My Unsuccessful Attempt at Chasing the American Dream

Dreams. We have all had them. Working in talk radio – where people often pay a station to air their program, has allowed me the unique opportunity to see an unusually high number of seemingly failed dreams up close.

I have seen the bright-eyed young man come in with dreams to promote his new business get frustrated and quit when he didn’t find an audience. I have seen long time radio veterans struggle to keep jobs and paychecks under the ever changing formats and consistent revenue losses of AM radio stations. I have seen Christian ministries pile up huge amounts of debt under the weight of trying to stay on the air because they think it keeps them relevant.

I love radio, and think there is still a place for it when combined with other forms of media in your ministry or business arsenal, but I don’t think the failures and broken dreams I’ve seen are only happening in radio. I also don’t think that failure is proof that you aren’t doing what you are meant to be doing. Failure often precedes success. I do, however, think that the lives of many people today are going unfulfilled, and I think I know why.

The once commonly agreed upon American dream – which was a white picket fence home, a good job and 2.5 kids has now been replaced with a term called living your best life. Living your best life is the new American dream having become the mantra of recent generations and can be seen or heard on book covers, hit TV shows and also in popular songs.

The phrase living your best life may now highlight a new American dream, the problem is that no one really knows what it is or how to attain it.  In past generations, we knew what the American dream was and people knew what they could do to attain it.  Today, if someone asked you what your best life would be, would you know?

If you would have asked me twenty years ago, I would have said I wanted to be a rock star. Ten years ago, I would have said a professional poker player. Five years ago, I would have said evangelist.  My own visions for my best life have changed over the years. It’s also worth noting that all my dreams surrounded my career. Until recently, I have always thought my identity comes from what I do.

We all want to have a good answer when someone asks, “What do you do?” Yet, since 75% of Americans say they aren’t doing things that make them happy, I would imagine many people don’t like their answer, So instead of figuring out what would bring them satisfaction and joy in life, Americans have changed how we answer the question.

Our once specific answer to the question of “What do you do?” now becomes the vague and subjective answer of, “Living my best life!”

When we tell others, or believe for ourselves, that we are living our best life, we are simply trying to live without judgment.  We don’t want others to look at us and think we don’t have our lives together. We don’t want our families to look down at us. We don’t want our spouse to think we don’t know who we are. Trying to live without the judgment of others is impossible because even if you were able to convince the entire world that you were living your best life, God and the crowd of witnesses to your race are still watching – and they all know better (Psalm 139:16; Matthew 12:36; Hebrews 12:2).

Our best life is not one that makes others think we are happy and have our act together. Our best life comes from discovering who and what God made you to be and faithfully trying to fulfill that purpose.

In 2012, I prayed every day for six months before God showed me some of His plan for my life. When I finally found God’s unique plans it was like being handed a map and my attempt at chasing the American dream ended. I was now chasing God’s dream.  I knew that God wanted me to start Testimony House, write books and tell others that God has a sentence for their lives. That was better than any plan I had ever come up with for myself.

For you, discovering God’s plan is something you have never thought to do. Most of us don’t even know it is out there. Remember we are told to chase the American dream, not God’s dream for our lives. God has plans to give us hope for our future and not to harm us (Jeremiah 29:11). He has also created you with unique abilities to serve others and use your talent in ways that bring you an abundance of satisfaction and joy (Psalm 16:11).

If you find God’s plan for your life, however, you will be faced with a new problem – which is no unbeliever will think you are living your best life anymore. In addition, when asked, “What do you do?” I now no longer have a succinct answer. I am a Christian, father and a husband who runs a ministry, host live streaming shows, writes books and blogs and works at a Christian radio station. None of these jobs pay very well, but I have great satisfaction and joy in them. 

We don’t know what the American dream is anymore and that’s okay. You don’t want to live that dream. You should want to chase God’s dream for your life.  You have been created to do great things through Christ (Ephesians 2:10).  Aren’t you interested in living that best life?

If you find God’s plan for your life, however, you will be faced with a new problem – which is no unbeliever will think you are living your best life anymore. In addition, when asked, “What do you do?” I now no longer have a succinct answer. I am a Christian, father and a husband who runs a ministry, host live streaming shows, writes books and blogs and works at a Christian radio station. None of these jobs pay very well, but I have great satisfaction and joy in them. 

We don’t know what the American dream is anymore and that’s okay. You don’t want to live that dream. You should want to chase God’s dream for your life.  You have been created to do great things through Christ (Ephesians 2:10).  Aren’t you interested in living that best life?


 Read more about finding God’s plan and purpose for your life