Our church is beginning to read Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream by David Platt. We've done several books as a congregation and they are always so intersting to see different people's reactions and understanding.
But the title struck me. It has given me lots of food for thought. Mulling it around so to speak.
The American Dream
Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie, Fourth of July
First, we need a definition to work with, so to the Internet:
"Definitions of american dream on the Web:
•the widespread aspiration of Americans to live better than their parents did
•The American Dream is a national ethos of the United States of America in which democratic ideals are perceived as a promise of prosperity for its people. ...
Find more definitions here.
Two words: Aspiration and Prosperity jump out at me. What about you? Was it to do better than your parents? Or were you more bent towards the democratic ideals?
What is my American Dream?
To many, we live a life that they only dream of - our own home, two cars and a third for fun; two kids, one dog and an RV. We like to camp, 4-wheel and watch movies.
But those who know us, know those things have come at a price. Long hours of work. Sacrifice. And a butt-load of medical bills we've decided we will always have so we may just as well learn to live with them and embrace them as our own secret cross.
What are we living our Dream? Does our dream align with God's dream for us?
I always dreamed of having 4 children. I've given birth to two and God sent me two wonderful college kids - Chris and Kayle - to adopt. But it didn't stop there. The relationship with Chris and Kayle brought Hedy and Leah. And Nate and Erin. And then their kids - Eliana and Kara. And Hedy brought Mark and now Leah brought Malcolm. And Mark and Hedy are having a baby! God expanded my dream.
Now back to my own two kids. What a miracle! Man said we'd never have children. God said, "Ha!" Chris is handsome and happy and has an understanding heart for God. Ashley is a survivor! She's beautiful and courageous and her heart bends to the broken. They are more than I dreamed of in children.
In both scenarios, neither dream took place the way I had well, dreamed. Or planned.
Years of fertility drugs and surgeries. Then a pregnancy. My son has battled allergies and asthma since an infant. He was born with intestional issues that, shall we say, challenged us all. He didn't believe in sleep until he was 2 years old and his nasty, diseased adenoids and tonsils were removed.
My 2nd pregnancy was tough. Heart palpitations. Hemorrage after she was born. Then at 6 months old, the unthinkable. Our daughter survived a stroke. Now she has cerebral palsy. Surgery is a normal word in her vocabulary as are Medications and Doctors. She struggles understanding nuance and sarcasm. Some days her body just plain hurts.
Not in the plan. Not in my dream. Not in anyone's dream!
I'm reminded now of Joseph. He was a dreamer. Dreamed of ruling. His dream didn't included being beaten to near death by his jealous brothers, sold into slavery and spending years in a dungeon. Would Joseph tell us today that the journey was worth the reward? Worth the pain? The years away from family?
We all want the end of the dream. Not the beginning birth pains; not the middle struggle - just the reward.
I can't wait to see what God reveals to me in this book. Where is he taking me? Where is taking our family? Where is He taking our church? Where is He taking our ministry, our children, our marriage?
Honestly, I'm a little scared to. I'm comfortable. A little. Not too much. I want more than what we have now in terms of relationship with Christ.
How Radical to think - He wants more of me too!