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How Far Should You Pursue the American Dream?

May I ask you a question? Is it ever okay to quit?  To let a dream die … just because you don’t want it anymore? A dream that was 30 years in the making?

Is it alright to shut the door on a lifetime of perfecting your craft?   Can you walk away from daily desiring to be the best and seemingly achieving it?

Is it wasting your God-given abilities to say, “I just don’t want to do this anymore?”

This year I have done just that.  I closed the door on 20 years.  I hung up my chalk, turned in my Teacher’s Editions, and left my classroom for the last time. I had listened to the masses long enough.

“Perform. Excel. Be it all. Have it all. Do it all … You can! You should”

I did! But I don’t want to anymore.  My “American Dream” was turning into a nightmare. I found myself living for applause.  Mining for my value in what I was doing, and not who I was. Let’s face it, it defined me!  I was TEACHER. I had ultimate power. I touched tomorrow every day. It was my badge of honor.

I justified the long hours as “ministry,” and while it was (a little), it was honestly, more of an ego boost than evangelical. My life was “on mission.” My classroom was my mission field.  I was purposeful about making sure that it was known in my class: things would be different.

But, Acts 1:8 got my attention:

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere–in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

It occurred to me:  Have I missed  Jerusalem?  Have I been so focused on “ends of the earth” that I missed the part under my roof, right in front of me?

Not too long ago, I was helping my daughter do something that I’ve never done before–fix her hair for school in the morning.  You see, all the time I was “teacher,” she had to do this all by herself. That morning, as I brushed her hair, she just smiled and said “Mommy, I like it that you’re here now. I don’t have humps in my ponytail anymore. I never could get it right without you, but I didn’t want to tell you. I knew the other kids needed you, so I had to share you, but I needed you too.”

I was dumbfounded.  Something so simple, and I had clearly missed it. Convicted, I had to ask myself a  question: “What have you been missing by being so busy saving the world?”

It was time to make a change … it was time to let the dream die.

Now, I am not packing anyone’s bag for a major guilt trip.  We all have responsibilities and choices in this life.  We are all busy working at something. We all have dreams and aspirations.

My question to you is painful, but simple:  “What is it costing you?” “What are you willing to pay?”

About Raney Mills

Raney Mills

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