Impressive Abundance

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Do you ever dream of being rich and famous? You're definitely not alone.

A Pew Research Center Poll of 18- to 25-year olds found that 81 percent said the most important or second most important life goal of their generation is getting rich and 51 percent said the same about being famous (USA Today).

Since wealth and fame don't guarantee happiness, why is it such a focus?

Our society idolizes celebrities—from actors and music stars to athletes. The permeating attitude is "if you've got it – flaunt it." And cameras are always there to capture the moments and build the hype!

In fact with video-posting sites like YouTube, young people can be "celebrities" in their own worlds (USA Today). Although many postings are harmless, more and more young people seek fame and attention through crazy stunts, provocative poses or violence.

Of course, it's not all bad. You may be planning your fame and fortune through honest hard work, and trying to be successful in life is a great goal. But how we define success is very important.

Whom am I trying to impress?

Billions of dollars are spent every year creating pop culture and marketing the idea that our self-worth and success depend on what stuff we have. Consumer psychologist Kit Yarrow of Golden Gate University in San Francisco says that young people are "putting their resources and energy and validation and self-worth into what people who aren't close to them think of them, which is fame" (USA Today).

Wanting to be liked by others is not wrong. So how far should we go to impress and grab the attention of others without destroying our future?

Spending money we don't have to get the latest and greatest leads to cumbersome debt. Impulsive moments and "famous" Web postings have ruined many young adults' chances of getting into their desired college or that sweet job—or worse yet, have resulted in physical harm or criminal charges.

The abundant life

Amazingly Jesus Christ said, "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly" (John 10:10).

To strike the right balance between fitting in and finding the path to future success, seek to impress God first. As the divine Father of us all, He wants our happiness.

We were born to fulfill a great purpose—to be sons and daughters in God's family with awesome potential now and for eternity. Check out What Is Your Destiny? for more details.

Priceless success

"It's cliché but true. Money can't buy you love or happiness," writes Erin Burt in an article on Kiplinger about young, prosperous and frugal millionaires. She summarizes, "It's the things that money cannot buy that best define your life."

These 20- and 30-year-old millionaires are a type of "anti-Paris Hilton" who avoid excess and embrace modesty. "They use their money for good causes instead of for their own glory" (Kiplinger).

How refreshing to hear about successes where individuals have a more balanced perspective on money and simple living. It's such a contrast to the unhappiness and broken lives that the usual approach to wealth and fame can bring.

God gives us His guidebook, the Bible, with principles of living a fulfilling, happy life. He is, of course, more concerned about our spiritual abundance: living with a purpose and outgoing concern for others, having hope and peace. But He also desires for us to have a physically abundant life too.

For some practical tips on success, read a recent Vertical News special "So…do you want to succeed?" VT