Is Giving Up the American Dream Worth It?
Steve Solheim, Missionary, Honduras
The Call, January-March 2017
Ah, the good ol’ American dream. There we were in our little house with our little family and our little dog. We were well on our way in our careers and livin’ the dream. What more could we want as we sang: “Our house, in the middle of our street”? We had two cars in the driveway, and we’d just completed our deck—the biggest one on the block, mind you. Yes, we were doing our best to keep up with the Joneses.
I started my career in the military and worked my way into a great position managing the battalion helpdesk. After I left the Marines, I landed a contract job in the Twin Cities in Minnesota. Wow, I thought, these people are paying me to do what I love. How lucky can I get? For the next several years I bounced around from contract to contract, trying to land my dream job.
After 15 years I finally started my job as a systems engineer doing software deployment. But, there was one tiny problem with my dream job—I hated it. You see, I started out serving my country in the Marines. Then, I worked at various positions helping people with their computer problems. And now, I was stuck in an isolated corner way back in the IT department with no contact with the people I was there to help.
Meanwhile, we had just switched to a new church with a great youth program. Unbeknownst to us, it also had a great missions program. Through a series of well-orchestrated moves by God, we went on a two-week work team and a year-long volunteer assignment followed by a complete career change to honor and follow Him in Honduras. I was using my spiritual gifts of Helper and Service again as well as one I was completely unaware of: Faith.
With the extreme cut in income that we took going to the mission field, we thought we wouldn’t be able to do all the things we loved to do and that we would never be able to do the things we always dreamed of doing. That was a lie. For everything that we gave up, God has blessed us with more opportunities and even given us the opportunity to do things that we never even dreamed possible when we were trapped in the American dream.