It’s pretty infamous isn’t it? People from all over the world come to the U.S. to try and achieve it. It’s what we’re taught from a young age as Americans. We hear it at school, from parents, and we see it in the media. It’s something I witnessed my whole life and it became something I dreamt for myself. That’s kind of innate in our country though, to grow up wanting the American Dream. But there’s nothing wrong with wanting the dream job, the solid income, the dream house with the white picket fence, 2.5 kids, and the family dog, right?
It was 2016. I was working at a summer camp. Now if you want the Lord to grow you, I suggest working at a Christian camp all summer. It’s life changing, but that’s a story for another day.
I had decided to bring a few books with me to camp and devote some quiet time not only to reading my Bible every day, but also one chapter from a book that would help grow me as a Christian. One of those books was Crazy Love by Francis Chan. I had heard wonderful things about this book and decided to check it out. Let me tell you, it changed my heart and my mind for the better.
For the first time in my life someone was challenging the American Dream. Chan said the American Dream so many of us strive for, so many of us want isn’t biblical. This seems pretty obvious doesn’t it, but God never promised us the American Dream. He promised to be with us always! He promised to never leave us or forsake us! That’s what God promised. He never promised us a perfect life or a life free of suffering.
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in Me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
It’s such a simple truth, but as Christian Americans it’s a truth we are sometimes blind to. Chan wrote, “The world says love yourself, grab all you can, follow your heart. Jesus says deny yourself, grab your cross, and follow Me.” I remember sitting on the porch of my cabin looking out at the river in stunned silence. My life. The dream life I’ve been creating in my head is not guaranteed, I thought. The Lord rocked my world that day. My eyes were opened and I knew, I knew with all my heart God had a plan for me that didn’t look like what I had been dreaming of.
Six months later, it was January 2017 and I was at conference where the Lord called me to go overseas. To this day I look back in awe of how God prepared my heart for that calling. If He had told me a year earlier I needed to go overseas I would have fought Him tooth and nail out of fear and timidity. But when He spoke to my heart that cold January night in a room filled with a few thousand people I was ready. I was willing. Joyfully willing.
I went home and signed up right away to go overseas I knew where I was going and I thought I knew when. Even within God’s plan I was making my own in my head! So here we are three years later and I still haven’t gone overseas. Yet.
Many things have happened since 2017 and I’ve learned a lot. God had plans for me in the last three years and He also had a gift: my husband. We got married this past September and the time has finally come! We are currently raising support to make the move overseas at the beginning of next year. My heart is full.
Although I don’t believe there is anything wrong with wanting the American Dream, I do believe God and His plan for your life always needs to be first in your heart and mind. He may never ask you to move overseas, but He has commanded you, no matter where you are at, to go and make disciples (Matt. 28:18-20).
“Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.”