1. an earnest desire for some type of achievement or distinction, as power, honor, fame, or wealth, and the willingness to strive for its attainment: Too much ambition caused him to be disliked by his colleagues.
2. the object, state, or result desired or sought after: The crown was his ambition.
3. desire for work or activity; energy: I awoke feeling tired and utterly lacking in ambition.
What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. James 4:1-2
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. Matthew 23:12
I know I have an especially high dose of it- that drive, that hunger- for better or for worse I got a heavy dose of adrenaline coursing ambition. I work very hard to be successful, to dive into whatever I do; I am a passionista- 100 percent at 100 miles per hour for as long as I can sustain it.
Saying no to things is my Achilles heel. Being bored is my biggest fear. Holding still is not possible. John commented to me that if I lay down when we are hanging out I am usually asleep within 30 seconds because I have been running around all day without stopping. I tried to convince John I have been doing better, cramming less into my schedule, taking more time for taking care of myself. He tested me and asked- how many things do you have scheduled this weekend- only 5! He laughed at me.
John and I met with our pastor chad for our first premarital counseling meeting last night. Chad was coming up with examples of things he thought might divide us or cause us to struggle. His first example was how driven and ambitious I am compared to John’s cool and calm easy-going nature.
Ambition is celebrated in American culture. It is celebrated in both of my extended families. It is correlated with a strong work ethic, persistence and courage. I have a long family history of personal fulfillment through always being on the move and generating big ideas and results.
I am seeing however the pitfalls of my ambition. The restlessness and discontent it can generate, the separation it can generate between me and others if I hyper focus on myself, the potential it has to divide me with John or others I care about. My ambition seems like a large train barreling forward- lots of energy and unstoppable momentum- however it is key that the tracks are built on the right course, the train is barreling in the right direction.
Of course, if my ambition is pointed towards earnestly seeking God, or loving others, or virtuous contributions to those around me- than maybe it is not so misplaced. Maybe, like other talents and natural tendencies it is something that can be used for good or bad.
Lately though, I have been uneasy because I think I have been too hyper-focused on it, letting ambition for ambitions sake consume me, without tending to my humility and patience. I think an interruption, an intervention is needed, for I am restlessly unresolved.