Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Chasing Success

If I don't make it to the big leagues,
If I never win a Grammy
I'm gonna be just fine
'Cause I know exactly who I am
--Julie Andrews “Who I am”

My whole life I have been very success-driven. Part of this is probably because I am the oldest child and therefore I have something inside me that pushes me to want to please my parents, but it is also probably a mixture of pride, the American dream, and security. So throughout middle school and high school I wanted to be in everything and I wanted to be the best at everything (not in a competitive nature, but just out of a drive for success.) I then chose to come to the top school in my state, in order to receive the top education so that I could land the best job with the highest salary. In fact, last year one of my friends asked me what my biggest fear is and I replied, “Growing up and not being successful.”

However, after a year at this amazingly successful school, God has changed my heart and shifted the direction of my dreams. Recently he has really showed me that success can’t be my main goal in this life. Success is not guaranteed to anyone, no matter how hard they work. I know people who have worked their butt off for years, taking teams to state play-offs and students to new levels, but still lost everything in the end. No one can promise you a successful and secure life—it simply does not exist.

So as I sat back and pondered all of this I thought, well God if awards, money, and praise is worthless, then what do I pour myself into? “Me, you dear child!” God was probably giving me the “duh” look once again as he had to walk me back through his promises of being eternal. If you are a regular reader your have probably heard me say the three things that are eternal: God, God’s people, and God’s word. Over and over again this becomes more and more important to me. EVERYTHING ELSE IS USELESS—A CHASING AFTER THE WIND!! (Ecclesiastes)

What good will it do to have all the money and awards in the world if you miss watching your children grow up? And what are you going to do with that big house if you have no one to share it with? What’s God gonna say when you get to heaven and he asked you what you did and you say, “Well I have a real nice bank account.” Jesus said in Matthew 19:24, “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

He also said in Luke 16:13, “No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

I don’t know if you have seen the wonderful new movie Country Strong featuring Gwyneth Paltrow, but the underlying theme of the movie emphasizes on this. In the movie, Kelly Canter (Paltrow) is a super famous country singer who spends the entire film going in and out of drug abuse and rehab.

(SPOILER ALERT) At the very end of the movie you finally think she’s gotten her life together. The audience's hope rises as you see her perform an astounding show in front of millions of happy fans cheering her name. Her husband tells her he loves her finally, and she makes peace with her younger rival. However, at the peak of her success, she kills herself with substance abuse.

It’s heartbreaking to watch this happen to famous people. I know you can think of tons who have, or supposedly have taken their own life despite their pinnacle of success. (Michael Jackson, Anna Nicole Smith, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley) You would think if anyone could be completely satisfied with this life it would be the rich and the famous. After all, that’s what we’re all aiming for right? But if that’s what it takes to be fulfilled and content with life, why are they all turning to drugs, alcohol, and death for relief?

Please, by all means chase your dreams and do what your heart desires, but don't let these dreams become an idol. Keep God first and foremost and all of your desires will match his. Psalm 37:4 "Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. "
Chase after God. He won’t let you down.

Psalm 119:32
“I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.