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How the Gospel Frees Us From the American Dream

How the Gospel Frees Us From the American Dream

I think most of us grew up with a dream—a dream to become someone others admire, to do something incredible and to change our broken world.

But, sometimes we grow up, and our lives don’t look exactly like they were “supposed” to look. We’re sitting in a job that doesn’t seem meaningful, feeling lost in the search for our calling. That’s certainly how I’ve felt in the past, until my prayers were answered.

Guidance and discernment brought me to three incredibly wise people, none of whom probably realized their simple words would bring me so much clarity. Their nuggets of wisdom are ones I can’t keep to myself. I pray they encourage you to see your current job placement with renewed perspective, joy and rest.

We should bring oceans to deserts.

I met a woman recently that worked full-time in ministry for many years and was forcibly making the transition back into corporate America. I apologized that she had to leave the ministry she loved dearly and she responded, “Don’t be, I’m ready to bring an ocean to the desert.”

Wow. Mic drop. Although she didn’t necessarily want to leave the job she very much loved, she chose to see the grand opportunity of working outside of the church. Leaving ministry would give her many more opportunities to minister to unbelievers, to bring water to a parched land.

You may not jump out of bed every morning to get to your job, but surely the Lord has placed you there for a reason and a season. At the end of the day, choose to be grateful for your job and choose to see what you have instead of what you don’t.

Think of the scope of opportunities you can take hold of when viewing your job from a renewed perspective. What does it allow you to do that another job might not? Perhaps you have the financial resources to serve more with this job. Or maybe you encounter more unbelievers that are thirsty for truth.

Whatever it may be, choose to see that.

The Gospel causes us to think differently about success.

I was all about the American dream growing up, and not only because I am the daughter of two immigrants. A high GPA and extracurricular activities would surely get me into a good college, and a degree from a prestigious institution would surely equal a high-paying job. Isn’t that what we’re all aiming for, after all?

One evening, while in my small group, the leader said these unforgettable words, “The Gospel frees us from the American Dream.” This short, simple phrase was cause for some serious self-evaluation.

Why was I running after this American Dream so intently? Reflection and prayer revealed that (for me) it was all motivated by selfish ambition. I wanted to have a big, fancy job, I wanted a big paycheck, I wanted a comfortable life. I was focused more on the American Dream than I was on His dream to see none perish (2 Peter 3:9). All of the sudden I understood what was really important in this fleeting life.

Don’t lose sight of His dream in the pursuit of yours; for His is eternal and ours is gone in the blink of an eye.

A job shouldn’t be your only source of fulfillment.

While having lunch with a friend and discussing our careers, she reminded me that I’ll never be 100% satisfied in any job that I have. I think that’s a mistake most of us make.

We think there is a job out there that will be everything for us. A specific job that will get our heart racing and bring purpose to our lives. Work was not designed to bring us full satisfaction in this life; only a relationship with Jesus can do that.

It’s okay to have a job that is simply the means to your living, because your purpose in life is not found in that. You don’t have to go running for the hills every time you end up in a “meaningless” job. Stick it out, be a light and pursue what makes you come alive outside of your nine to five.

Sometimes your job will just be a job. And that’s okay because your job is not what defines you, your identity should not be wrapped up in that. You can still become someone others look up to, you can still make a difference in your community and you can definitely still change the world. Find rest in knowing you are more than your day job.

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