When people envision their lives in the future too often they envision the very best version of what they want. If it is career, they envision the very best possible job. They envision this and are only truly happy if they get this kind of job. For some it is money and comfort. They see a life of comfort and financial ease as the key to a meaningful future and will be frustrated if it never happens. Education can be a focal point for some, and they feel they must have this or that degree before they can be truly happy.
I believe American culture is plagued by dreams that are too big and too selfish. These dreams are very likely to lead to disappointment and frustration.
I propose a different kind of dream. A modest dream. This does not mean ambition or dreams are bad. In fact, there is a very healthy place for them. But, on the other hand, we must remind ourselves about what is most important in our lives. God has made us to need and thrive in certain ways. God has made us for modest dreams.
If you want meaning, and lasting happiness I would suggest the following be at the center of how you build your life.
A Relationship with the Living God
I will lead with this. Nothing is more important than this. Being in right relationship with our Creator is of utmost importance. Our Creator God has spoken and reached out to us in His Son, Jesus Christ.
Be restored to God through Jesus. Find the peace you have always longed for. A moral life, a life lived around what I am going to list later, is not enough if God is not part of the picture. We must be in right relationship with God before anything in our life makes sense. It reorients us, points us toward eternity with Him forever, and helps us learn to love what He loves and hate what He hates. This is at the core of living rightly.
Be restored to God through faith in Jesus Christ.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. – Jesus speaking in John 10:10
Outside of God, you are living a half-life. You are like Voldemort feeding on unicorn blood in the forest outside of Hogwarts. Then, that half-life ends and you must face your Creator.
Now, what has God made essential to human flourishing?
A Strong Family
Not everyone will end up having a family, but most will. Dream of being the man or woman that can help build a home. A person that can raise children well. A person with the character and integrity to be faithful. That is a rare quality.
Do you want “impact”? Do you want to effect “change” in people? Do you want to move mountains? Do you want to make a difference every single day? Start a family. Family is the place where you can accomplish the most.
Families are where legacies are created. Not legacies that news stations will air, but legacies that determine the stability and joy of future generations. Dream big, by dreaming of family.
Do you want as much joy and laughter that this world can offer? Start a family. Be faithful to your spouse. Love your children. Your spouse and your children will give you more happiness and joy than anything else in this world. Will it be easy? Not at all. In fact, it will be the hardest thing you do in your life. But training for a marathon isn’t exactly easy. Why should such an incredible thing be easy? Dream big, by dreaming of family.
If you are single and never start a family, you can still have blessings like what I have been describing. Create a “family” by getting close friends that you impact for many years. Invest in their kids and families. Become part of a close-knit group of people that cherish and challenge each other. This is where your life can matter the most.
God has made us for this. God has made you for this. Dream of this. Poor your heart, grit and courage into a family.
A Good Job
I can hear the “duh” already. You will say “everyone says they want a good job”. You are correct. Usually what is meant though, is the preconceived job or job situation and only in that preconceived notion are they expecting a good job to be. Too many people pass on good jobs for the “right job”. Yes, there is a place to say no and to look for better. But, do no let that get in the way of simply having a solid and steady job.
Why? Because when you do get a steady job then your life becomes stable. You can start or secure a family. You can give to your Church, or other charitable organizations. You can begin investing in other areas of your life. You grow in discipline. You become good at something and expand that skill. Get a job, learn to be content. Learn you do not need to love your job to have a good job. Jobs are not the end all be all.
God created work and called Adam and Eve to work. This was all before the fall of man in to sin. Work is good and a blessing.
Build Thriving Relationships
God has made us to be in relationship. Like family, deep friendships are essential. We enjoy laughing, talking, and creating memories with people we love and enjoy. Friends challenge us to think differently. Friends are an outlet of influence and growth. Friends can help us through hard times. The best kind of friends are honest with us and tells us the truth, even when it hurts.
Do not be alone. It may be three, it may be fifteen. Whatever your number, sacrifice time and money to consistently enjoy and deepen friendships. I know that my life has been has been made by three things: faith, family and friends.
Do not neglect the power of wonderful, enjoyable, God-designed friendships. We were made to have thriving relationships.
Think Deeply & Enjoy Simple Gifts
To close I would add these two items. You should think deeply and enjoy the simple pleasures in life. God has given you these things to enhance your life and help you grow in your love of Him.
Think about sad, difficult, deep or academic things. Pursue the growth of your mind. Work through difficulties, expand your knowledge of the world around us. Pursue your passions.
Enjoy wonderful food. Enjoy a good meal with friends and family. Invest in knowing and learning the skills of a good conversation and then have them! Enjoy laughing and being intimate with your spouse.
Be content with the common gifts we all have access too. These are the gifts that will make us the happiest.
I believe these should be at the core of our dreams. Pursue and invest in these things.