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Posts Tagged ‘success’

To be successful would seem to be a goal (overtly or not) with all who are within the bounds of humanity.

According to freedictionary.com,

success is:

“achievement of something desired, planned or attempted.”

Who wouldn’t want for such things? To not desire achievement would be to live an apathetic life.

We are encouraged to fight, strive, conquer, overcome, use people, take, and spend time with those who do the same.

Recently I was struck by the dichotomy of what the world says is successful living, and what Jesus says is successful living. Like almost everything else that came from the lips of the Son of God, what He says of being a successful person is up-side-down teaching, compared with what our human expectation would be.

“The world says, follow the right people and be a success.
And Jesus says follow me and be crucified — and this is success.
The world says, follow the right people and be a success.
And Jesus says follow me and be crucified — and this is success.
The world says get rich now — or at least very soon.
And Jesus says give it away now — because “soon” might be too late.
The world says you find your best life when you spend it all.
And Jesus says whoever loses his life for me will find it — and if you try to save your life, you’ll lose it.”
Ann Voskamp

Reading what Jesus says of success means feeling that tightening in our throats. For success is not ours, through our goodness, our education, our climb up the occupational ladder. It is His, through His grace, and our … obedience.

Success may indeed sit in boardrooms, locker rooms and concert halls, but it also sits in prison cells, in senior’s care facilities, in homeless shelters and in ‘average’ homes.

May we all struck often by how the ultimate example of success lived his life.

“Whoever wants to save his life will definitely lose it.”
Mark 8:35

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As the school year is coming to a rapid end, those of us who work in schools tend to become reflective about the year that has past. We wonder if we taught everything that the students needed to learn. We wonder if the students learned everything that they will need to succeed.

Earlier this past week I was speaking with a young man who is graduating from high school. I have never been assigned to work with him, I have never assisted him in a classroom setting, in no way have I ever been responsible for any part of his education. In spite of the fact that there is no direct connection to him, I have gotten to know him a bit by saying hi and connecting in the hallways.

This young man has not been successful in an academic sense. He was not a ‘good’ student. I would guess that he did not have the best handwriting in elementary school, the best understanding of algebra in middle school, or the best essay writing skills in high school.

From what I have learned, over the years, from talking to him, from watching him, and from hearing about him from others, I believe he will be immensely successful in life … and it has little to do with schooling.

This young man is kind … I have seen how he treats others.

This young man is hard working … I have seen his acts of service in the school.

This young man is responsible … when asked to do a task, he shows up, and does it.

This young man is humble … he does not do things for praise.

He is the young man who will grow up contributing to society.

He is the young man who will grow up caring for his parents.

He is the young man who will grow up supporting and loving his family.

He is the young man who you would want for a neighbor.

He is the young man who knows that he has nothing in this life without working hard, being responsible and being faithful to his commitments.

He is the successful result of parents who loved him and who modeled a life well lived. His success is the result of having the benefit of being able to participate in a program at school that allowed him to earn a portion of his credits by doing the manual labor he so loves (and is probably amazing at). He is the successful result of an inner strength of character that kept him going to school, just because it is a hoop we all need to do to be part of our society.

I wish I had had the opportunity to work with this model young man … I bet he could have taught me something!

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Ever have a difficult decision to make? Ever feel as though you are incapable of making the ‘right’ decision?

For most of us, anxiety over decision making is due to a fear of failure. We do not want to make the ‘wrong’ decision. We do not want to have to lie in a potentially uncomfortable bed that we have made for ourselves. We simply do not want to make a mistake.

I wonder, though, how often we have made a ‘good’ decision that turned wrong. Or, conversely, a ‘bad’ decision that turned out good? So, is there really such a thing as good decisions and bad decisions?

For myself, as I look back over my life, there are a number of decisions that I made, because I tend towards the ‘safe’ choices in life, that have made me so very thankful for the mistakes I have been spared from making. There are also ‘safe’ choices that I have made, that I now regret my choosing safety over experiences, adventures, and challenges.

I look at my decisions both more seriously and less so, at this stage of my life. I now do not see most decisions as life or death, but I also recognize that there are consequences to whatever my decision might be.

Recently I was trying to make a decision. It was not a life or death choice, but one that I wanted to consider seriously. I had been weighing the pros and cons of both options (and even mentally added a third option … just to mix it up a bit 😉 ). I had spent time in prayer about it, I had talked to others. I was starting to think that the choice was becoming clear, that I was starting to side with one choice, over the other.

Then out of nowhere, and without any knowledge of the decision I was contemplating, I had two different individuals affirm option number two. So, what was I to do with that? Just when I was feeling confident of option number one, others were giving me indicators that made me second guess the direction where I had been leaning.

Yikes! I think I need a professional decision maker!

Sometimes I think we need to remember that, whatever we decide, whatever we are handed in life, it will not be more than we can handle, and that we do not have to try to handle it alone.

Proverbs 16:3 says, “commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” Although this does not mean that your plans will succeed as YOU or I expect, it does give us the encouragement that if what we do, what we decide, is committed to the Lord, there will be success in them.

So, a decision committed to God will always be the right decision.

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