I’m making my way through Dave Harvey’s Rescuing Ambition. It’s been really great at getting to the heart of ambition and make distinctions that tease apart what godly vs. selfish ambition looks like. It’s been great for me in terms of how I’ve been wrestling with reconciling the voices that say “COME ON, DO IT FOR GOD!! DREAM BIG! GOGOGO!” with the truth that well, we don’t dream dreams for God, we just live in obedience step by step…and we don’t have to do something ‘great’ to be great in God’s eyes.
I am finding that I am way more ambitious than I’d thought! God is helping me make sense of some of the things that have happened and are happening in my life by seeing his hand in placing “fences” in my way to direct my path. I see how he has been using situations to expose self and purify my ambitions and dreams. I am learning that I am called to live in the tension of having great future aspirations for God’s glory with contentment in the now, and that to do so I must find my satisfaction in him alone.
I highly recommend the book! =)
Some good quotes (bolding added):
God loves us so much he’ll intentionally fence us in to keep us on his road. This can be hard, I know. It’s never easy to stare at a fence suddenly blocking the path we want to take. But God fences our roads to keep us moving in his direction…We find no peace in life until we’re convinced our path is his way and our place is his choice. This is so worth repeating: your place is his choice. Fences and all. (78-79)
Contentment means being satisfied and at peace with God’s will in all situations. It’s a state of the soul where your desires conform to wherever you find yourself…Since Paul’s ambitions were not selfish, he could live with them unfulfilled. Sure, he had dreams and desires- but they were God-focused, not Paul-focused. If they remained unsatisfied, that was God’s business. So Paul was able to aspire for more while resting peacefully in what God’ provided. He hungered for more but was happy with less. Deferred dreams didn’t eat away at him. Paul could be at peace in the present without abandoning hopes for the future. (123)