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Building your career vs. doing your dream (pt 2)

Continued from Building your career vs. doing your dream (pt. 1): Stop for a second and look at the big picture. What you really want to do is not to build a career so much as you want to build a life. To do that, you’v…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

Continued from Building your career vs. doing your dream (pt. 1):

Stop for a second and look at the big picture. What you
really want to do is not to build a career so much as

you want to build a life. To do that,
you’ve got to chase your dreams. Yet 90% of people don’t do their

I found the following anonymous piece on the internet:
“Imagine lying on your deathbed at age 80, and looking back on a life spent
behind a desk, pushing paper, managing someone else’s ‘business processes.’
Imagine looking back on a youth filled with limitless possibilities; on a time
when no effort or responsibility was too great to keep you from shrugging off
convention and finding something unique to look back on. Imagine having traded
all that in for years of security and routine.”

Dreams require commitment and hedging kills
. The trouble is that the
best stuff you ever do in life will probably be chalk-full of risk. The best
stories are the ones where people showed courage in the face of

While we’ve been created for a life of
challenge and adventure, we crave the coziness of electric blankets. We cling
to what we find safe and predictable. God made us to be mountain climbers and
bungee jumpers, to take our deep-keeled boats onto the high seas. But many of us would
rather live behind a desk, supporting a mortgage, two kids, and a reputation for
“niceness;” living in the safety of a shallow

To let go of your moorings and the expectations of parents and others concerning a career requires that you explore
risky possibilities. It seems reckless in that it embraces risk over security.
But when talking about taking a risk, the biggest risk is not pursuing your

The corporate life and the careers that it produces want
to harness you to a set of policies and procedures that can slowly choke the
life out of you. The soul refuses to be harnessed; it longs for passion, for

Comments (13)

  • The problem with most people is that they don’t know how to DREAM. They can’t get past the Known and explore the Unknown. Most are unfortunately content with the “Comfort Zone” How boring…Lets live life with risk, they make you a much better person, it allows you to DREAM and to stretch beyond what you think you are into the realm of what God says you are. Think about this quote.
    “If you want something you’ve never had… You’ve got to do something you’ve never done”

    DREAM BIG It Can’t Hurt You!!!!!

  • Actually, yes it can. (Sorry Scott, I know what you mean 🙂 )

    I think that’s the problem. Most people live their lives in avoidance of pain. Of course, I say this self-righteously, like I’m not one of THEM…

    I think Seth’s line, ‘…we crave the coziness of electric blankets…’ says it all. I like my church, my nice cars, my house with the cool piano, my Christian friends, etc. I don’t want to risk losing all this neat stuff. If I move out of my comfort zone, I might have to leave all that I love.

    A few years ago, I moved out of my comfort zone. It was painful, hard, and exhausting; one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

    Now, I’m in a new comfort zone. Maybe the scars have grown over and I don’t feel the pain anymore. But, I believe that God is asking me to move out of my comfort zone. Again. I feel kind of like a soldier; when I was first on the battlefield, I was gungho and ready to fight. Now that I know more of the hazards of war, I’m not as willing to go over the top and into the face of enemy fire.

    The struggle, for me, isn’t wondering if God will take care of me and my family; it’s knowing that it will be hard…see the above.

  • So what’s the difference between a career and work? We need to work..to earn the bread we eat. Paul writes about it. So most of us are under the yoke of slavery and should work hard to earn the respect of outsiders, right?

  • Great question. The blog was more about selling out to society’s conventions and settling for something that doesn’t nourish your soul as opposed to going for your dream.

    you can certainly have a career and do your dream – they are not mutually exclusive. in fact things have become so easy that it now takes just 6% of one’s income on average to survive (food costs). so survival is no longer in question as it used to be in Paul’s time. now it’s more a question of having the courage of one’s convictions and dreams.

  • “Let your heart run wild. Let your imagination go vagabond. No extravagance of human thought can ever plumb the depths of My planning and provision for My children.”
    ~ God, through Frances J. Roberts- “Come Away My Beloved”

    Preach on brother! Thanks for this I love your heart!

  • I’m really struggling with this theme right now because I’m chasing my dream of working with the poor of Latin America. Unfortunately I can’t pursue the dream completely right now because my wife has about five years of schooling/paying off debt left before we’ll be freed up to do mission work abroad.

    So, instead of moving to Mexico, I am quitting my desk job, becoming a Spanish teacher and buying a house in the Hispanic district of Oklahoma City, a few miles away from some pretty rough gang territory. Every person I’ve consulted, including my Christian friends (except Jeff), have bawked at the idea because it’s such a financially unsound move as well as a risky location in which to place my wife.

    So, am I supposed to do what I want and chalk it up as being a “fool for Christ” or listen to the advice of my mentors and be a “better provider?” If my ministry is fruitful, the naysayers might change their mind; but if my wife is raped or murdered, I’ll have live with that burden for the rest of my life.

    I guess that’s why it’s a risk…

  • My goodness Dustin, you made my hair stand up in ref to the possibilities where your wife is concerned. I guess this is where leaving it at the Lord’s steps are going to have to come in play. I couldn’t tell you that those things could not or would not happen to your wife, but many other things could too. When I am in conflict over a decision, I will usually hold a fast and seek diligently. I think sometimes as warriors for Christ, we feel as though we all have to quit our jobs and become individual wanderers. As a widow, I look to my home as my first ministry. I have had to trust that if and when God tells me to move into waters others cringe over, I lay my daughter and myself at his feet and we jump. When you spend time out of the U.S. my experience has been, it becomes less “scary” to do things that others around the world deal with daily. I suppose it’s all relative. Perhaps, writing out the various ways you could fulfill your dreams at least parttime would help. More often than not, we get a vision and take the reigns, when for me, God has ALWAYS had a way of making my life much easier for me than I do, plus He never promised we would not “suffer” Looking at it through my human eyes makes that impossible to swallow, but there’s something about being homeless in a foreign place and meeting Christ face to face in someone you didn’t know 5 min. before hand.. In the U.S., we would consider being homeless short of a tragedy, but sometimes, it’s just another avenue.. again, maybe it’s just relative..

  • wow, I just had a flashback to Al Pacino in Heat, I believe. “you can get killed walking your doggie!” for what it is worth.
    no matter where we are, God is our security and provider. I think many of us bore our guardian angels to death.

    I hope I can walk the dreams I have, I am trying. I just heard the counting crows today, and I will blog on it later, but they have a line: “maybe some day I won’t be so lonely, and I’ll walk on water every chance I get”. I am determined to walk on water every chance I get, even if at this moment the wind and the waves are shaking me up.

    One more thought here, I sometimes think of Satan and life as a fight. In a fight, a person can coverup and take a beating or swing fast and furious. This is not a boxing match with a ref or a corner who can throw the towel in for us, we are in a fight and we can choose to take a chance and fight or just take a beating.

    I have friends who get a lot of great advice from other Christians who tell them to take the safe way, and these friends are depressed and frustrated…I can’t say it enough, take a risk, failure doesn’t hurt that bad, what is there to lose?

    While I don’t have children yet, taking my wife out on the world race was such a huge risk for me, and I had to deal with issues such as worry about her safety etc. I decided this huge risk would further prove my God, somehow…

  • oh yeah, about pain. we will never be pain free. never.
    but we run from it. one of the first steps in life is acknowledging that pain is part of the process of… becoming who God wants us to be, whether it is called an initiation or discipleship or both.

    for most of us, pursuing our dreams will not cause real pain, just worry or possible insult to our egos. we probably wont go hungry, and some of us could probably use going hungry at some point in our lives, just to learn dependence anyway.

    we really have nothing to lose and most people who advise against going for our dreams are depressed because they have never gone for it either.

    In my life I have had the privilege to be surrounded by successful people. I have never heard a successful person tell someone not to take a risk. these successful people have many stories of personal failure and see failure as part of the road to success.

    I have learned to take the advice of people who I want to be more like, and not to ask it of those, well, you know…

  • Recently my husband became an entrepreneur. I guess I can’t say that he recently
    “became” one. I think it’s always been in his blood. As a result of quitting his full time job and chasing what we believe to be God’s calling on our lives, we have faced a good bit of struggle.

    Financially we are always a bit late paying bills. We have learned to be creative with the food we have (it’s amazing the new recipes we have come up with!), and have learned how to negotiate travel to make use of the gas in our two cars so we don’t have to buy more. Dates that used to be dinner and a movie have become long walks in the park.

    Beyond the financial though, we had to stop spending time with long time friends who either didn’t seem to support us or out right told us we would fail miserably. On almost a daily basis I have people tell me that it’s “really sad you gave up on nursing, you would have been an amazing nurse.” And I have to remind myself that I didn’t “give up” on any dream; I just went with a different one. We are learning to step into a place of depedence on Christ that I have never experienced, even in my 3 years with Adventures In Missions.

    If I didn’t know outright that God had called us into our business, I would run screaming for the hills. THIS IS HARD. And while depression has set in, and worry comes more frequently than I’d like, I know that this is part of chasing the dreams God has for us. And I know that He has a purpose for every step we take and every challenge we face. There is something in my character that needs to be changed or filed down so that I will be prepared for something I will face in the future. The Bible doesn’t call it a refining “fire” for nothing, right?

    A great friend of mine gave me a book recently called “In a Pit with A Lion on a Snowy Day.” It’s an enlightening look at what a change in perspective can do for us. Based out of 2 Samuel 23, it implores us not to look at 500 pound lions as fearful unconquerable obstacles, but rather to look at them as 500 pound opportunities. Check out the book – it will astound you.

    I agree that dreaming big can indeed hurt, but in the long run, I’ve found that the regrets of inaction cause far more trauma than those of action. And while this fire burns, I know that the joy on the other end far outweighs the pain.

  • Seth, a very interesting post. I was introduced to your site by very good friend of mine and we got talking about dreams versus careers, so she sent me your url so I could keep up with what she’s reading and being challenged with. I just breezed over it now and I’m curious about meditating on what you had written and filtering it through the lens of the Word of God. Ultimately, I see the two points in the Bible, you have Adam and Eve commanded to “be fruitful and multiple” and you have Paul’s missionary journeys. But let me ask you this, how does one make meaningful relationships in the midst of always following one’s dream? And when we do dream, does it always mean that we are to get up and move to something else, which shows a lack of commitment in an area of what we are doing? I’ll keep reading, but I just wanted to drop you a comment as it was fresh in my mind as I breezed over your work. Thanks for posting. Blessings in Christ.

  • Thanks for reading and commenting, TW.

    I believe it’s the law of sowing and reaping. As we sow in the kingdom, we will reap more. I have been given such an incredible bunch of friends thru my investment in ministry. It’s a cliché, but you can’t outgive God. Relationships are, after his presence, the most beautiful of gifts he gives.

    As to moving on, the answer is “no.” Jesus only did what he saw the Father doing. That’s all we’re required to do.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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