I have many goals and dreams that are primarily rooted in a desire to magnify God, build the Church, and spur the mission. Ambition—when oriented rightly—is a good fruit in Christians that should be encouraged!
But too often, sin pollutes things.
I recently drafted an article exploring this topic of “godly ambition.” At the time, I actually had it. I was excited and driven, working hard with my eyes focused on God. But the draft still sits in a folder, unfinished. I don’t write when my heart’s not in the game, and the topic felt foreign because my focus had drifted from God. Ambition was still there, but not the godly part of it.
Rather than pursuing my goals for God, I’d been pursuing my goals as god.
This wasn’t the first time. Idolatry infiltrates so much of what we do, morphing good things into oppressive rulers. How many people—in seeking fortune or fame—end up forsaking God? How many people—while building businesses and brands—have left trails of hurting people behind, disposing of them because they were “barriers” to success. When God is not the center, everything runs amuck.
We usually don’t start off by making train wrecks of our dreams, so the danger can be hard to perceive. It’s in the small things. Like me snapping at my son when he interrupts my writing. Like seeking comfort in food before God when I get another rejection letter. Like feeding discontentment about where God has me because I’m so consumed with where I want to go.
It must be a daily battle—this reorienting of our hearts to set our eyes on Jesus. Loving Him is the ultimate goal. And all the passions, talents, and ambitions He’s given to us are to be leveraged in service to Him.
Dreams lead to destruction if they’re not submitted to Christ.
So today, I’m taking a break from my goals—and the podcasts and books that inspire me to reach them—and I’m focusing on repenting. Repenting to God for loving idols more than Him. Repenting to my children for the many times I’ve been irritable and viewed them as burdens and distractions rather than precious gifts. God’s love is infinitely better than the admiration of a million readers, and the children He’s given me are far more valuable than any best-seller list.
Consider your dreams and ambitions—even the ones you feel were planted by God. Which ones are stirring discontentment and crowding His place in your heart? Pray earnestly that you’ll submit them to Him today.
He is better than anything else (even the good things!) we chase.