“When success is equated with excess, the ambition for excess wrecks us.” —Switchfoot, American Dream
We live in a complicated world—one that has confused excess with success.
We desire lasting significance and influence and impact, but spend most of our time chasing temporal possessions.
Consider how many of our resources are directed towards this accumulation of material goods. We spend our hours earning money. We spend our money buying products. We waste our energy caring for them. And then we punch the time clock on Monday to start the process again.
For an economy based on consumerism to thrive, goods must move. Money must be earned, money must be spent, and the demand for material possessions must continue to increase. Our economy must constantly create goods and manufacture needs.
The result is a world of excess. Even when basic physical needs are met (shelter, clothing, food), the cycle must continue. More goods must be created and more need must be manufactured.
Excess becomes the unintended goal of a consumeristic economy. (tweet that)
Somewhere, understandably, excess also became the goal of the individual. Whoever dies with the most toys wins became the reigning mantra of our culture.
This was an unfortunate turn.
Our souls long for greater accomplishments than the accumulation of material possessions. Nobody sits across the table from another human being and unequivocally declares their greatest goal is to own as much stuff as possible. We think and dream in much broader terms.
We long for something greater than material excess. Our hearts define success differently.
We desire significance. To be known as good fathers and mothers and husbands and wives and friends and citizens.
We desire influence. To use our gifts and make the world better. We want to know our lives mattered for something.
We desire freedom and opportunity. Not just for ourselves, but for others.
We desire love. To be fully known and fully accepted.
Unfortunately, too often, our unchecked pursuit of more stands in the way of this success. Excess material possessions steal our money, time, energy, and freedom. Our definition of true success gets lost in the noise.
Rediscover your greatest goals. Redefine your greatest pursuits. And refuse to equate material excess with lasting success.