Is This The American Dream…

…or is this “more like a nightmare?”

I can’t help it, but every time I hear this song, it “cuts me to the core.” Every time I hear it, I feel such a sadness for families in our country. I admit too, that this song is a reminder to me that none of us are “above” falling into this trap. However, it is my goal not to let society tell me what being “rich” is, but instead to let God lead me in determining the truth…

Check out these lyrics:

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“American Dream”

By: Casting Crowns

All work no play may have made Jack a dull boy
But all work no God
has left Jack with a lost soul
But he’s moving on full steam
He’s chasing the American dream
And he’s gonna give his family finer things

“Not this time son I’ve no time to waste
Maybe tomorrow we’ll have time to play”
And then he slips into his new BMW
And drives farther and farther and farther away

Cause he works all day and tries to sleep at night
He says things will get better;
Better in time

[Chorus]
So he works and he builds with his own two hands
And he pours all he has in a castle made with sand
But the wind and the rain are comin’ crashing in
Time will tell just how long his kingdom stands
His kingdom stands

Well his American Dream is beginning to seem
More and more like a nightmare
With every passing day
“Daddy, can you come to my game?”
“Oh Baby, please don’t work late.”
Another wasted weekend
And they are slipping away

‘Cause he works all day and lies awake at night
He tells them things are getting better
Just take a little more time

[Chorus]
So he works and he builds with his own two hands
And he pours all he has in a castle made with sand
But the wind and the rain are comin’ crashing in
Time will tell just how long his kingdom stands
His kingdom stands

He used to say, “Whoever dies with the most toys wins”
But if he loses his soul, what has he gained in the end
I’ll take a shack on the rock
Over a castle in the sand

Now he works all day and cries alone at night
It’s not getting any better
Looks like he’s running out of time

[Chorus]
‘Cause he worked and he built with his own two hands
And he poured all he had in a castle made with sand
But the wind and the rain are coming crashing in
Time will tell just how long his kingdom stands
His kingdom stands

All they really wanted was you
All they really wanted was you
All they really wanted was you
[Fading]was you

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**You may also view the video here.

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“The Needle in the Haystack…”

…or was it “the straw that broke the camel’s back?” Read on, and you’ll see what I mean.

I did something silly and absent-minded the other day, that could have been a “real headache” for me…

I went to get the lawn mower out of the shed, when I was distracted by something. I looked up and noticed that a small tree had fallen over onto our fence, so I went over to remove the tree. I picked it up a little , which proved to be more difficult than imagined, since a couple of small branches were hung on the fence. However, I managed to free the tree and flung it over the fence…

I immediately noticed that the tree was not all that I had flung over the fence! You remember how I went outside to do something else–to remove the lawn mower from the barn? Well, you see, the barn door key had been in my hand when I threw the tree over the fence, so I suppose you can guess what else went right along!

So, now a very small, tarnished, brown key was among piles and piles of old and decaying brown leaves. How was I ever going to find this key–this one and only key to our storage building? I needed to get into the barn, to get the mower (which needed repair), and to mow the yard. Anyway, you know it was just one of those really exasperating and frustrating situations that’s not “life or death,” but sure can “try your patience if you let it.”

Well, to be honest, there have been a lot of bigger issues at hand that have been weighing on me lately (I’ll spare you all the details). On top of these “bigger issues,” this week, a lot of little aggravations and irritations have come up in which I have wanted to say, “That’s it!” I know it sounds silly, but it’s like “the straw that broke the camel’s back” kind of thing.

However, I’m convicted by the Holy Spirit even as I try to continue typing! Is there a point as a Christian that I get to say, “That’s it”? If I’m in this for the long haul, I can’t even entertain that thought for a second! It’s like with my marriage–I didn’t go into it, already considering alternate options if “things don’t work out!”

I remember reading Julie’s blog a week or so back, and she made the point that sometimes we do need to just “give it up!” Of course, Julie was not referring to giving up on life, God, our faith, etc. Instead we need to learn how to truly give up on using our own strength and doing things our way. We all know that “our way” only leads to more frustration, heartache, etc. (You may read Julie’s post here).

You see, I make these plans for all these productive things that I am going to accomplish, but obviously things don’t always go the way I plan. When things go wrong, if I manage to quiet “my own voice,” and follow God’s lead, I have peace. However, of course, if I don’t let go of my own pride and stubbornness, I get mad and frustrated and only make matters worse!

You know, it’s funny how God can use anything, I mean anything to teach us something. Even something that seems so insignificant and small. We also extremely pale in comparison to His might and glory, yet He uses even us when we allow…

By the way, I did find that key, when I allowed Him to lead. You see, God can easily find “a needle in a haystack,” just as He can hear the voice of one sheep who has gone astray. God loves us, and He will help us even in the smallest details of our life if we let Him. He doesn’t promise us everything we want, just as He doesn’t promise us that we will get our way. However, He does promise to never leave us and to give us “peace that passes all understanding.”

Yep, I did find that key the other day, and I also found the peace I’d so quickly misplaced!

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“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” –Philippians 4:7