and you will notice when something dangerous gets in the way of you and your goal so you can avoid it. So keep focused one step at a time and take those moments of joy and sustenance while you are on your journey.
I think all of us can say we may have crossed a stream (or two!) looking for the water we need so much. When it's put in those terms, it just seems ridiculous that anyone would do that, yet we do this in one way or another all the time. In our fast paced world, it sometimes is hard to just stop and take a minute to be sure you are walking the path you need to be. But a pit stop can not only help you assess where you are but where you need to go next in your journey. It may also be the perfect place to get refreshed and ready for what is yet to come!