Success:: What’s Your Definition?

As long as I can remember I have had a petrifying fear of failure. It has kept me from doing so many things in my life. I don’t just want to succeed. I HAVE to succeed. I need that “attaboy” and approval that winning in life provides.

I have been setting myself up for failure.

I have no idea why I thought this would happen, but I always imagined myself graduating from college then having a big company swoop me up and give me an office with a view and a six figure income. I would pull my BMW into my designated parking spot, toss my perfect hair, and men would swoon. I would of own a villa (yes, a villa), be a high powered executive, and have a huge rock on my finger by the time I turned 28.

This type of success characterized my independent-woman Cinderella story.

And it didn’t happen. (Surprise!)

I had grand plans for my life. Now, it is easy for me to believe (at times) that I am a failure because I haven’t accomplished all of those things.

I read my Bible and I know those were empty and selfish goals. I know that I cannot serve both God and money (Luke 16:13). But it has left me wondering: What defines success anyway?

The author of 1 Kings says: “Do what the Lord your God commands and follow his teachings. Obey everything written in the Law of Moses. Then you will be a success, no matter what you do or where you go.” (1 Kings 2:3)Success image Compared to Who

Could it really be that simple?

Just follow God’s commands and teachings? (Not that this is always easy!) Didn’t he mean follow his commands, have a great career, a magazine-perfect home, a Leave-It-To-Beaver-ish family life and washboard abs?

I have spent my whole life judging myself based upon my own screwed up set of standards when all that is expected of me is to follow God and obey his commands. Ironically, this is where I have failed the most.

Lately I have been focusing on trying to see myself as God does and on judging myself by different, less worldly standards.

–I am successful when I show self control and don’t get up for a bowl of ice cream at night.

–I am successful when I demonstrate patience with my children.

–I am successful when I hold my tongue and instead give a kind word to my husband.

Friends – how do you define success? How do you feel you measure up to your own standards? How do you measure up to God’s?

If you find that you don’t, don’t sweat it, “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” Romans 3:23 (NLT)

It is by God’s grace that we can learn to see ourselves clearly, be forgiven our faults, and achieve eternal success.


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Amanda Wihebrink is married to her favorite person, Brad, and they have two bright young daughters, Sage & Ivy. She is a self proclaimed lyricist, coupon nazi, and would monogram everything if she could. She loves making people laugh with her goofy sense of humor and quick wit. Her happy place is on a beach with a book and mess of chocolates. Read Amanda’s posts here.

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