Sunday, February 08, 2015

The American Dream

I feel a constant tension between achieving the American dream and living my life to serve Christ. I do not see how those two can go hand in hand although I wish they could. Can I have it both? Why does it seem like so many Christians have it all-- the perfect house, job, and ministry. Why don't our lives seem to be compatible with having it "all."

When I look deeper into these fears, I see a constant tension between living for my desires and comforts and living for Him. I want to honor him with my money, my work, and my thoughts, but I also don't want to struggle to have enough money to house and feed ourselves. At some point, we would also like to have children (cha-ching--I can literally hear our bank accounts emptying with the very thought.)

Is it selfish to want to have children? Surely this is a common life ambition that is more ubiquitous than the American dream. However, having children in America seems like it costs a small fortune or the equivalent of purchasing a small home in other countries. Maybe this is why the fear is so real that with having children will come the inability to provide.

The fact is, having it all doesn't exist, so I should not pretend that it does.  I am able to accept this truth.
And if I have to sacrifice anything, I would hands-down chose to sacrifice the American dream. I don't want to get sucked into the dream only to realize it's a night-mare where God is nowhere to be found because I have replaced him with power and security I thought money could give us.

This tension runs deep and true, and I have never been more aware of it than living here in America. Here in America everyone is so aware of how much they make and how much they could be making working somewhere else or doing something else. The pursuit of money and power is like a tumor that lives inside each of us all and grows as we give it more attention.

I pray that I can move beyond this tension in my heart and in my mind. May God give me the grace to see life beyond the utopia of the American dream that says "you can have it all. See, I did it; you can too."

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