An Out of Control Dragon Egg
What happens when you reach the pinnacle of success and find it does not make you happy? It is unfulfilling. Many times, we climb the ladder of success only to find out that we have reached the top of the wrong wall. Our trust cannot be in our “success”. We see others with money and power and strive to attain it and find out it is fleeting. It ultimately is not fulfilling. If it were, we would not see so many celebrities that have money and fame committing suicide and divorcing. If success were the key to happiness there would not be so many unhappy people who have all these things.
Solomon said, “Vanity, vanity, all is vanity. Ecclesiastes is totally obsessed with this word.” The New International Version says “I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” Solomon tried out every form of external happiness and found it was like chasing the wind. He never could catch or find it.
What Happens When Success Takes Over?
In our podcast #6, we talk about Bill and how he is working so hard to please his wife with what he is doing. The dragon egg of success has now become a full-fledged fire breathing dragon. Bill no longer controls it. It is consuming him, and his marriage is breaking down. His wife is thinking, “why don’t you talk to me anymore?” “You don’t spend any time with me…”. Bill needs to get help in dealing with this dragon that has become unmanageable. He is saying one thing and doing another. He says he wants to spend time with Joan, but his schedule and behavior show something different.
1 John 2:16 “For all that is in the world. Desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and the pride of life. That is not from the Father, but it is from the world.”
But our goal is to reflect the image of God and not the world.
The question is, where is my value? Is it in the outward things we do? Is it in the response of people liking us or giving us attention?
With Success, Comes Applause
When Pauly was young, her parents put her in dance lessons. She came to really enjoy dancing – and the applause that came with every performance. What would happen if Pauly did not get the applause or was no longer able to perform on stage? The applause and attention became her identity and became an idol. When that was gone, she had nothing left to boost her ego.
Many athletes have been working their whole lives to become “the best” and then they get there, and they find that is not enough. As Pauly says in podcast #6, “it becomes tasteless”. It is a part of life to perform but it is not life.
Success is Temporary
Another area that is pushed hard on in our society is trusting in our good looks. When we are young, we don’t think we will ever grow old. But beauty is fading and as we age, we realize we can’t depend on our outward beauty or good looks to get us by in life.
The prophet Ezekiel penned an allegory that compared Jerusalem, the capital city of the Jewish nation, to an adulterous wife who prostituted herself. “But you trusted in your beauty and used your fame to become a prostitute,” he wrote.
Positivity Turned Negative
We live in a society whose mass media persuades us that we need to be beautiful (or handsome) and great things will happen to our lives if we will buy the products they advertise. Although we recognize the lies in these sales pitches, we hear and see them so often that they subtly persuade us through their repetition. These deceptions are difficult to overcome. They’re part of the spirit of “this present evil age.” The false value system created by an emphasis on physical appearance is especially difficult for someone who is considered beautiful. Many of the top models we see in magazines and TV look amazing but have some of the lowest self-esteem and worst views of themselves. The outward beauty many times is hiding the inward pain.
Remember the evil queen in Snow White? “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” Whenever the mirror revealed someone more beautiful than she, it threw her into an emotional tailspin. Snow White threatened the queen’s significance, acceptance, security, and love. When this type of thinking reaches the stronghold stage, we encounter problems like bulimia, anorexia, anabolic steroid abuse, and a host of other self-destructive behaviors.
How Do You Battle These Dragon Eggs?
God never intended that you trust in your superficial looks, but that you trust in Him. God doesn’t love you for your beauty, but rather for who you are! Our trust cannot be in what we do or produce, in our outward appearance. Our value comes from Him in whom we trust.
Stay tuned for this week’s Trust Minute video with Alan Heller, where Walk and Talk dives deeper into the emptiness of success.