A Few Thoughts on Whitney Houston and the Grammys

Most of the world knows by now that Whitney Houston passed away on Saturday. The outpouring of sympathy and sentiments has been what is expected for who may have been the greatest singer of all time. She was given a wonderful tribute last night at the Grammys. And in countless news stories, interviews, and programs people are expressing shock, dismay, sadness, and a multitude if other feelings.

This is an extremely sad story of a wonderful talent who met with a tragic end to her life. However, the question has to be asked: Why do people seem to respond differently when a superstar dies unexpectedly than when a “regular” person dies unexpectedly?

One reason I believe this mindset exists is because secretly in the hearts of “regular” people lives the same distorted perspective that lives in the heart of many superstars. It’s the human tendency – and for many a conscious choice – to chase the dream vs. The Dream Giver (God).

I can’t say this is what happened to Whitney Houston, but this is what happens to a lot of people in our society. Actually this mindset is nothing new. It was actually addressed by God in Deuteronomy 8 when He admonished the nation of Israel before they entered their promise land. He told them that life was about to get really good. And when it did, they had better not forget the One who made it happen, or else it would cause them to lose everything.

Why is it so important that you don’t pursue your dream at the exclusion of the Dream Giver? When seasons of attention, fame, and stardom pass, and it seems like your dream is now fading from memory instead of flowing into your future, what will you have to hold on to? Whether you are in front of big crowds or not, when the Dream Giver is your focus, you will have the foundation, inspiration, and direction for the next adventure of your life. Transitions don’t have to be tragic, they can be triumphant.

In today’s cult of celebrity, as exhibited by the Grammys and other award shows, people are worshipped for their talent and exploits as much as if not more than God. When that happens, celebrities are ascribed glory that should only be given to God. In Hebrew the word “glory” originally means “weight” or “heaviness.” Humans were not created to carry the weight of God’s glory, only to reflect it. When the weight and pressure of carrying the glory of man-made fame, i.e. having to keep pleasing people or shocking them so you stay relevant in their minds and wallets year after year, people eventually crack under the pressure. They end up doing things they felt was necessary to temporarily or permanently escape the pressure of their lives.

No matter how we have idolized them, superstars – like all of us – are frail human beings who eventually will break down if enough pressure is applied. The list is staggering of those who “died too soon” over the last couple of years (or even the last 40 years) under tragic circumstances that involved drugs and/or alcohol:

  • Michael Jackson
  • Heath Ledger
  • Amy Winehouse
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Elvis Presley
  • Marilyn Monroe
  • Chris Farley
  • Janis Joplin
  • Judy Garland
  • Many more…

And sadly we must now add Whitney Houston to that list. We may never fully know the circumstances of her death, but we have heard by her own admission some of the struggles of the last few years of her life. I pray that we all learn from these individuals and ask God to give us a new mindset for the proper way to appreciate our own and others’ talents, achievements, and accomplishments.

James 1:17 tells us that every good and perfect gift comes from the Father of Lights. He loves to bless His children with amazing talent that blesses the world. What He doesn’t love is when His children worship the talent – their own or someone else’s – more than they worship Him.

So let me ask you, are you chasing the dream or the Dream Giver?

Thrive on purpose!

Paul Wilson, Jr.

Sandcastles of Success

I was recently searching Google and came across incredible images of sandcastle sculptures. I was amazed at these extraordinary works of art that people were able to literally carve out of dirt. You could definitely see they took a lot of care, concern, skills, time, energy, and effort to create something so amazing.

After admiring the sand masterpieces I began to think about how stable they were. How long could they stay there looking pristine and perfect? Because they were built on beaches by the ocean, if a big wave came all of these stunning structures would be wiped out… and all that work, time, energy, creativity, etc. would be washed away. The only things left would be a crumbled mess and nice memories of what used to be.

“…And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” ~ Matthew 7:26-27

It’s sad that many people build their lives like sandcastles. They look great on the outside. They invest a lot of money, time, blood, sweat, and tears to get a good job, big house, fame, fortune, and friends. Unfortunately they lack a genuine connection with God, have poor character, engage in poisonous relationships, and possess many other deficiencies that are hidden by their public image. They create a lifestyle that others want, but reject the character needed to sustain it.

Their success is constructed like a sandcastle. All it takes is one major life event and everything they have built up is gone in the blink of an eye. I believe the saying that “adversity doesn’t build character, it reveals it.” If they haven’t built their life on things that are deep-rooted, sustainable or long-lasting, what is left after they lose their fame, fortune, and so-called friends?

You can’t prevent the waves of life from coming, but you can prepare and protect yourself from them. Build your life on things that are sure and secure: a dynamic relationship with God, moral values, unquestionable character, integrity, genuine relationships, etc.

Many people will make a big splash in life, but aren’t around for the long-term. That doesn’t have to be you. You can be built to last.

Sweet dreams,
Paul Wilson, Jr.

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Dare to dream again in 2010! www.DreamBIGin3D.com

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