March 04, 2021

Identity and the Lie of “Follow your dreams”


We’re not trying to be anti-inspirational this week, but… “you should follow your dreams” is a lie… What do we mean by that? Well, the problem with statements like “Follow your dreams”, “BE YOUR OWN HERO”, “You be you”, is that they’re crushing us. They put unhealthy pressure on us to figure out who we are, be a unique person, choose the right career path, and make choices that will lead to LIVING OUR BEST LIFE. 

In this episode of Spirit In Motion, Church on the Move Lead Pastor Whit George and Kids Pastor Adam Bush explore the topic of IDENTITY and the statement, “You should follow your dreams.” We like to call a statement like that a true lie. There’s a hint of truth to it, but ultimately the idea has resulted in a misunderstood, broken concept… a true lie.


A lot of times, when someone says, “Follow your dreams”, we don’t even know where to begin because we don’t even really know who we are. And when we try to figure it all out, it gets really complicated. What we’re talking about in this episode is identity—what makes you, you. We are bombarded every day with the pressure to live our best lives and be “something special”. What is your Instagram feed but more options of who you could be, where you could go, and what you could do? It seems like identity and fulfillment is the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow called “following my dreams”. But often, we hear stories of people who got to the end of the rainbow only to find that the gold they were looking for wasn’t there.

Look for steps, not master plans.

So how do you know who you are, and how do you build your identity? The short answer: time.  You build your identity over time. You discover who you are over and over again by taking one doable step at a time. The follow your dreams narrative wrecks people because it says that these “steps” need to be leading toward a master plan of success and fulfillment. It lies to you and tells you that you need to know every part of the master plan before you take a step. So there is a crushing burden of trying to figure out, “What college do I go to?” “What do I major in?” “What job should I take?” and the narrative of our lives becomes “I DON’T WANT TO SCREW THIS UP.” 

The invitation of Jesus is, “Come follow me.” 

What if instead of “follow your dreams”, you changed the narrative to “follow Jesus”? Following Jesus is a FAITH journey. He has the master plan, and you don’t really know where He’s taking you. Following Jesus means being led in steps, not master plans. So as He puts a small doable step in front of you, you take it.

By faith, Abraham, when called to go to a place, he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. — Hebrews 11:8 

We see throughout scripture stories of people taking a step even though they have no idea where they are heading. Those stories illuminate a truth about God’s relationship with humanity… He does not give people master plans; He gives them steps. What would it look like to release the crushing pressure of following your dreams and begin to simply follow Jesus? 

Looking for more on this topic? Listen and read,  Lost dreams: How to recognize, embrace, and grieve them well.

Listen to Whit and Adam explore this subject in-depth on this week’s episode of Spirit In Motion on Apple Podcast, Spotify, or YouTube.