Many of us have grown up on a healthy diet of “Go out there and do it.” If you want something, “Go grab it.” Hard work is highly praised and rewarded. But are they the dreams we want? And why do we want them? What’s motivating us?
Few are encouraged to question their motives. In my own life I have chased many dreams. I’ve reached them too. Whether it was a trade I mastered, musical success, educational achievements, or my careers (plural), I reached what many on the outside would say is success – dreams come true. But the dreams never lasted. Why?
As I look back I can see the driving forces in my life with startling clarity. I was chasing success, money, power, fame, intelligence and more. Why? What was really motivating me?
The short answer is that I never felt good enough. Inside I was intimidated, frightened, lonely, anxious (lots more). So I tried to Stuart Smalley myself. The external efforts never lasted. Despite the titles, awards, honors, and money, I was still empty and afraid.
I tried to fill a hole that only God can fill. I tried to save myself – to make myself worthy. It didn’t work. A lot of us fall into this trap – this lie – that we can make ourselves whole through our own external efforts. But deep down, where we don’t usually dream to go, we crave the love and acceptance that only God can provide.
There is nothing wrong with going after dreams. Aligning them with God’s will and seeking the Kingdom in the Gospels first helps us avoid gaining the whole world, but forfeiting our soul.
Thanks for reading,
~ Ted Olson