What exactly is the American Dream? Wikipedia states that it is describes the guiding beliefs of our country, reminding us that it is rooted in the Declaration of Independence: All men are created equal and have the God-given right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
However, I wonder how many people have taken the American Dream further, to include success (both monetarily and socially), living in a nice, large house filled with high achieving, honor-roll children who are star athletes and lead-roll performers. They are, of course, the next generation to fulfill the American Dream. They seem to have it all and set the example of what living the American Dream looks like.
Does this mean, then, that those in America who are less fortunate, those who struggle to make ends meet or who have chosen a simpler way of life have missed out on the dream? Is money what is required to experience happiness?
We have seen time and time again that money is not the answer. Each year, we loose some well known citizens who seemed to have it all. Robin Williams (2014), Philip Seymour Hoffman (2014), and Whitney Houston (2012) list some of the most recent tragic deaths.
When our Founding Fathers established the country and its ideals, it was rooted in the truths found in God’s word; it had nothing to do with financial success. It had nothing to do with high achieving children. It had everything to do with who we are as God’s creation:
Life: God gave it and for that reason alone we exist.
Liberty: God created us not as robots, but as independent thinkers. He desires to be in relationship with us for us to make choices that are pleasing to Him, however, he gave us free will. Liberty means freedom of choices, right or wrong.
Happiness: Happiness is one of the many emotions given to us by God. It is perhaps one of the best emotions we can feel; an emotion valued enough that it was included in the Declaration of Independence. However, let us not forget that from the time God created the earth, He has given people the right to seek happiness. Adam and Eve had the right; they chose wrong by eating the fruit God had forbidden them to taste. Abraham experienced happiness many times over by following God’s instruction, even when he didn’t understand. His happiness was often times not in his circumstances, rather in his growing relationship with his Creator.
Yes, the American Dream can be pursued with the world’s standards of success, however, in the end what will it really matter? We cannot take any of the stuff gained on this earth with us (Matthew 6:19-21). We can pursue the life God has given each and every one of us with intention, making choices that bring honor and glory to the Creator and experiencing happiness while following Him and loving others.
Living the American Dream, the one intended for us, is only truly possible when we are living for Christ and seeking to bring Him glory. As you meet the day and of the demands it holds:
(1) Be thankful for life: Yours and those who’s little footsteps grace your crumb-ridden floors; those who are depending on you for one reason or another and those who are perfect strangers to you.
(2) Be wise in your choices. God gave you free-will. Use it to point others to Him!
(3) Be happy! Seek Christ a little more today, knowing that even when your circumstances do not appear to be in line with the world’s standards of the American Dream, He is enough!
Press on, Mustard Seed Girls! Live the dream God intended for you, loving those around you and impacting them in positive ways. May Christ shine through you and happiness overtake you regardless of your circumstances. Trust Him to wow you with His faithfulness and love.