What Does Success Mean To You?
This past week we have been having a discussion about success over at the Shrinking the Camel Blog. I was looking for a good definition of success, trying to reconcile the ongoing tension I often feel between wanting to achieve great things, and simply being satisfied in trusting God for the moment. Some Christians might be suspicious of all this talk about success, that it places too much emphasis on our own achievement and the trappings that can come along with it. Except that we must admit that God himself is the ultimate Achiever, starting with one of his most well-known accomplishments, Creation. And we want to be like Him, right? We want our sales call to lead to a big order. We want our company's strategy to generate record-breaking profits. We want our writing to get published, our paintings to get sold, our Blogs to catch on like wildfire and be appreciated by many. Why else do we start anything up, other than with an intention for making it successful? We are created in God's image, which means that we are wired to dream things up and make stuff happen. It's natural to want to tap in to our desires and passions, to work really hard at something, and then take pleasure in the result. This is exactly what God did after six days of frantic activity, when He finally sat back with his trinity team and said,"It is good." Ah, the sweet smell of success. But since then we have somewhat fallen from God's ideal, and we often face obstacles, frustrations, and failures in our attempt to achieve those big dreams. And when that happens, it does not feel godly at all. Then the pendulum swings back, and we realize that we must release our precious goals, and trust God for the outcome. We relax for a couple days, talking to our friends about "surrender" and "giving it to the Lord," but before we know it we're right back in the frenzy of frantic activity again, hacking away at that dream of ours. So last week I suggested a defiinition of succees that resonated as spiritually authentic enough for me to settle in to:
Achieving my full potential while completely surrendering to God.
Others then stepped up and offered their thoughts on success, which were so good that I wanted to share it with the rest of the High Calling Blogs community. I am still thinking about these definitions of success. Shoreboy said, "Doing your best under God and doing what God would have you do." Michelle Corbett's definition was: "Success is when your deep passion and the world’s deep hunger meet." Leon quoted Steve Jobs' definition of success: “Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful, that’s what matters for me.” Marcus offered a paraphrase of something Mr. Butt (Founder of High Calling) has been telling his staff: “Excellence is good, but sometimes we try too hard. We run in circles instead of just meeting the goal. We need to relax. We need to be patient.” And Nancy made the apt observation that "the idea of success moves and changes as fast as our own desires." What are your thoughts on success? Have you found that elusive balance between accomplishment and trust? Between being and doing?