As a 30 something I have a few special events under my belt. A few milestones I achieved which aided and abetted in supporting my culture’s definition of success.
And at one time my definition as well.
I realize now that the struggle in my 20s (and even at times, currently) was mostly due to the inferiority I felt at not achieving certain milestones. As a new college grad, when most of my peers were landing savvy business positions at Fortune 500 companies, making a name for themselves in corporate America, and on their way to living the American dream, I was feeling stuck. Jobless, depending on my mom for shelter, food and the basic need for survival (as well as nursing a broken heart), I had nothing to put on my resume except for that new degree I spent 4 years acquiring. It didn’t seem to matter I had went to one of the top notch business schools in the state. I ended up at a fast food restaurant due to minimal job prospects. Although my mom encouraged me and was all too happy to support me, I felt like a failure. I was defining my worth by my lack of independence. By my lack of ability to stand on my own two feet. When my friends were eagerly diving into their new lives in their careers, I was twiddling my thumbs wondering what was going on in my life. Wondering why God hated me so much. Thankfully, He didn’t leave me there, in that place of stillness and waiting, and what I now understand to be rest. He had plans, they were just a little slower moving than I would have preferred. As life progressed, the milestones came. The elevated career moves, more degrees, the independence. They ebbed and flowed in the way I now know that journeys do. Some came frequently back-to-back, while others peaked slowly behind corners of waiting. And yet, they only came once He stripped me of the need to use them to define my worth. I see the theme now. I see that because of my desire to elevate the world’s definition of achievement and success over the Creator’s, He needed (and still does) to slow me down. Establish my character.
Redefine my worth.
At fellowship yesterday I was in awe of His presence. We listened to a cd of prophetic worship which was inspired by Holy Spirit and during this time of receiving I was overwhelmed with eternity. We are eternal beings. God began to show me that the eternal is the foundation of our human experience. So often we live as if our human experience is foundational and so we are frustrated with His will because we do not understand that His ways are to first and foremost establish the eternal within us. As we seek His kingdom, all of those earthly milestones will come. And if they don’t, we won’t want them anyway because we realize their worth fails in comparison to the worth of eternity.
This world holds so many illusions. The American dream is one of them. Unfortunately the church has incorporated many of these false teachings which causes believers to strive for success as defined by the world’s culture. Sadly, in many ways, the world’s culture has become the church’s culture.
God is revealing the false in this season. He is showing me what really matters. What really lasts. And it is nothing this side of eternity. It can’t possibly be contained within any natural, temporal, earthly container. It has to be something larger than the life we perceive with our natural eyes. It must only be revealed when we open the eyes of our hearts, and see with His eyes. And live according to His will. Only then will we hear “Well done my good and faithful servant!” Only then will we receive the crown of life which defines true success.
A few ways I now define success…