In our society, it’s easy to see the benefits of living in a culture that values capitalism and free commerce. You hear the stories of that man who lived under a bridge yesterday and today sleeps in a penthouse. Or, that woman who didn’t have money to feed her kids last year and has a thriving company this year. If you walk around long enough you will see the drive in people to “live the dream.” We love this expression in our culture. Usually, it is defining a sort of euphoric level of accomplishment; a place in life where your worries seem to fly away because of the trophies on your shelves and the wad of bills in your fresh pockets.
The “American Dream.” It is what we should strive for...right? Well, to be honest, we have been chewing on this idea for some time. Is that really what we should want?
Now, don’t get me wrong, the team at OSleeper are full-fledged believers in hard fought victories and success gained by sheer determination and the sweat of your brow. Our hands have thick callouses and our heads usually hit the pillow in exhaustion at night. We believe in the kind of work that leaves you joyfully drained. But, our dream of starting this company came from a different place and brought us to an altogether different definition of the phrase “living the dream.”
Let’s step back a little and start from the beginning. I grew up traveling. I got to see the world, benefits of being the son of a flight attendant/pastor/missionary. From country to country I could see my check list of “cool stories to impress people with” growing and growing. I cliff jumped old Roman ruins at a reservoir in Northern Spain, I ran with the bulls, I butchered cows in Argentina, and I was a commercial fisherman in Alaska. My cocktail mixture of “good kid” and “cool guy” was poisoning me at my core.
You see the painful reality was that none of it was satisfying. Sure, in the moment, the experience was cool. But, I was just trying to be better/cooler/stronger than the next guy. The problem is that no matter how hard I tried to be the “good kid” or the “cool guy”, there was always someone better/cooler/stronger around the next corner. Thus, repeating the cycle:
- Cool achievement/story to tell.
- Meet somebody with a cooler achievement/story to tell.
- Self esteem plummets.
- Go try to find a bigger and better story.
- Ask myself deep down… There’s gotta be more
So that was it, really. Simply a fantastic letdown. I thought I could be good. Wrong. I thought I could be the best. Wrong again. I thought that if I fooled everyone into believing that I was the guy that they wanted as a friend/brother/son/boyfriend/husband, then maybe I could fool God. You guessed it..Wrong again.
The point of all this is that I am a really crummy god. I realized that I had known all about Jesus but I had never known who He was. No, not the white, long-haired, soft and wimpy looking Jesus that you see in stained glass windows. I’m talking about the Jesus whose eyes pierce your soul and show you the disgusting reality of your identity. The Jesus that takes that beautifully painful reality and swaps it for His own because He Loves you. The Jesus that is simply put, a Hero. A man who was God. A God who was man. Who looked at me and saw the hopeless pursuits that I thought would give me purpose. He showed me the deception in this and introduced me to a simple Truth: He IS good and He IS the best. If you want to know God, you must give up your pursuit to be one. It’s pretty logical. Square peg, round hole type stuff. I CAN’T be good enough but He was. I CAN’T be strong enough, but He is. I CAN’T pay for my wrongs, but He does. He gave up everything so that I could have everything. He became Hope.
What do you do when you have your eyes opened to a reality like this? You let it change your life. So to bring our conversation full circle, my love for Jesus completely redefined my definition of “living the dream.” Here at OSleeper we believe that “living the dream” means you use whatever God given gifts you have at your disposal to absolutely kill it. After you do, turn around and show people Who gave you those gifts. If you are a gifted painter...paint your butt off and joyfully show God’s heart to people through your canvases. If you are a realtor… you sell houses with the intention of being the best and introducing people to the Best. And, if you are a designer, like us here at OSleeper, design the coolest, most incredible furniture that you can. And as you do that, help people. Show people the joy inside. Through your work, give people a glimpse of the Man who helps you “live the dream.” No, not the dream to make a lot of money and drive a fancy car. The dream of doing something so well it changes the world around it. Working so hard that people wonder why. And telling the story of the real world changer.
Love God. Love people. We live that dream.
For anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”