Cultural Myth: You Can Be Anything You Want to Be

I get a bit concerned when I see our culture proclaim things which are not true.  I get even more concerned when those proclamations are repeated enough that they pass for certainties.  As a Christian I am alarmed that some of these untruths get perpetuated within the church.

These proclamations need to be identified as myth rather than truth.  One such myth is that you can be anything you want to be.  We tell this myth to our children.  We declare it at graduation speeches.  We sing about it.  Yet because something is echoed does not make it true.

Consider the lyrics of a song made popular by R. Kelly:

If I can see it, then I can do/be it.

If I just believe it, there’s nothing to it.

I believe I can fly

I believe I can touch the sky

I think about it every night and day

Spread my wings and fly away

Hey, cause I believe in me.

I Believe I Can Fly

No matter how long you think about, envision or hope for it, human beings cannot spread their wings and fly.  Some might protest that this is intended to be metaphor.  Exactly.  That is the problem.  We all have limitations that make doing some things or being some things impossible.

I can imagine playing quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys this season.  But a man in his 50’s who is closer to the weight of a linebacker should not sit by the phone waiting for Jerry Jones to call.

My sons probably had a few visions of dunking a basketball on a regulation goal.  But the combination of their father’s jumping ability and their mother’s height made that an impossibility.  They could dream about it.  They could see in their mind’s eye.  But it was not going to happen.

The problem is that we are trusting what is in our heart to tell us what we should pursue.  “I want to…”  I’m going to…”  Jeremiah told us that the heart is deceitful.  If this is true, what role does our heart play in what we pursue?

We need a new heart, a changed heart, a heart that is changed from it’s stony deceitful ways.  With a new heart that is in step with the Spirit and the Word, we can then claim the promise of God.

Delight yourself in the LORD,

and he will give you the desires of your heart.

–Psalm 37:4

Are you pursuing something that does not spring out of a heart that delights in the Lord?  It is our job to delight in the Lord.  It is God’s job to give us the desires of this kind of heart.

* Attached image used by permission of buikschuivers