This quote from Dr. Kathy Koch appeared in the article Children of the Kingdom by Jamie A. Hughes in the June, 2012 edition of In Touch magazine:
"...success is being obedient and glorifying God rather than ourselves. I always tell people,
'You were created on purpose with a purpose,'
which is to become who they were designed by their Creator to be and to have a dynamic relationship with Jesus. That's the definition of success we should be instilling." Dr. Kathy Koch
At the end of the movie Finding Dory, Dory's mom says,
“It means you can do whatever you put your mind to."
This, I believe, is a sad, misleading and false teaching which is the current downfall of many people--children and adults alike.
I was raised in the floodlights of the self-esteem movement. Not only did I come away with the admonition that I absolutely and unequivocally can do "whatever I set my mind to," I came away with an even stronger sense that "whatever I set my mind to" had to be something "different," "famously great," and "worldly significant."
But by whose standards?
The standards of the experts, which, for me being a woman, were the women's liberationists who collectively shunned the choice to be a wife and mother. Oh, they were okay with a girl wanting to get married and have children, and they were okay with getting married and having children. They just weren't okay with, and would never endorse choosing to be a wife and mother as a first choice that came before and in place of all other choices.
So unless I went into a career previously open only to men, or unless I pursued an occupation outside of the home, I was anathema, a sell-out, and short-changing not only myself, but everything women have attained to this date.
But in reality, I always wanted to be an at-home mom. And I always wanted to find a man to share my life with. And when that happened, I carried the warring factions within me for several years: the battle between my innate, pure desire to choose the career of creating, building and guiding a family and the opposing force of feeling "less-than" as a woman because of that desire.
See, for the women's liberationist ideology that permeated my formation into adulthood, "you can be whatever you put your mind to" does not include being a wife and mother first.
When I became a Christian, I discovered the high calling of God in being a wife and mother, and in fact, gained more sense of personhood than the women's movement could ever give (a movement which, in reality, completely obliterated any sense of self).
There are other results of the "you can do whatever you set your mind to" propaganda: failure and recklessness.
Failure, because when we attempt to “do anything and everything” and fail, we become frustrated, angry, depressed, disenfranchised and demotivated. Meanwhile, what we are truly inclined towards; what we would be good at and become better at and what we enjoy, spoils on the counter of ignorance.
The "whatever you put your mind to" mantra is reckless in the same way that faith healers blame the absence of healing on a person's lack of faith: "If you would have just believed it, it would have happened."
The same goes for leading a young person on that they can be an astronaut when in reality, they don't have the math aptitude to pull it off. Or pumping up an interest to pursue opera singing when a person just doesn't have the vocal chords.
At what point does “don’t give up” become foolishness and unnecessary risk? Is stopping the doing of something always “giving up?” Is deciding it's better to not continue to proceed in a certain direction always “giving up?” Is deciding it's better to not even begin going down a certain path "giving up"?
What is so wrong with accepting normal, healthy limitations: limitations that will direct us to what we are naturally gifted towards? Why set people up for failure, not to mention the endless wading through potential options?
If "the sky's the limit" of what we can do, how do we begin to narrow down the options? How much of our time and money do we invest indulging our every whim because we were reassured every step of the way that "we can do it!"
It's time to stop giving credence to this ideology.