Brokenness is hard. Nothing about being broken is easy. It’s vulnerable and humbling. As children, we grow up thinking life is full of these fantastic opportunities and experiences we’ll experience as we get older. We dream of becoming something and doing great things! Little by little, things start to shift. Our dreams, goals, desires, they change. But the idea that life will work out does not.
Our high school graduation comes, and we begin to branch out, do things on our own, make something of ourselves. Then the college years come and go. It doesn’t matter that we eat ramen noodles for breakfast, lunch, and dinner or that our car is twenty years old and has three hundred thousand miles on it, we don’t care. We are going to make it someday. We see big things in store for ourselves.
We meet our spouses, get to know them, decide to settle down with them, and all those ideas and dreams we had get lost and forgotten. As time goes by, we find ourselves working one or two jobs, having families, going with the flow of everyday life, and wishing we could take control of it. We are tired of the long hours, being under-appreciated, and working where we never imagined we would just to survive it all. Life is great, too; we have our husbands, our kids, a roof over our heads, food, transportation.
But it isn’t what we had imagined when we were sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, or twenty. We were going to make it in this world. We hadn’t worked out all the details, but we had just enough to work with that we were hopeful. Some of us may have envisioned having a successful job, a wife, kids, and the ability to provide comfortably for them. Some of us planned on being full-time pastors, missionaries, or worship leaders. Maybe you wanted to be a full-time stay-at-home mom. And it didn’t work out that way. You’re not in ministry, you’re not married, your job sucks, and your marriage may even be on the rocks.
You’re Not Alone
People everywhere are going through similar feelings. They are disappointed in themselves for not being where they thought they would be by now. They try as hard as they can, desperately trying to do whatever it takes to be anywhere but where they are right now. They do whatever it takes. Sometimes, at the expense of their morals and limitations. It is hard for those with a relationship with God to watch people who care little about others do hardly anything for themselves and succeed. We get nowhere, no matter how hard we try. It seems like certain people are thriving and don’t deserve to.
The idea that other people are experiencing similar issues is not comforting. If anything, it’s depressing. Are there really more people out there trying to make it and falling short? How many people are actually succeeding without handouts, popularity, rumor, slander, bribery, and cheating? Is it possible to?
Most of us aren’t famous. We aren’t related to any big names and are usually receiving no’s rather than yeses. Here’s a question we should probably ask ourselves… Why am I so focused on this?
The Real Issue
I’m sure your next question is, “What are you talking about?” I’m glad you asked. You see, there are things in my life, circumstances that I wish I could change. I know people who seem to accomplish something or receive opportunities I wish I could. But when it all comes down to it, what I have to ask myself is, “Would I really be content if I accomplished specific goals and dreams?”
I mean, I would love to live in a nicer house. I’d love the extra space, the cozy fireplace I desire, my writing to take off so that my husband doesn’t work because he has to but can if he wants to. No limitations. More yeses and fewer no’s. The question is, would I be satisfied? No. I wouldn’t be happy because it’s all style and no substance to me. My dreams and goals mean little if their only purpose is to feel comfortable and good about myself when others see me.
All of a sudden, these goals and accomplishments are there for my pleasure and enjoyment. They are there to please and impress people.
Well, that isn’t very impressive after all. I am trying to achieve or accomplish something to impress others?
Who Are You Trying To Impress?
Are you trying to impress your co-workers? Maybe your boss? What about your father or mother-in-law? What about your parents? It’s actually a lot easier than you think. Our dreams can turn from something great to burdensome in a blink of an eye because we shifted our focus onto people and their opinions about us. Now I see, it isn’t about how much others are succeeding, even if they don’t deserve it. That’s just the icing on the cake. It’s more than wanting our desires to be fulfilled.
“For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10 NASB)
When we move past the surface and dive deeper, we see that we are focused on people and how they view success in our lives. Can I tell you something? It’s probably better that your dreams to succeed don’t happen. Once they do, the temptation to refrain from humility and thankfulness will be greater than ever before. You’ll find yourself sitting high on a mountain you were never prepared to climb, and your view of people will change. How you treat them will be unimpressive.
How you think about people will change. And your heart won’t be the same. Because one innocent, good dream turned into idolatry of men and things. Your heart turned away from God. And His heart for you and your salvation is really all that matters.
There is hope. Ask God to forgive you. Don’t allow yourself to become distracted or long for something meaningless and burdensome. Nothing other than God will be enough.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 NASB)
“I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’; and You forgave the guilt of my sin.” (Psalms 32:5 NASB)
He will forgive us. Our goals and dreams aren’t the problem. It’s when we shift our focus on other things and make them idols, allowing them to change us for the worst.