We visit my family in Austin often. It’s a part of lifestyle, we can travel for work and so we do. But something happens to me when I visit home. I become very introspective and sensitive about the journey that like has taken me on thus far. I find myself justifying and defending why my life looks different than I thought it would. Particularly in this season of our lives.
Perhaps it’s a childhood thing, perhaps it’s sneaky lies that creep in, perhaps it’s insecurities. Most likely it’s a little bit of it all.
But during my last trip home, I came to the realization that my life looks so different, because I’m not chasing the American Dream – I’m chasing God.
And while the two can certainly intersect they are definitely not the same thing.
Chasing the American Dream means to seek security, popularity, wealth, accumulation …comfort, above all else. Chasing God means to seek Him in every aspect of your life. It means to know Him intimately. It means to follow where He leads you, to speak the words He has given you. To love the people He has brought to you. To do the things that He has asked of you…above all else.
And for me, the walk that He has me on looks very different than the American Dream.
And to be honest, that’s really hard for me because I don’t like to be different. Some of you may chuckle at that, knowing the things that I’m pursuing in life – but I physically cringe when I think about sticking out in a crowd. And yet God has set us apart. He has called us to be different, significant, bold and loving. We’re called to be a light on the hill – something that is so different than the rest of this world that others can look at us and at first glance recognize Him.
Typing this out, I realize that this is such a strategy of the enemy – to encourage us to cringe at the thought of being the exact thing that God has created us to be. The lying allure of shrinking back and shutting up instead of standing tall as the beautiful, radiant, bold beacon of hope and truth that you actually are.
When I look back at my college days and most of my 20s, I had this incredible chameleon-like gift to morph into the crowd that surrounded me. I could magically change my demeanor, behavior, what I liked or disliked, even the way I talked to mimic the people that I wanted to be around. I spent so much precious time pretending to be a certain person because I didn’t know who I truly was – and even more, I didn’t know if I would like her.
It wasn’t until my late 20s that I had the courage to finally step back and allow God to start showing me who He had created me to be. And not surprisingly, my life started changing and it hasn’t been the same since. Today I look back and think – whoa, how did I get here? Who am I?
And similarly, throughout the years I have had those around me ask me the same questions.
Because as you walk this journey, the journey of allowing God to reveal your true self – you will find that those who have not yet walked the path themselves often criticize you for changing, even accusing you of pretending to be someone else. But the mysterious beautiful truth is that perhaps for the first time in your life you are actually being the true you. The authentic, whole you that you were created to be.
So if I ever have someone ask, what happened to you?
I can now (though I haven’t always been able to) proudly say, “Jesus”. And it has been a freeing, exhilarating, refreshing, terrifying and paradigm shifting journey.
Friends, I won’t lie to you and tell you that chasing God is going to feel awesome all of the time. Nor will I tell you that I get it right every day. Sometimes I’m chasing my vanity, my insecurities, or other’s approvals instead of God. But He is always graciously waiting for me to get back on track and to follow His lead. And when you do follow His lead, I can tell you that there will be times when it is hard and painful. You’ll think about stopping and there will certainly be confrontations, hard conversations, deep life-changing realizations. And let’s be honest, I didn’t exactly realize that when I chose to wholeheartedly pursue God and his calling on my life that it would lead me to my in-laws house, with my husband and a baby, trying to build a tiny house on wheels so that one day we can own land and a retreat center, while also tirelessly working to build the businesses we feel called to. (I mean if that’s not glamorous Instagram living, I’m not sure what is!)
But now that I’ve begun this journey, I can’t imagine living another way.
There is something exhilarating and deeply intimate about knowing in the depths of your bones that your Creator is walking two steps ahead of you and holding your hand at the same time.
That if you choose to remain in Him and seek His heart first then He will take you on the most incredible, life-giving journey. It will be filled with twists and turns, cliffhangers and a guaranteed happily ever after with unconditional love. The American dream can’t hold a candle to it.
So, I leave you with this to think and pray about. What are you chasing? If it’s God, I applaud you and cheer you on the journey. I pray that you are surrendering everything to Him so that He can fill you up in ways that you never knew was possible. And if it’s not God, I pray that you would consider what it could look like if you chose Him over whatever it is you’re chasing. Because, I promise it can not and will not deliver the freedom, the acceptance, the love or the purpose that God can.
So what are you chasing?