Saturday, May 14, 2016

Stop Following Your Dreams

It's graduation season!

Aisles are filled with cards that read "Congratulations,"  "You Did It," and "Follow Your Dreams."

and I'm wondering, is this really what we should be telling them!?

not just our graduates, but anybody striving for success in this thing we call life!

If I think back at the "dreams" I had at the end of high school, and the end of college, it is there that I discover is the start of what creeps in as a feeling of failure.

Better yet, maybe what we need to ask is how are we defining failure, and/or success?

Over the course of conversations, I realize that a feeling of "unsuccessful'ness," even if not considered failure, comes from comparing our current situation with the expectations we once had.

This is not an recommendation to throw out all desires, goals, and aspirations...

But maybe we should redefine success...

King David, left his son Solomon with this...

"keep the charge of the LORD your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn" - 1 Kings 2:3

Can we agree that "prospering in all you do" sounds like success?  Scripture says to achieve this follow the Lord and His teachings. That's it, no minimum salary, house size or car payment, no maximum number of failed attempts, plans, or re-dos; just following what the Lord has for us, however different that may be than the person next to us.

Solomon later reflected on that life lesson in these words...

“My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man” - Proverbs 3:1-4

The first step in following God's plan for our lives is accepting His gift of eternal life through His son, only then can true living begin.  A life lived in Jesus is not without trials, but rather with hope.  As our lives are transformed by the spirit of God, we begin to be filled with fruits such as love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.  It is through the growth of these fruits that we live by the two greatest commandments, 

 "you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these." - Mark 12:30-31

We do not become immune to trouble and hard times, but rather push through them with God's grace, wisdom, and peace.

"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us" Romans 8:18

When we push and strive for what the world defines as success, we can begin to loose sight of eternity.  I have been in circumstances where following God's plan seemed crazy,  when choosing His path looked like the opposite of success to the world.  Sometimes I walked with Him anyways, other times I took the wide path, only to find out that is was eventually dissatisfying and often heartbreaking.  

"If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? - Matthew 16: 24-26

We must stop following our dreams, but rather invest all our aspirations and desires in God's perfect plan for us!

Trust in the LORD and do good;
         Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.

Delight yourself in the LORD;
         And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD,
         Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light
         And your judgment as the noonday.
Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him
Psalm 37:3-7