The Dreams of Grandeur
As humans, I believe one very common denominator between most all of us is the hope to do something great in our lifetime. As children, when asked about our future, we will choose something spectacular and amazing; something that others would be in awe of. When we get older, our dreams change into something a bit more realistic, but we never really let go of the hope that we were meant for more than just the routine things of this life. More than just the mother who raises her children to be all that THEY can be while putting her own hopes and dreams aside. Or the father who’s always worried about his paycheck and whether or not it will cover all the household expenses. How about the young person facing college. She thought she always knew what she wanted to do with her life when she grew up, but now that college is staring her in the face, she’s not so sure anymore. Life doesn’t seem to be so full of promise as it was just a few short years ago. It’s at these moments that we stop and take a real look at our lives and we ask ourselves, “Why am I going nowhere! Can’t life be better then this?” We reflect on our dreams that tell us we are meant for more than just this, and once more we are disappointed.
The Dream Thief
Some of us have allowed moments like these to define our existence. We settle for the thought that “I will never be any better than what I am now, so why even try?”. While others of us use these moments to get even more determined. We work more hours to make more money and maybe one day, even become the boss! We throw ourselves into projects that consume our time in hopes that others will notice our progress and praise us for our efforts. But in the end, we realize we are still just as empty. The answer is simple as to why we feel this way; your life is meant for more than just a promotion or a completed project. It’s bigger than your college education and the degree you finish with. Your life was and is meant for something special! The real problem is that feelings of wholeness, completeness, and pure satisfaction are seldom achieved through the means by which we think they are. Even well meaning Christians find themselves empty and asking “Are you even real God? If you are, why do I feel so empty inside?”
The Defining Moments
Your defining moments are not measured by the successes or failures of others; instead, they are measured by your willingness to be selfless. The Bible has this to say about greatness: “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13 NLT). Our mind tells us the opposite: “When I become great, others would die to be me!” The soldier returning home from war does not receive a medal based on how many others kept him alive during battle. It was for his acts of courage and bravery. In the end, this act of valor that he is receiving a medal for was truly just an act of selflessness. Even the villain in every comic book is selfish and out for his own gain. The superhero, however, is selfless, putting his life on the line to protect the lives of others while not caring about what he gets in return. We know what defines greatness, we are just unwilling to put it into practice. Don’t continue lying to yourself believing that, “If my family were just more thankful for how hard I work”, or, “If others could just see how much potential I have I would finally start to feel more satisfied”. This is how bitterness sets in. The Bible, in Hebrews 12:15, tells us this: “Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.”
“So What Do I Do?”
For starters, don’t do acts of kindness in hopes to receive praises from others. This will lead to people not even wanting your help anymore. Stop looking for the “Great Big Things” to do and take time to minister to the little needs all around you. All the little needs will add up to a great need being met. Be grateful for what you have now and what’s in your hands will become more beautiful and meaningful. As an extra bonus, you will look back on your life in a few years from now and smile. This last point is the most important: Allow God to direct your steps in the here and now. You may think you’ve already been doing this, but the real indication of one who is lead by God is summed up in the words of the Apostle Paul. “I know how to live on almost nothing or everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength”. He tells you its a secret he learned to put into practice by first, no matter what he goes through, to be thankful, next to walk with Christ and last, to find his strength in Him.
Greatness is in the little moments of loving others and walking with Christ. Learn to lean on Him and not on your own understanding, in doing so, He will direct your steps.