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?
Erin @ Her Heartland Soul says
A great post and lots of wonderful food for thought!
I can relate to so much of this post Heather! I also feel like I sailed through high school and to some degree college, but when it came time for a career I was stumped. I was fortunate enough to fall into a career that I was good at and worked in for almost 10 years, but to be honest, I didn’t love it. Now I am 34, going back to school and changing careers. I just yesterday submitted my applications to doctorate programs after 2 years of working my way through all the pre-requisite classes, and while part of me was excited, the other part of me couldn’t help thinking, “what am I thinking…I’m going to be 38 by the time I am even done with school?!?”.
In my head I was comparing myself to all my friends that have great jobs, nice houses and are settled and here I am starting over. I agree I think we need to remind ourselves to take a step back and focus on what really matters in the long run – sending hugs and happy thoughts! Danielle
Girl I am so proud of you for going after what you want!
Kathryn @ Dancing to Running says
Its so hard to not play the comparison game, especially in today’s world where so much focus is on social media. Its definitely important to focus on our own successes instead of trying to reach a bar that others have set.
Yes mam. I am speaking on that topic at Refresh summit in a couple weeks!
I have been successful from a professional sense. I was a vice president with a major company. Great grades in high school, college, MBA. Published articles, certificates from Notre Dame. Do I consider myself successful because of that??? No. I consider myself successful because of my beautiful wife. She has had to battle cancer twice and is healthy now and I was there. I look at my 2 sons who are good people. My parents who in their older years have been there for my kids thru every birthday, baseball game, award night, graduation. In my 13 years of playing hockey never could go to a game because they had to work to make ends meet. Every Sunday when I pray and realize I am a good person in the eyes of my god.
You ARE successful. Look at your family and daughter. that is the measure of success.
your wife sounds awesome!
“Do not be conformed to this world,[a] but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2
The world tells us that we need to keep up with the Kardashians, as it were, but God knows the truth behind us, and he’s the only one we need. And we don’t need to keep up with Him, because we’re saved through grace. All we need to do is believe, repent, and obey.
Mindy @ Road Runner Girl says
Awesome post Heather! I’ve just recently set a goal for myself to be kinder to everyone I come across. Don’t ignore them but truly see them as a person. Ask how their day is and mean it. You never know when those little words may turn their day around. I guess I mean…I just want to be more like Jesus. If we are all more like Jesus than all this pressure of success and having the best of everything wouldn’t be an issue.
Very true. I try to think before I speak and understand where they are coming from and what they are going through but sometimes human nature comes out and I just want look out for myself.
Wendy @ Wholistic Woman says
Great post! Stuff is just stuff. So not worth competing over.
Rachael @ Catch Me if You Can says
what a fantastic post!! success is hard and its something we struggle with. for me success is seeing the world, traveling. i dont care so much about titles, fancy cars (mine is 15 years old, so theres that lol), mansions. I just want to see as much of this world as I possibly can. thank you for this post, very well written!
thanks for reading!
Karen :0) says
You’re right – it’s so easy to have that “Kardashian” mentality, we don’t often sit back and realize how truly successful we are in our own way! Great post!! 🙂
Such a great post!! Thanks for the reminder!
We just discussed this verse in our bible study this week. So important not to dwell on the wordily possessions.
I used to be the first one to covet after the newest designer items, but motherhood and mature adulthood has changed the desires of my heart.
I think motherhood def helped change things for me!
Randy Crane says
Very good thoughts, Heather. Thank you for sharing them.
I wrote about success as well in my book, and I think it really reinforces and relates to what you wrote here. If you’d like to see it, the blog post version is here: http://www.leavingconformitycoaching.com/2013/03/buzz-lightyear-astro-blasters-defining-success.html. (Sorry for the small font.)
Tarawanda Howard says
I loved your post. You are so right. In the final analysis, the things that matter most are your husband, children, family, positive relationships. All of the most wonderful career accomplishments really don’t matter if you haven’t taken the time to appreciate what really matters. I love the Lord with all my heart. Thank you for such an inspiring post.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart…Proverbs. Best wishes!
I feel successful because I am content with my life.
Trinity Bourne says
What a beautiful post! My definition of success is whether I have peace in my heart, with whatever I am doing… that to me, is priceless.