You Lack One Thing

It’s Wednesday and time for another discussion on our latest book, The Hole in Our Gospel, by Richard Stearns. As always, you’re welcome to stay, read & discuss, whether you’ve read the chapter or not. Your thoughts are valuable to us! After you read my post, please run on over to my friend and co-facilitator, Jason Stasyszen’s site, Connecting to Impact. You can read his thoughts on this chapter. Plus, this week, he’s got the link widget that you can use to link any posts that you have written on this chapter.

Are you ready to discuss?

Chapter 3—You Lack One Thing

The American Dream.

The Self-Made Man.

The Rugged Individualist.

“He pulled himself up by his bootstraps…”

“It was a rags-to-riches story…”

“Just look at what he’s made of himself!”

How often have we heard these praises sung over people? And not just on the evening news, but at work or even at church. We just love to hear about folks overcoming insurmountable obstacles and succeeding in life. And deep down, we all feel the burn to take our dream and watch it turn to gold in our hands.

It’s kinda like that old Frank Sinatra song: “I did it my way!”

But there’s one little problem with that.

You lack one thing…

There’s a saying that I’ve heard a number of times that I really identify with: “We are human beings, not human doings.”

Maybe that saying would’ve helped the rich young ruler in Matthew 19. Or perhaps not. He had held his dreams in his hands and watched them turn to gold. And once he had it all, he went to Jesus and wanted eternal life, too.

“Teacher, what must I do to get eternal life?”

“One thing you lack…”

He had to lay down the golden dreams.

Rich Stearns says, “God expects us to serve Him on His terms—not ours….His terms involve unconditional surrender.” (p. 39, The Hole in Our Gospel)

But Lord, I have to give up my golden dreams?

And the answer, though hard to hear, is yes. Those golden dreams become our idols and the idols become our identity. And God said that we shall have no other gods before Him.

As a child, I had two dreams. To be a wife and a mother. And to sing. That’s it. That’s all. I didn’t care where I lived or whether I had a nice car. I just wanted to be a wife and a mother and I wanted to sing. And when, fresh out of high school, many of my girlfriends began to live my dreams, I ached inside and became even more determined to live them out myself.

My dreams almost killed me. I went through a string of dysfunctional relationships, trying to find Mr. Right. And ended up spending over two years of dating and six months of engagement with an “Ishmael” that was emotionally abusive. When it was over, I limped off to college to chase my dream of singing, but when circumstances caused me to change my major, that dream was gone, too. And instead of finding a new dream, I found another man, who devastated me and wounded me even more. I finally buried my dreams in schoolwork and decided my dreams would never happen and that I’d just have to live with the disappointment.

When I got ready to graduate from college, I began to seek God for what I was supposed to do next. I was twenty-five with a college degree in a field I’d never expected. Now, what was I supposed to do? And as I prayed, God told me.

I have for you a ministry, a mission, and a marriage.

Seven years have passed.

I’ve got a ministry.

I’ve got a mission.

But I’ve still got no marriage.

And these days, I only sing for an audience of two. (God and my dog.)

But you know what? I’ve really come to realize that what God has for me is so much better than what I’d have chosen for myself. And I wouldn’t trade the years and the experiences or the ministries or missions that I’ve been a part of. And maybe, there have been lives saved or changed because I’ve done it God’s way instead of Sarah’s way. I still want to be married. I still want to have children. And I still want to sing. But it’s gonna be God’s way or not at all.

What are your golden dreams? Are you willing to give them up? What are the consequences if you don’t?

About Sarah Salter

Comments

  1. I remember when people used to say “my way or the highway”, but like you, I choose to reverse that, turn that inside out and declare “His way.. or not at all”

    He has better plans for you than you could have ever imagined by yourself!

  2. Sarah Salter says:

    Karin, I learned the hard way that MY WAY would get me killed! Or at least beaten to a pulp! God knows best. His way is definitely better than mine. Thanks for your thoughts here!

  3. But you are a Bride! You are the Bride of Christ! Ok, ok, it may be a little different than an earthly marriage…but He is all we need!

    The other thought is the promises God makes, He keeps… IN HIS TIME!

    Oh wait, I am supposed to be answering questions…

    Golden Dreams: To be respected. <~~~ Dangerous!
    Give them up: I don't wanna!!! Waaaaah! But It is needed.
    Consequences: A failure in my service to God which results in taking attention which should be directed at Him for myself…. It's gotta go.

  4. Thanks for this open and honest post Sarah. It is amazing how God allows us to experience things and then uses them for His purpose. You are a living testimony to that. I am so glad that you found your bearings (relationship and peace with God) and are now being used by Him in ways I am sure you never dreamed of. Blessings.

  5. Sarah Salter says:

    Dusty, GOOD thoughts! And thanks for answering the questions. :)

    Bill, I did NOT want to share all of this. Seriously. I’ve shared it all here before in bits and pieces along the way, but when it came to putting it all together and coming to this point, I really didn’t want to. But I knew I had to. And thank you for your encouraging words!

  6. Great post. It’s sort of like we say, “Can’t I have my idols and God? I don’t want to give these up. Can’t we all just get along?” But, He is holy and jealous and besides that, He only wants our good and asks us to release to Him what stands in the way.

    I guess my golden dream is “having enough” whatever that means. I’ve faced these fears and worries and I face them again because I love Jesus and desperately want to follow Him. Only by grace…

  7. Sarah Salter says:

    Jason- “Can’t we all just get along?” LOL! Sad & funny all at once, but yes, that’s what we say. And if we served them all, then He really wouldn’t be God, would He? We’d be torn in pieces and He doesn’t want that for us. Thanks, Jason!

  8. Sarah…wow…thank you for the transparency…

    My dreams…to impact a lot of people…to make a difference…and to have a book published…that is the first time I have said it other than speaking to April…

    am I willing to give them up? I want to say yes, but part of me says that I’m holding onto them.

  9. Sarah Salter says:

    Michael, perhaps look at it this way… Your dreams aren’t dying, you’re just trusting them to God so that He can make them all they’re supposed to be. And thanks for sharing your dreams here. I understand how special that is that you’ve shared them. :)

  10. Great post! I’m going to have to read this book sometime! I’ll have to read the other 15 books that I have first… but… hey, it’s a goal to reach!

    Sometimes our dreams have a way of not being what we need, but God knows that.

  11. Sarah Salter says:

    Aww! Brian, thanks for coming by! It’s always a pleasure to see you here! Yes, you do need to read this book. It’s incredible! I currently have about 40 books on my To-Be-Read shelf at home, but this one was worth making the others wait. :)

  12. That thing I lack… often I don’t think about it.

    Thanks for reminding me that everything is through God.

  13. I thought I left a comment here earlier. Hmmm…. My bad.

    I have some dreams I can’t seem to let go of… we talked about them. I so want to be a mother. It’s all I ever really wanted to be…

  14. Sarah Salter says:

    Helen, I love you, Lady. And I believe that God is the dream-giver. My prayers are that you get more than you ever dreamed of!

  15. Sing and rejoice oh daughter of Zion…when you sing to an audience of ONE…I believe He gets a few angels around to listen to His daughter bring it. Oh, I also think your words sing with purpose and encouragement…not everyone can pull that off!

    Thanks for sharing your heart with us.

  16. Sarah Salter says:

    Oh, Jay, what wonderful words of encouragement from you! Thank you so much!

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