The other day, a friend of mine was talking about things you should do to be successful. Fairly standard things...make your bed every day, keep your car clean, read your Bible every day, live debt free, serve your way to the top. And I was all "why am I not successful?" Because I do these sorts of things. (Can't say I've served my way to the top, per se, and I know I don't always have the right attitude when I serve, which kind of misses the point, but part of why I don't make very much is because I tend to undercharge/give things away, and I'm always really uncomfortable being at an event and not working.)
And then it hit me: I was defining success by the world's terms. I was defining it by how many dollars enter my bank account every month, by the fact that I've never been anywhere close to the New York Times bestsellers list, by the fact that my music studio remains small, by the fact that I haven't written well enough to publish another novel in years...
But being rich and famous isn't success.
And it isn't even really what I want, when I think about it. Success isn't measured in how many dollars are in your savings account, or how high your book is on the Amazon bestsellers list, or whether anyone of importance ever knows your name.
Success is living fully for God every day of your life.
I know I've written similar posts before, but this is just something that hit me again the other day. Because I know it in my head, but I don't always (often) live it in my heart.
The more things don't go the way I wanted them to, the more I doubt. The more I struggle to trust that God has a plan that is better than mine. I thought I learned that earlier this year. Apparently not. It's probably something I'll keep learning throughout my entire life. I've been frustrated and angry and bitter. I had to get my heart right with God. And ask Him to give me trust in Him, because I can't do it myself.
Because my life doesn't look like what I thought a "successful" life should look like. But just because I don't make anywhere close to enough to live on from book sales doesn't mean I'm a failure as an author. Just because my music studio is small doesn't mean I'm a failure as a music teacher.
If I'm touching other people's lives, showing them God's love and shining His light into their lives, then I'm successful. And not because of what I've done, but because of what God does through me.
Success is surrendering to God.
Not being rich and famous. But living fully for God every day of your life.
Making my bed every day and living debt free are good habits that teach me to be a good steward of what I've been given. But if I think doing those things is going to put me on the New York Times bestseller list, I've missed the point.
Putting God first in my life won't necessarily make me successful in the world's eyes, but it will make me successful in God's eyes.
And that's what truly matters.