Success is a funny old thing. We measure it in so many ways, and always seem to come out “less than” everyone else. How is that? Maybe, just maybe, it’s in the way we are defining success.
I heard Melissa Helser share on a podcast about looking at the season you are in & asking yourself “Am I developing the fruits of the Spirit during this season?” It is this that truly defines “success.” I’ve been pondering this for some time. There are so many ways in which we try to define success- a clean house, how we dress, a perfectly landscaped garden, achieving targets at work, how many lives we have influenced this week, how many times we have been to the gym, how many “likes” we got on our last Facebook post…. But really, truly, our success should come down to how much more like Christ we are becoming- and whether our lives are producing His fruit.
I love how The Message Version puts it in Galatians 5:
“22-23 But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.
23-24 Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good—crucified.
25-26 Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.”
I’m not really the patient type, especially when it comes to my own life & success. Because of this, anything that requires a process naturally bugs me. I get really easily frustrated with myself, and easily annoyed if I feel like I”m making only slow progress on anything I’m working on. But what I’ve started to realize is that it’s the process that brings strength. It’s the process that develops character & heart. And in that, should we choose to see it, is the heart and character of God.
We have so many better things to do with our lives than to live them in comparison with others- more important & eternal things to be focusing our mind & attention on, and more space in our hearts for the fruit of His Spirit.
So let’s breathe, and soak it in.
In His presence there is all that we need.
And in His grace we define success.
(Oh, and check out Melissa Helser’s podcasts- they’re worth it.)