I've been thinking about this a lot lately. What is success?? Because if I'm being honest with myself (and with everyone who reads this), than I'd admit that I do NOT feel successful most days. In fact, I often feel like I'm failing, despite putting my best efforts in to each day!
Just when I go to pat myself on the back, the kids will start bickering, or I'll see sharpie markers on yet aNOTHer wall, or I'll realize I didn't fold the laundry quick enough and every stinkin' shirt is wrinkled, or I'll lose my temper with the kids and find myself needing to apologize, or I'll remember I haven't opened my bible in a week, or I'll realize I was an awful friend by forgetting a b-day or by failing to check on someone who was sick.....oh yeah, trust me, I eat humble pie all. day. long.
I'm sure all of you reading don't feel successful each day. In fact, I know you don't because I occasionally hear you sharing your own sense of failure. But, after a LOT of observation and a LOT of thinking...what I'm finding is that success isn't in how your life turns out....but rather, it's in how you deal with what life gives you. Success is in your attitude and in the way you approach each day. Success is found in saying to each mountain that you come up against that no matter how tall it is - you won't stop climbing. Success isn't necessarily in beating the odds, or in beating the cancer, or in finding your soul mate, or gritting your teeth and holding your marriage together, etc...life happens - we can't control it all, true?...(yes America, I realize that's borderline blasphemy!) So, most days, we have to take what life throws our way and just KEEP CLIMBING!
Jonathan Edwards said: "The way to Heaven is ascending; we must be content to travel uphill, though it be hard and tiresome, and contrary to the natural bias of our flesh.” (I feel the need to insert here that I'm not a huge fan of this man, but sure do agree with this post.) Notice he doesn't say there's going to be a downhill?? Notice he doesn't say it's going to get easier?? I am beginning to understand that America has fooled themselves in to thinking that we can and will be successfull if we can a)find our "perfect partner" b)create 2.5 children (whatever that means!), and c)out buy the Joneses!! What if your life is successful simply because you found Jesus and accepted that you need him? What if true success is by letting His light shine through your life and blessing others? What if true success is in halting a vicious cycle in your family and raising a generation of children who know and love the Lord? What if success is in doing your best and allowing God to do the rest??
I want to be successful in everything I do, but then reality sinks in and I KNOW I will fail at many things. So, if I could choose which area's to succeed, this would be my list:
1)I pray my children love the Lord and that Christ in them would shine brightly. "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' Matthew 22:36-39
2)I pray Chad and my marriage is an example to them...not of fairytales coming true, but of forgivness and patience...unfailing love and continued acceptance. “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for each other.” 1st John 3:16
3)I pray that my friendships will hold true, no matter how busy life gets or how many different directions we are all pulled...I pray forgiveness and grace will abound in those relationships! “Let us encourage one another —and all the more as you see the day approaching” -Hebrews 10:25
4)I pray that I will bless the people who come in my life and vice versa. “As far as it be within you be at peace with all men.” -Hebrews 10:24
5)I pray God will grant me wisdom (oh please, Lord!!) with each passing day. "My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding— indeed, if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God." -Proverbs 2:1-5
6)I pray for a more compassionate heart towards others that I just don't understand. And it would sure be nice if that same compassion could be returned to me....Lord knows I need it. :-) “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:36-38
In my book, that would be success.