How Do You Define Success?

Merriam-Webster defines success this way,”favorable or desired outcome; also : the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence.” I have been defining success as seeing my will accomplished. I hate to admit it, but that is what I have unconsciously done.

I thought that I had learned to surrender my life to God. The truth is I had released control of now to God, but I had hung on to expectations for the future. I called it hope for the future, but it was really my expectations to see my dreams fulfilled, my expectation that God would give me what I wanted someday, since He wasn’t giving me what I wanted right now.

I didn’t think I was making deals with God, but the effect of what I was saying to Him was, “You can do what you want with my life now as long as I end up getting what I want in the end.”

Lately I have found myself feeling a great weight upon my life. I couldn’t define the burden for quite a while. I am recognizing that the weight is the burden of disappointment that God did not give me the life I wanted. Naming the feeling has lifted some of the heaviness, but I know that I need to lay this boulder down at the foot of the cross.

I have been working, striving, carrying the future on my shoulders. I am Atlas again. Every time I think I have freed myself from the habit of transporting burdens that do not belong to me I discover I am unknowing hauling around another.

I have been defining the future and success. The future belongs to God and real success is following Jesus. Real success can’t be getting what I want. I am only human, finite and limited. I want to see God’s will accomplished. That is what we are all praying in the Lord’s Prayer when we say, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. ”

The intellectual side of me has long known this but alas, the “practical” side of me has been trying to “manage” things that are too big for any human. I have been trying to usurp God’s role when I demand that He gave me what I want. Every year I know more than I knew the year before. Why would I demand my own way when I will learn and refine my desires over time?

Real success isn’t getting the outcome I want. Success is learning to desire God’s outcome and the faith to trust that it is better than anything I could possibly dream up myself.

How have you been defining success?
Are you learning to value God’s plan more than your own?
How has He surprised you by leading you to places that surpass any you would have thought of on your own?

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