Is it wrong to daydream about being successful?


I often find myself daydreaming about being successful.  I daydreamed about impressing my teachers with my papers and presentations, daydreamed about winning awards for the things I create, daydream about guys being impressed with my godliness and wanting to date me, etc. Basically, anything I am doing or am planning to do, I daydream about how it makes other people proud of me, makes people take notice of me.  But, I should do everything for the glory of God, so is it wrong to daydream about people being impressed with me?



The definition of daydream is "a pleasant visionary usually wishful creation of the imagination." Daydreaming isn't necessarily a sin. "For in the multitude of dreams and many words there is also vanity. But fear God" (Ecclesiastes 5:7). To spend time dreaming but never doing is a wasted pursuit. What are you spending your days dreaming about? That is what we can discuss.

In a society like today's, it is very prevalent to be proud. Women are proud to be women, homosexuals are proud to be homosexuals, and the list goes on. However, this isn't a new concept. "What has been is what will be,  and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 1:9).

The Bible talks a lot about pride, and these few verses are not close to an exhaustive list:

  • "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall" (Proverbs 16:18).
  • "The haughty looks of man shall be brought low, and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day" (Isaiah 2:11).
  • "For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.  All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person” (Mark 7:21-23).

Like I mentioned before, these thoughts are not new to mankind. Think about the story of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:1-11. These two were very generous and were doing a great work of the church. However, they did not do it for the glory of God but for their own exaltation. We see their punishment when their motives were revealed. Another group we can learn from are the Pharisees. Jesus called them out on multiple occasions. The Pharisees were known for their righteousness - not from God but from man. In Matthew 23, Jesus talked about many areas in which they were wrong. Specifically, in Matthew 23:27 Jesus says, "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness." The Pharisees wanted to present themselves as godly people (not a bad desire), but their motivation was for their own glory.

What are we called to do as Christians? "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men" (Colossians 3:23). There is nothing wrong with success. As Christians, we should always give every endeavor our best. But what is our motive?  "Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me" (Matthew 16:24).  It is likely that your feelings of success and wanting to impress others are not going to go away overnight. It will be through a process of denying oneself, putting your focus on Jesus and praying continually for God's help. Every Christian has their struggles, but we have a Savior who can sympathize in our weaknesses (Hebrew 4:15). And we have the comfort of knowing with Him all things are possible -  "I can do all things through him who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13).

Sarabeth Bowen

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