I’ve been in a weird place the last few days…I watched an old home video of myself as a kid last Friday which brought back a flood of old memories and feelings that frankly I found overwhelming. I was surprised. It caused me to remember in stark detail how much energy I’d put into becoming the person I thought I wanted to be. All those dreams and aspirations from a young age based on a projection of myself which turns out to have been profoundly wrong. It may sound foolish to say this, or perhaps perfectly ordinary, but I grew up wanting to be successful in my ambitions as a musician and a tech entrepreneur. I grew up wanting to build a little empire for myself, with just enough riches and fame to be influential. I never wanted power for power’s sake…just a measure of power in order to enrich other people’s lives. That’s all anyone ever asks for, right? Let’s all pursue our passions and make a difference! With hard work and determination, anything is possible. That’s the American dream!
Only it’s a sham. Success is a moving target. Every time you get “there”, it’s not good enough. You want more. You need a new dream. You need further challenges. Once something becomes easy, it becomes boring. My grandfather was a brilliant and passionate man who could accomplish almost anything he imagined. Yet he died having truly accomplished nothing. His legacy was of a life spent always pursuing the next big thing while abandoning the previous thing before its time.
I never met my grandfather, as he died just before I was born, but I see that same tendency in me, and it scares me at times. Yet I know for certain that I am not the little boy that I saw in that home video any more. My identity has changed, or rather I have discovered my true identity. I am not defined by what I own, or where I live, or who I’m networked with, or how I dress, or the things I do. My identity lies in who God says that I am. For I am His child, precious in His eyes, bought with a price, hidden with Christ and seated with Him in heavenly places, destined to rule and reign with Christ for eternity. My Father loves me and I love Him. Jesus said “I and my Father are one” and Jesus brings that same depth of relationship to me. He can bring it to you, if you desire it.
I know God has big plans for me, and great things are in store. Yet that’s not my focus anymore. I grew up believing I was an Artist. Now I may be an artist in the sense that God has given me artistic talents to use for His glory, but I am not an Artist. Nor am I a “Computer Geek” (well… ). I am a disciple of Jesus. And that gives me great comfort, because success is always at hand! Empowered by the Holy Spirit, I can live each day in a love dance with God, doing His will with joy and abandon, and some day when I look back on my life, I can see that the more I spent my time submitted to Him, the more fulfillment and true success I achieved in my life. And that’s not just a legacy left here on earth but is something I can take into eternity with me!
I know this is an oft-used verse, but I think it is one of the most awesome statements Jesus ever made. We would all do well to keep this close to our hearts.
“Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” — Matthew 6:33