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?