“If only I had _______________ I would be content.” What goes in the blank? We spend our lives chasing these blanks trying to fill them up believing they will bring contentment. Think about the nicest car you ever bought. Where is that car now? If you still have it, does it meet all your needs? Are you a better man because you drive that car? Or… has it now grown stale and you’re thinking, “Maybe it is time to trade up”? Sadly, this line of thinking/rationalizing has ended many a man’s marriage.
Blow all you want, that balloon isn’t going to do it for you (see previous “balloons” post) because of this …
Whatever “it” is, it will eventually go away.
Here’s what happens: it’s not just that you have a dream, but that your heart gets captured by your dream. It becomes your definition of “life”. You no longer hold your dreams with open arms.
What was once a desire has morphed into a demand, and it won’t be long before you view that demand as a need. This thing you once wished that you had becomes your nonnegotiable, the thing that you are unwilling to live without. Soon you’re unhappy, not because life has been hard or God has been unfaithful, but because this thing that is effectively and functionally now ruling your heart lies beyond your grasp. You are dependent and discouraged. You envy people who seem to have captured their dreams. You wonder why you’ve been singled out. You wonder why God has forgotten you. Is it OK to dream? Yes, but when your dream becomes a ruling thing, it wreaks havoc on your spiritual life.
So, back to our balloons. We build these things up. We orchestrate and, in many cases, manipulate life to make it go our way. We want all the breaks. We want all the chips to fall in the right places at the right time. We want our children to be successful. We want them starting at first base and batting fourth. We want them as the quarterback or the homecoming queen. We want our facebook/Instagram image of our life and family to be perfect. We want people to envy us. We want people to notice us. We seek fame and recognition. We dream of building our businesses to their maximum potential and then selling them out at the precise right time for the maximum payoff.
We want all these balloons blown to their max capacity to shine like a colorful rainbow of an abundant life. But we must have clear eyes about this.
Pay attention to what happens to your relationship with God as your dreams gobble up more of the turf of your heart. God is no longer the thing that motivates you and gives you courage and hope. God is no longer your source of sturdy joy. The glory of God is no longer the thing that you’re living for. Awe of God is no longer the reason you do everything you do. (New Morning Mercies)
Sadly, God has been reduced to a delivery system; your Savior has become Amazon Jesus. If He delivers, you’ll worship and serve Him, but if He fails to deliver, you’ll question His goodness and love, you’ll have little motivation to offer your life to Him.
Amazon Jesus … the man who wanted more and more and more and filled his arms up with stuff.
No matter what we accomplish or how much we’re able to enjoy or how much we’re able to acquire, still we feel like we’re striving after the wind. We never really gain anything.
So, keep going if you wish. Keep chasing these things and seeing how many boxes amazon can deliver to you. But pay attention to this “clear eyes” comment from from Alan Redpath a British evangelist …
“Crushed and brought back to our senses realizing God is going to have His way. One by one, God took them from me, all the things I valued most until I was empty handed. Every glittering toy was lost, and I walked earth’s highways grieving in my rags and poverty until I heard His voice inviting, “Lift those empty hands to me.” And so, I turned my hands toward heaven, and He filled them with a store of His own transcendent riches til they could contain no more. And at last, I comprehended in my stupid mind that God could not pour His riches into hands that were already full. When God wants to accomplish an impossible task, He takes an impossible man and crushes him.”
There is an impossible task out there God wants you to accomplish for the Kingdom. But you can’t do it if your arms are slammed full of the idols you’ve been chasing. God will eventually have His way. Perhaps it is time for me to lay my agenda down, time to empty my arms and clear my slate so the LORD can work through me. Otherwise it might take a storm and a lot of pain if I keep on running after “life” other than in Him.