The world we live in is ruled by ambitions. A good CEO, who’s at the top of his career ladder, would never have reached there if he wasn’t aware of his ambitions, and set his goals according to them. Every teenager who has to make a career choice will be told to be ambitious about it and to try his/her best to achieve something in life. The dictionary describes “ambition” as the pursuit of something greater, a strong desire towards a specific goal.
As a mother, I love my kid’s ambitions. For example, my son’s ambition to win the school cup for the 5th time. He is certain, that he will be able to achieve it and gives his all to do so. My daughter attended a kids-club from a church in our neighborhood during the school holidays and loved it. For days she insisted, that we would start attending this church. When I finally asked precisely why she’s so eager to start going to this church she gave me an unexpected and very ambitious answer. She wants to help at the kids-club and one day wants to become a leader at the club. When I asked again, to be sure I had heard her correctly the first time, she replied full of confidence that she wants to be the main leader for this kids-club and would of course need a team that would help her with this task. My daughter, who is only ten years old, has ambitions to be a leader!
What is found to be completely normal in “the world” doesn’t find that much recognition within Christian communities. There, ambitions are often considered a threat or even worse, seen as pride or vanity. If someone would mention his/her ambition to become a primary leader or to take over a certain department, the question “why do you want to do this, and isn’t it more for selfish/self-glorifying reasons?” would probably come up. To be humble is a highly respected character trait and often mixed up with “don’t say anything and wait”! We hope that God will put us directly into the position we secretly hope for, and we let others choose which opportunities will be given to us as leaders.
As women we tend to be even more careful than our brothers in Christ, because it is unpleasing to be seen as a high-flying woman. The label “feminist” (which still has a negative smack to it) or “women’s libber” pops up quickly without context. So we often just stand in the background and wait. Wait for chances, which may never come.
Over the years I have realised that healthy ambitions have a lot to do with a healthy self-esteem. And both are biblical! If our ambitions are pointed towards God, to glorify him and to increase his glory, why should we think small?
If our ambitions are pointed towards God, to glorify him and to increase his glory, why should we think small?
Why shouldn’t we use our gifts and opportunities to make our ambitions come to pass? Over the years I have learned to share my ambitions with God, and to ask him what he thinks about them. This process was freeing and brought a whole new dimension of trust into my relationship with God.
Today I ask every person that I mentor what his or her ambitions are, and I try not to let a simple answer pass. Too many (big and brave) ambitions are covered in humble Christians set phrases. They sound nice but they are far from the truth. Neither are they are not helpful for a person’s growth process. We cannot invite God into our ambitions, and we as leaders cannot support the ambitions of others if they stay hidden or aren’t acknowledged. God needs our ambitions, light flooded and sanctified by him, to build his kingdom. Why would we want to miss out on that?
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