We live in a world that gladly offers definitions:
- it’s having enough financial security
- it’s being connected in the right social circles
- it’s gaining the respect and praise of your peers
- ___fill in the blank____, etc…
I was reading in Mark Batterson’s new book: The Circle Maker a time where he sat down, wrestled through his own answer and crafted a definition. Here’s what he came up with:
1. Do the best you can with what you have where you are. Success is not circumstantial. We usually focus on what we’re doing or where we’re going, but God’s primary concern is who we’re becoming in the process. We talk about “doing” the will of God, but the will of God has much more to do with “being” than “doing.” It’s not about being in the right place at the right time; it’s about being the right person, even if you find yourself in the wrong circumstances. Success has nothing to do with how gifted or how resourced you are; it has everything to do with glorifying God in any and every situation by making the most of it. Success is spelled stewardship, and stewardship is spelled success. The second definition I wrote down captures my calling. Whether I’m writing or preaching or parenting, this is the driving passion of my life:
2. Help people maximize their God-given potential. Potential is God’s gift to us; what we do with it is our gift back to God. Helping people maximize their God-given potential is why God put me on this planet. That is what gets me up early and keeps me up late. Nothing is more exhilarating to me than seeing people grow into their God-given giftedness. The third definition reveals the deepest desire of my heart:
3. My desire is that the people who know me the best respect me the most. Success is not measured by how many people I pastor or how many books I sell; success is living life with such authentic integrity that those who know me best actually respect me most. I couldn’t care less about fame or fortune. I want to be famous in my home.
It hit me like a load of bricks. I was deeply moved – more moved than I expected to be. Why? Because deep down, we desire to be successful and we know that the definitions offered in society are hollow. We desire more significance. More substance. The truth is: success is either decided upon and chosen by you — or it becomes chosen for you. It is so easy to begin to define what success is according to so many other people or according to culture – than what it should be in your own mind or what it is to God…
True success is custom crafted and created by God. To each of us – there is a tailored calling and contribution to make. One that ultimately brings about the combination of our God given gifting, calling and uniqueness. Maybe we’ve defined success too corporately and not enough individually.
So, as we’re nearing the end of the year, I’m wrestling with my definition – there’s a lot I like about Mark’s take, but I’m praying about what God desires my answer to be…
I’ll let you know, but you might want to consider your own – spend some time seeking with God what success is supposed to look like in your life. You choose, before it’s chosen for you.
chime in: What does a successful life include?