Is the American Dream killing you?
One of my favorite writers speaks of the importance of story. Our lives are like a story filled with heroes and antagonism and transformational conflict and beautiful endings that we get to write for ourselves. Or our stories can be simple, safe, and boring.
Ask me my goals for my life in high school and I would have pretty much told you that I would want everything I have now. My life is headed in the exact direction I had hoped. A beautiful wife, four kids, a dog, two cats, a comfortable home that we designed and built, a rewarding job, and two lizards. The lizards were not part of my dream, but they don’t really do anything, so it’s okay for them to be included. In many ways I am living the American Dream.
The ultimate goal of this dream, however, is my own comfort. I am pursuing myself.
The end result of this story as it currently reads is retirement. The goal of all of this hard work and accomplishment is a nest egg. Security through finances. Comfort through security.
It sounds like a good enough story, and if nothing else it is safe and predictable, but it really isn’t much of a story at all. At least not one worth reading about. No movie offers from a major television network for me yet.
Despite the intended goal, the story does not end with my comfort. In fact it ends with the extreme opposite of safety. It ends with death.
The problem with the American dream is that it tricks us into thinking that a good story can be found in safety and comfort, which are both just an illusion. Not only is it not a reality, but it makes for a less than exciting story.
To quote Christine Caine, “The goal of life is not to arrive at death safely.”
A great story is lived out through the gospel. It is lived in the knowledge that the most powerful thing in the universe is the blood of Jesus. Empowered by his blood we can set out to accomplish things that seem impossible. The gospel allows us to put our finances and even our own lives at risk simply because the end goal is entirely different from the American Dream.
Your story belongs to you and you get to write it however you choose.
And with the gospel we can tell stories that are worth living.
Visit my new website!Thanks for stopping by. I have started a new blog about Living Better Stories that is updated on a regular basis. I would love to interact with you over there as well. JeremyStatton.com