day 3K27: Success?

“And may the Lord our God show us his approval and make our efforts successful. Yes, make our efforts successful!”

It is interesting that there is no universal definition to success.  There are as many success definitions as there are things that can be given a tag of success.  One person thinks winning the race is the success.  Another thinks that winning the race in a certain time is real success. It can go many ways. From successes comes our self-esteem.  This is where it gets really complicated.  I found this very enlightening as I read it earlier this week: “Our self-feeling in this world depends entirely on what we back ourselves to be and do,” the philosopher William James wrote in his Psychology. “It is determined by the ratio of our actualities to our supposed potentialities.”

James summarized this ratio in a handy equation:

“Self-esteem = success/pretensions.”

That definition of success can do all kinds of things to mess with our self-esteem.  We desire to have definitions of what it means to succeed in the workplace.  We need this so we are not guessing and wasting anyone’s time.  We need to understand what success means so that we can calibrate ourselves against our own definition of success.  It begs of us to be much more deliberate in consistently defining what is success in all that we ask people to do.

The Old Testament makes many references to success.  The New Testament, not so much.  But from all I can ascertain from God’s Word, His standard of success for us has some, but very little, to do with what we do. It is about what we are and who we become.  His standard of success for us revolves around how much we love, surrender and obey Him.  It should be encouraging to know that all the “what” we are to do that the world puts on us as success measures, matters little to Him.  He just wants us to “be” for Him.  And, that means that we are successful in His eyes regardless of how we successful we or others think we are.

Reference:  Psalms 90:17 (New Living Translation)