What Is Success?

It’s interesting to scroll through various social media platforms & look at the abundant advice about how to be successful. When I read through some of this advice, I always walk away asking, “What is success?”  

Is success:

  • living a comfortable life, without conflict or drama? 
  • having heaps of money, recognition, achievements or a glam image? 
  • living a balanced life, all things regulated & controlled for maximum mediocrity?

What is success?  In Jeremiah 9:23-24 it says,  “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches;  24 but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the Lord.”

So maybe the most simple definition of biblical success is knowing & loving God, as well as loving our neighbor & ourselves.  Have an awesome Memorial Day weekend living successfully!

Reach For More

Earlier this week, I wrote about celebrating ordinary & normal as I was traveling home from a long weekend in Singapore. But yesterday, I started reading the book of Judges in the OT & some crazy stuff happened in that book. Judges includes the stories of Samson, Jael (driving a nail through a guy’s head), Gideon & lots more. In the beginning, it talks a lot about how the Israelites didn’t drive out the Canaanites from the Promised Land. Israel allowed the common & natural to remain in their land & this shortfall became a stumbling block for Israel. The stories in Judges that are noteworthy aren’t the ones about what’s ordinary, believable or natural. 

Maybe we live common, natural & ordinary lives because we tolerate average & safe. 
Perhaps God wants us to live different lives:
Super + natural = supernatural

Extra + ordinary = extraordinary

Credible + in = incredible
Let’s allow more space for God in our lives & less space for ordinary, credible & natural 🙂

don’t settle

We have a joke in our family about my cooking – when the smoke alarm goes off in our house, it’s a good sign that we’re going to have a great meal and the more smoke alarms that go off, the better the meal.  It’s become kind of humorous among all of us and we’ve become somewhat accustomed to a dinner time smoke alarm – which can be a little scary.  Alarms are meant to alert us that something is amiss and should be immediately checked upon.  When we get dull to alarms, things can become severely dangerous and God forbid that we should sleep through such alarms!

I wonder if there could be some alarms in our lives that alert us to spiritual lethargy, passivity and languor.  I wonder if we don’t sometimes become so comfortable, settled, cozy and tucked into our daily routines that our spiritual lives become dull, shallow and even moribund.   Perhaps God is making a clarion call to our hearts to shake off the allure of comfort that can unknowingly poison us with a sleeping sickness that deadens our senses to God’s alarms

The enemy of great is good, the adversary of excellent is average and the foe of extraordinary is moderate.  Let’s love God with great sincerity, excellent pursuit and extraordinary passion.

would you like an upgrade?

 When I was growing up, my parents did a great job of helping me to try out new things & to look for possible talents and interests that I might have.  One area that we explored quite a bit was piano playing.  I started taking piano lessons when I was 5 years old and over the course of several years, I had the privilege of taking lessons from a local family who was reknowned for their piano skills & abilities.  In this family, the father, mother & a few of the kids gave piano lessons.  They were all concert pianists and did their level best to improve my skills, with a minimal effort of cooperation on my part.  And that was the key problem.  I was settling for mediocre when they were striving for excellence.  As a result, everyone was frustrated:  my parents, this concert pianist family & myself.  

With this contrast between excellence & mediocrity, I think that there can be many areas in our lives where we settle for average when we could have extraordinary.  Let’s not allow our faith to be one of these areas.  I don’t want my relationship with God to be average – I want to be like Moses in Ex 33, a friend with whom God speaks face to face.  To me, this is an extraordinary relationship w God & Moses’ example stirs me up such that I won’t settle for an average walk w God.  How about you???