A while back, I received an email from a national organization that was full of parenting tips. One such tip instructed parents, “Tell your children to dream big and then go after their dreams.”
Sitting at Dairy Queen (my favorite place in the world) looking for some conversation, I turned to my son, Kyle, who was about eight or nine at the time. I told him what this email had instructed me to do. Then I asked, “What do you think about that?”
Kyle looked at me with his deep brown eyes and said, “That’s bad, isn’t it dad? We’re not supposed to follow our dreams. We are supposed to follow God and His dreams for our life.”
As a proud father, I got a big smile on my face, and said, “That’s right, Kyle. As Christians we are to follow God’s plan for our lives.”
Unfortunately, that is not the message society sends us. Society urges us to follow our dreams, to be led by our hearts, to make our own plans and go after them. The message of our culture revolves around one simple phrase: “It’s all about me.”
If you want confirmation on this, the next time you sit down to watch television don’t flip channels during commercial breaks. Instead, watch each commercial, listening particularly to the tag lines. You will find Progressive Direct stating, “It’s about you. It’s about time.” Dell commands, “Do it your way.” Loreal allows me the freedom to color my hair any way I please “because you are worth it.” McDonalds gladly lets me know that I “deserve a break today.”
Our culture inundates us with this message. It’s about you. Do it however you want. You are worth it. You deserve it. You, you, you; which, of course, we process as me, me, me. What I want. What I deserve. What my plans are. What my desires are. What my dreams are.
Perhaps you are thinking, “Wait a second, Mark. Isn’t that really an empowering message to give people?”
It may seem like an empowering message. However, I will guarantee you that if you try to live out those messages, you will never be truly satisfied. You will never discover the true you.
Understand that Jesus is the reason for everything. We were created by Him and for Him. Since He is the One who created us, since He is the One who made us for His purposes, then it is to Him we must go to understand who we really are.
Ultimately, if we live our lives apart from Him and His reason for creating us, we will be left unfilled and unsatisfied.
For example, Staplers were invented to fasten papers. Cups were invented for us to easily drink liquid. The phone enables us to communicate at a distance. And toilet paper was created so we can…well, you know.
However, what if the stapler was alive and said, “I want to follow my own dreams. I want to be a plane and soar through the air”? What if a cup said, “I want to follow my own dreams and live the glamorous life of building material”? Or what if toilet paper said, “I’m tired of my current duties (no pun intended), I want to follow my own dreams and be police shackles”?
Would you want to embark on a journey in a flying stapler? Would you want to build your dream home out of cups? Or would you feel comfortable with the police transferring prisoners in TP shackles? No, you would not.
All of those things have specific purposes for existing. They do not function as they should when trying to fulfill other purposes. And guess what? Neither do you.
Ephesians 2:10 states that we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
We were created by God for a purpose. When we say, by our actions, “I don’t care about that. I want to follow my own dreams,” we wind up just like the stapler, the cup, and the toilet paper.
Forget what the culture tells you. The true you cannot be found by following your dreams. The true you is found when you grab hold of God’s dream for your life.