Why It’s Time to Start Chasing Your Dreams
A few years ago I had an idea. It might sound crazy, but I wanted to be a life coach.
Please understand, not one of those herbal gurus who sip tea between whispers and ask their clients to connect with their spirit animal. Not a Tony Robbins type, either. Rather, I had found victory in some areas of life and wanted to share my findings with others, and this occupation seemed like a good match.
So I told my parents over dinner at Olive Garden. I had already told my wife a couple weeks earlier, and like she does for a lot of my starry-eyed dreams, she smiled and nodded. “Okay, cool!” she said.
Mom took a break from her salad to ask, “what’s a life coach?”
“It’s someone whose taken what he’s learned in life and tries to help others,” I said. “I want to use my 9 to 5 work hours to help others find their footing in life.”
She looked puzzled. “Why don’t you work your job and in your spare time do that? That’s how our generation did it.”
She wasn’t just talking to me. She was addressing my generation. Because it’s true, chasing dreams was pretty near offensive, until maybe my generation. And it’s still taking some getting used to.
Of course I didn’t become a life coach and I now have no plans to. If you haven’t been able to tell I have changed my plans and have set my sights on one day making my living as an author. Here’s why I’m becoming comfortable with it, and why you should, too.
The Family Business
Jesus’ father was a carpenter. Interestingly, it was commonplace in their culture for boys to follow their father’s footsteps. So that’s what we believe Jesus did. And it’s worth noting that in the tree-less desert, he didn’t work with wood as we may think of modern carpenters, but with stone. But that’s a side note.
As Christians, Jesus is our example, right? For that reason I always admired his humble career choice, noble for a man with his skill set. Punching the clock and earning an honest living, not to be led astray by worldly career choices. And, of course, working his passion on the side.
However, perhaps one of our greatest ongoing mistakes is taking Jesus’ example from over 2,000 years ago and applying it to our modern culture. Until now, his career choice has sometimes made my own yearnings seem carnal and selfish. That seemed the holier stance, but it never felt quite right. Possibly because it wasn’t.
Why Jesus Was a Carpenter
It’s also interesting that we read about all sorts of events in Jesus’ life, but none of them about his work. In fact, it is still debated whether or not he was a carpenter due to how sparsely it is mentioned in scripture. We never read about a miraculously ornate home he just finished or his holy patience with a torqued off customer or in a visit to Home Depot. Too bad, I could certainly use that.
I actually don’t believe he chose the carpenter job because it was a humble one. Instead, it was a different sort of humility, following God’s commandment to honor his father, Joseph. It would have been highly offensive in their culture for a son to not follow in his father’s occupation. It would have been an embarrassment to Joseph and his family and would have caused great tension. So it is my belief Jesus would have likely entered a different line of work if it weren’t for this cultural standard. One that would have aligned more with his overall mission and been referenced more in scripture.
But in the meantime he plugged away at what he truly cared about. Which, for him, was not a hobby, either. Saving the world from sin and death. No bigs. And it’s true that’s what my parents’ generation did. Due to both cultural expectations but also financial opportunity and resources, they worked their jobs and kept their interests on the side.
But let it be known we aren’t chasing our dreams in spite of the example set by previous generations, but rather thanks to the fruit of their labor. It’s thanks to their hard work that modern society has been able to reap more opportunity as a culture, both in the marketplace and its resources. And nobody has ever given me a dirty look for not becoming a TV store owner like my dad. So that helps.
So, today my goal is to one day be a full-time author. This isn’t just a hobby, it’s much more than that. I feel it’s my life’s work. And I’m sticking with it much longer than any other dream (i.e., life coach, professional baseball player, chiropractor). I believe this is what Jesus wants, and that he would want it for you, too.