Let’s sit down and chat. Have a cup of coffee perhaps? I have some heavy stuff on my mind I want to get out.
Success. It’s a funny business. Some people want it so badly, they will do anything for it. Some aren’t sure how to define it, and some search after the happiness that “success” brings. Other people get nervous when you talk about success, maybe because they have failed a lot, or maybe they are jealous. Some people may even feel “behind” when others around them have success after success, but not a lot of people want to bring it up.
I am a very competitive person, which served me very well in school. I made good grades, was captain of different sports teams, and luckily never really had to feel unsuccessful or unhappy with the way things were going aside from your regular high school drama. It was all well and good for 17 year old Heather, but adult world is way harsher and harder than high school sports and school world, and I quickly found myself feeling behind in life.
After college, things didn’t go as planned for us career wise, and I will be the first to admit it was hard seeing those around me succeed in that area. I was of course happy for THEM, but unhappy that I wasn’t there WITH them if that makes sense. Bobby and I had to deal with several struggles as young married folk that you don’t typically see, and I would like to think that looking back it has made us stronger, but I am also ashamed at how I have reacted in certain situations dealing with “success”.
The funny part is, that everyone thinks the grass is always greener on the other side, but what they don’t know Is that the other person has struggles of their own that they just haven’t shared. I could look at all of my friends and name success that they have had that they probably wouldn’t even consider a success, because it was something that may have come easy to them, or wasn’t something that they struggled with.
I live in a very nice town. I love it, but the problem with it is that it’s like an episode of Keeping up with the Kardashians. Fancy cars everywhere, huge homes, stuff, stuff, stuff, everywhere. Little kids wearing designer things, everyone with a boat, a country club membership, and first class airplane tickets. Let’s be clear: Is there anything wrong with those things in themselves? NO. However, the Bible is clear on this subject in Matthew chapter 6 verse 20-21:
20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
What do you consider your treasure? It will show evidence of where your heart is. Is your treasure a fancy house or the most luxurious car? Is it having the smartest kid in school? Is it having the fastest race time in your running group? Maxing out the highest weight at CrossFit?
Again, none of these things are bad, it’s awesome to set and reach goals, but if this, this is ALL there is, if it is something you OBSESS over and let it BECOME your life instead of part OF your life, then that is the problem. If your success lies in things, if it lies in awards, or pats on the back, or people telling you that you have it all together, then you are missing out on the treasure my friends. Have you ever been to a funeral, and in the casket there were items placed inside that the person who passed away would want to take with them? But…they are still sitting there, in the casket. You cannot take your stuff out of this world. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy things while you are hear, but let’s all think about taking time to invest in other things as well, right?
I am including myself in this as well. As a highly competitive person I have fallen victim to many of these things time and time again. Why is she so successful, I try hard, too? Why do they seem to have it easy, what are they doing right that we aren’t? Maybe you are asking the wrong questions. What about, people, relationships, quality time, happy, healthy kids, a mission minded church family, an answer to a long awaited prayer, helping someone through a rough spot.
I think we could all benefit from taking a step back and thinking about society’s definition of success, and God’s definition of success. At the end of this life, it won’t matter how much stuff I have accumulated, or how many trophies I have, but the way I treated my neighbors, how I sacrificed my time to help a stranger, and the way I chose to love others will indeed matter. I’m going to work on storing up the right kind of treasures, and being a success in the eyes of the one who really matters.
QOTD: What is your definition of success? Do you ever fall into the “stuff” or “awards” trap?