I have been asked the following question too many times to count, so before you read and answer this question with the same answer you always have, I challenge you to really think about what it is asking.
What is your definition of true success?
If you are like me, you have thought about that question and answered with the typical, “Doing something I love” or something of that nature.
I tend to share what’s easy and expected so I don’t have to dig into the deep and unfamiliar. That’s too scary.
The reality is, as I have often evaluated my life and where I am and what I have accomplished in the last twenty-four years, I struggle with thinking that what I have done is simply not enough.
I look at opportunities I should have gone after and wonder why I let my insecurity have so much power in my life. I reflect on the times in my life when I should have stepped up and been a leader but decided it was far more comfortable being a follower. I dwell on the “shoulda, coulda woulda’s” and let it get to me.
Based on my reflections, I realized that my little definition of success that I had shared for others for so long was a bunch of BULLCRAP.
My definition of success actually meant moving up and climbing the ladder, making more money and in turn, establishing a reputation for myself. The clout, the fame, the popularity- that is what felt like success. I would like to think that just by “doing something that I love”, that I would feel successful– that it would be enough for me. But I knew that I had allowed my performance and popularity to take the driver’s wheel.
If someone asked me, “Is being loved by God enough for you?”
One thousand times over, I would have screamed YES! However, on the scale in which I evaluated my success and how I lived my life, it was all performance based. To think that I could just rest in an identity, one of which I was simply given and did nothing to earn, felt like laziness or apathy to me. It felt like a good spiritual answer, but not a truth I believed for my own personal life.
However, as I have come to realize, especially as of lately, that the only way my performance will actually have a PURPOSE is when my purpose is more important to me than my performance.
If people like it, GREAT! If I receive a promotion, wonderful! If I earn more money, get a new title or move up on the corporate ladder, Praise Jesus! But, that can not be what defines my success.
If I let my flaky, inconsistent, selfish, human flesh be the determinant of my success on this earth, I will be in for a rude awakening. However, if I embrace the identity that my Heavenly Father has already given me, one that places me in a constant position of success by the very nature of who I am, then everything I do will be a plus! I will know that whatever fruit I bear is a direct result of the Father’s hand.
And during the winter season, or the times in which the harvest feels insufficient, I will not let it discourage me or how I feel about myself. I will know that my purpose of tending to the garden and being a faithful servant is FAR greater than the performance of the seeds that I plant.
As God has been working on me in this area, I have had to really ask myself about past experiences — “Why did I feel success in that moment? What made me feel as though I had really achieved something?”
Usually, the answer was that I received more approval from those around me, whether that be my family, my workplace, my friends, my schoolmates, my sorority sisters, etc.
So, was that true success?
It all depends on who you believe determines your purpose.
If the world does, then popularity is your goal. If Jesus does, then His performance was enough.
Success becomes less about what accolades you receive or the approval you gain and more about how His name becomes known wherever you go.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there is a thing wrong with setting professional goals and working hard to achieve them; I just mean that they can not be where you find your identity. There has to be a greater purpose for your life than the performance your human hands can attain or you will never feel good enough.
Your performance is a result of the love your Father has given you and because of that, you always receive an A+!
Rest in that truth. Soak it in. Trust that you were made for success because He formed you. Success is in the air you breathe, the bones you have and the life you live when you are a child of God. Walk in it!
Happy Monday, sweet friends of mine!
“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.” -Joshua 1:7